Amidst loud applause from the audience, violinist Audrey Sun ’23, pianist Zoe Yu ’23, and marimbist Shawn Guo ’23 took one final bow at the Senior Soloist Concert held in the Cochran Chapel. Emily Wu ’25, an audience member, commended the performers’ performances after the concert and highlighted their preparation.
“It’s hard to imagine just how much effort and time was put into that duration at this point, and it’s so heartwarming to see the final products of everything that they did…. I just think it was really personal for the people that were performing, and so it felt like there was a story behind people, it was really touching and genuine, not like any other performance,” said Wu.
According to Audrey Sun, who performed the first movement of “Violin Concerto in D Minor” by Jean Sibelius, this concert was the first time she had the opportunity to perform it in front of an audience. After the show, Audrey Sun recalled her journey leading up to the concert and shared the emotional backstory of the piece.
“This piece has a lot of different emotions and ups and downs. I’m working on creating contrast and making the entire range of emotions come out. An interesting thing about this piece…Sibelius, the composer, was actually a violinist and he wanted to become a soloist. However, he didn’t think he was good enough, so this piece was his ‘goodbye’ to the violin solo world. It’s pretty angsty in some spots, so I was thinking about that,” said Audrey Sun.
Sun also noted that the Senior Soloist Concert was the first time her family members had an opportunity to watch her perform on campus. Xuepeng Sun, Audrey Sun’s father, noted that he was especially moved by the amount of dedication each performer devoted to the performance.
“The three pieces were different. It’s great to have a glimpse of the instruments played. The Sibelius [concerto] was more dramatic, personal and intense, with the rhythm and harmonies. It creates a lot of deep thoughts. The Mozart [concerto] was light, beautiful and pure in a classical sense. The Rosauro [concerto] is just amazing and absolutely eye-opening. I have never heard of this kind of piece before,” said Xuepeng Sun.
Yu, who performed on the piano for the first time at the concert, described her pride for all the Senior musicians who have prepared for this event. In regards to her performance, she explained that she paid attention to linking Mozart’s classical concerto and jazz together.
“Throughout the entire concert, I was just in awe of how long of a way we’ve all come. All three of us and all the Senior musicians. The Senior Soloist Concert has been something that felt like such a long reach for me because I’ve known about it since [Junior] year. This made me realize how quickly time passes overall,” said Yu.
Guo, who performed the third and fourth movements of “Concerto for Marimba” by Ney Rosauro, explained that the preparation process did not come without its challenges. Because his piece was accompanied by a piano, he struggled with coordinating rehearsals with it.
“Some of the instruments had trouble penetrating, so we had a little trouble hearing my compliment, and I think that was one thing that was pretty different from my rehearsal…it’s best if you are together, not apart, because it isn’t a solo,” said Guo.
As a result of the performers’ hard work, audience members erupted into applause after the successful concert. Ryan Chen ’24, another audience member, praised the performers for their expressivity and dynamic range. Chen explained that the performers’ engagement with the music was clearly conveyed to the audience.
“I like how the dynamics change, especially in Audrey’s piece, when it became really quiet and delicate, then was pushed to forte. The other pieces were really captivating too…towards the end of the marimba concerto, the last few notes were really bold,” said Chen.
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