Pianist Evan Huang ’23 Incorporates Unusual Percussive Elements in Performance

Evan Huang ’23 performed seven pieces that was a mix classical and contemporary music.

Evan Huang ’23’s hands flitted across the piano, the shine of the fall board reflecting the blur of fingers. Across the stage, Huang’s piano teacher Mila Filatova played the orchestral part on the piano alongside him. The student and teacher complemented each other, notes blending together in perfect harmony as they brought to an end the last piece of the evening.

Throughout his career as a pianist, this Senior Recital was the longest solo recital Huang performed in. Huang described that he found this as a challenge not only because he had to familiarize and perfect each piece but also since he had to maintain his focus throughout an hour-long recital. Despite his challenges, he expressed that he found himself enjoying the performance towards the end.

“I think it went pretty well. I think that [in] the beginning, it was a little hard for me to get into the rhythm of it but I think afterward, especially with the Bolcom and the Concerto at the end, I was really enjoying myself instead of worrying about if I would mess up or anything like that,” said Huang.

Huang performed a total of seven pieces, each with their unique features. When choosing pieces to include in his Senior Recital, Huang reflected that he selected pieces from different periods, from classical pieces composed by Bach and contemporary music composed by Eleanor Alberga. Huang expands on the reason for performing this diverse repertoire.

“I think the point was to showcase all of the different unique aspects of each period of music. For specific pieces, the Haydn I think is supposed to be [a] very funny, sort of lighthearted piece so you can’t really take each part of it seriously. Which is difficult to do when you’re performing and you’re trying to be serious and everything, but there’s certain parts where you have to let yourself see the humor in the piece a little bit,” said Huang.

In one particular piece, “The Serpent’s Kiss,” Huang incorporated the clicking of his mouth and tapping his knuckles on the piano. He chose this piece in part because of the unique aspect of using more than just the notes of the piano but also because of the dramatic dynamic changes in the piece: in the opening, the right hand is playing soft notes while the left hand contrasts this but switching between forte and piano.

“I love how he incorporated multiple aspects of music into [the] piano, whether it was the tapping of the piano board or even the clicking of his mouth. It was just really fascinating,” said audience member Eliza Francis ’26.

Reflecting on his musical career at Andover, Huang regrets that he was not more involved with music as a lowerclassmen. The main obstacle was Covid-19, which restricted his performing opportunities. Throughout the past two years, he participated in chamber music and found that he valued the opportunity to play with other people.

“Just to see all of the people who showed up who are very supportive. And also to be able to play not only our piece but also see the other groups perform. I think that was a really great experience for me,” Huang said.

According to Huang, every performing experience was a small step to his growth as a musician. Playing in competitions and recitals allowed him to gain experience performing in front of people and helped him overcome his stage fright. Furthermore, being open with his teacher about his view of certain pieces and how practice is going has helped him improve.

“I would say, just one thing for anyone who’s interested in music or interested in performing, I think it’s just a good idea to perform a lot whenever you have the opportunity. […] I, myself, wish that I had reached out more to be able to have more performance opportunities. But I think performing is good both to improve yourself and just because it’s something enjoyable.”

As Huang looked back on his career as a pianist, he felt that this recital was the perfect close to his musical career at Andover.

“I think, first, to be able to have such a big recital with mainly my pieces and be able to choose the pieces I play and also to have a sort of musical event to kind of cap off my experience at Andover. It’s been four years, and I think it’s great that I get to share my music in this special form with the community one last time,” said Huang.