Meet the Faculty! A recap of the opening concert of the Piano Program

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by Jeannette Fang

July 16, 2014

Maiori: Salone degli Affreschi, Palazzo Mezzacapo

There was not an inch of space left in the Town Hall on Wednesday night, but no one minded the sweaty squeeze. We were all just eager to hear the masterful musical personalities that would be presented at this year’s Meet the Faculty concert.

Newcomer Hee Sung Joo started the evening with the Allegretto of Beethoven's Piano Sonata op.31 no.2. She walked towards the piano amid beloved cheers, which she shyly acknowledged before beginning. Her sound was velvet, the motor of the perpetual motion structured with a clear concept with fluid yet admirably clear execution.

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Liszt master Thomas Mastroianni performed next, with a very heartfelt Sposalizio from Liszt's Deuxième Année de Pèlerinage: Italie (Second year of Pilgrimage: Italy). He created a wonderful atmosphere of intimacy that formed the foundation for a satisfying dramatic arc.

He was followed by the new string director, Aaron Berofsky, who performed Korngold’s “Much Ado About Nothing” suite with pianist Ellen Hwangbo. His sound was shockingly beautiful; warm, embracing, and full of character. His every nuance was effortlessly conveyed, as well as perfectly complemented by Ellen’s sensitive pianism.

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Logan Skelton brought some jaunty fun to the summer night with Willian Albright’s Sleepwalker’s Shuffle, the first of the Three Dream Rags. It was a pleasure to hear, not only because it was a refreshing contrast in the program, but because the rag style was so much in Skelton’s blood.

James Giles played three pieces written for him by Ned Rorem, which he had commissioned from the composer in 2003. The three works (Remembering Lake Michigan, The Wind Remains, and Remembering Tomorrow) were compiled into a suite entitled Recalling. Giles was as masterful as ever, never breaking a sweat with the ease in which he manuevered the pyrotechnics of the work. Everyone loved the piece, which said so much about Professor Giles and his capabilities.

Short and utterly enjoyable, the Meet the Faculty opening concert whetted our appetites for the many faculty concert programs to follow.

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