by Jeannette Fang
July 18, 2014
Charismatic and warm, Mayron Tsong has this appealing quality of making you feel like her new best friend. She is so intellight, nurturing and empathetic that you immediately feel that "gets" you and the special snowflake that you are.
One can see how one by one students fell in love with her on thursday's masterclass. The first performer, 14 year old Xinyi Zhang with Chopin's Fantaisie-Impromptu, was understandably a little nervous due to her young age. Tsong was able to put her at ease, even with the difficulties of working through a translator. (Particapant Chuhan Zhang graciously provided this service, which shows the nature of community and cooperation within this festival). Tsong leant close to Xinyi, to give her a feeling of comfort and familiarity. Her smartly chosen demonstrations of pedaling and legato, all lessons that could be understood from just watching physical motion, Tsong was able to evoke big changes from the young student.
Jiwon Lim played second, with the Schumann Humoreske in B-flat major, Op. 20, which was lively and expressive. Tsong matter of factly approached important issues like memory and characterization, addressing both the audience and the student at a level of familiarity that made it seem like everyone was just having fun.
She made the next performer, Zhong Xin Chan, burst out laughing as she pantomimed the imperial court as a character in the Andante Spianato op.22 by Chopin. He played the difficult work with energy and a good feel for the composer. She really seemed to enjoy him, cracking multiple jokes as she helped him establish more specific colors and characters as motifs.
The last performer was Pang Kun, who had just arrived from Beijin. His Prokofiev 3rd Piano Sonata was so immediately energetic it was like a splash of cold water to the face. He easily dispensed with a powerful sound and facility. Initially he was straight faced, but Tsong got him to immediately laugh with her first comment: "very impressive for 5 am in the morning!"
It was clear that all the students enjoyed the masterclass, for Mayron Tsong has that rare ability to read each personality and immediately know how to put them at ease. She is a wonderful addition to the piano faculty at ACMF.