Posts Tagged ‘Piano Fest’

Piano Fest

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“Piano Fest is the coolest name of all of our music concerts so far,” said an Idyllwild Arts student in anticipation of the event. “It sounds like a big, fun event, like Woodstock.”

In fact, Piano Fest got a standing ovation. Sixteen promising young piano students from Idyllwild Arts music department, ranging in ages from 14 to 18, presented an hour-long program on a stormy Monday night, January 18, that will not soon be forgotten.

Most of them played duets on the two shiny black, back-to-back grand pianos that dwarfed the stage. The selection of songs ranged from classical to ragtime.

The show opened with Zixiao Wang, Jia Ying Dong, Yifan Yin and Lin Wei Ruan, simultaneously playing Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major.” The thunderous and intense number would suddenly turn soft with crystal high notes that hushed the eager crowd.

Next came two sets of duets by four seniors. Le-Seul Yoen and Daphne Honma gave an impressive performance of Bolcom’s “The Eternal Feminine,” while Georgina Bertheau and Jonathon Naquin gave their Yamaha’s a workout with “The Serpent’s Kiss.”

Like serpents after prey, Georgina and Jonathon “pounded” the lower registers with their fists, and then suddenly, slipped off their keyboards and “rapped” their fingers along the top, bottom and edges of the piano. (Jonathon even “rapped” his fingers on Daphne, who was only turning pages for him). The daring and unconventional manner (like they were sometimes playing with boxing gloves or mallets), appealed to the teens in the audience.

Although it’s nearly impossible to get more than two grown pianists on a bench, three managed to take turns playing the tender “Valse and Romance,” by Rachmaninoff. Freshman Benny Kleinerman held his own along with seniors Tian-Peng “Timmy” Yu and Linda Edsinga.

However, when he was supposed to be resting, Timmy (last year’s Spotlight award winner) stood up and gave an impromptu ballroom dance across the stage that surprised and delighted the crowd. There was also a bit of well-choreographed “pushing and shoving” on their bench, until Timmy and Linda managed to knock Benny off with the final note.

“Fantasy on Porgy and Bess,” with selections from Gershwin and Grainger, capped off the evening. Anni Cao, Bohan Lin, Meiling Lin and Xue “Maxine” Gong took turns playing then flipping pages during this popular ensemble. Their rendition of “Summertime” warmed the crowd on the rainy evening.

The 100-over capacity crowd, made up of mostly students, faculty and hearty townsfolk, gave the 16 students who made up Piano Fest, a standing ovation.

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