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The final season recital of the Brevard Music Center’s piano students took place at the Center’s Searcy Hall before a packed house. Nine pianists ranging in ages from 11th grade through college graduate displayed in tag-team succession an impressive range of musical skills in their program of classical selections. These free concerts have been well attended by community members all Festival season, who enjoy the intimate setting of Searcy Hall in air-conditioned comfort. Many student pianists at the Center were acknowledged by Professor Douglas Weeks, a keyboard program coordinator and member of the Center’s Artist Faculty, for their outreach performances to those housebound at College Walk and the Brian Center in Brevard.
Bilinda Lou, a graduate of Wright State University, opened the program with a spirited performance of Dmitri Kabalevsky’s Sonata No. 3 in F, Op. 46 first movement, Allegro con moto. This toccata-like piece begged for a range of articulations — dry for its rhythmically and motivically repetitive passages, and legato in its sweeping scalar figures — which she amply provided. This was followed by two Beethoven movements. Hikari Nakamura, a 12th grader from Interlochen, MI, played the Sonata in A, Op. 2 No. 2 fourth movement Rondo, Grazioso, whose predictable return to its A section was announced with a varied rocketing arpeggio. The movement’s Sturm und Drang middle section in A minor was interpreted in an appropriately dramatic fashion, a marked contrast to the general lyrical of the rest of the movement. Paulina Ray-Zorick, a 12th grader from Columbus, NC, followed with the final Allegretto movement of the Sonata in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2 (“Tempest”), also in a rondo form. Beethoven’s works usually test the endurance and concentration of the best artists, and while there were a few memory lapses in the more radical harmonic changes that occurred toward the end, she kept her composure and finished to a warm round of applause.
Two works of Chopin were programmed back to back which showed both his introverted and fiery sides. Elizabeth Stoner, a junior at Furman University, performed his hauntingly introverted Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17, No. 4 with a delicate rubato which extended beautifully to the work’s melodic ornaments. Sarah Pratt, an 11th grader from Kensington, MD, followed with a stormy and technically impressive performance of the Etude in C minor, Op. 25, No. 12 (“Ocean”).
The single Debussy work, “Reflets dans l’eau” (Reflections in the Water), from Images Book 1, was played by Karen Ding, a 12th grader from Pleasanton, CA. She executed the work’s incessant rippling motions throughout the range of the instrument with ease and employed impeccable pedaling and an array of touches to stylize the piece. Cindy Graeler, a senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia, played Roy Harris’s Toccata which featured some intricate and interesting counterpoint which was artfully voiced.
Finally there were two works by Franz Liszt. Abel Prasetyo, a senior at Roosevelt University, performed the Étude de Concert No. 1 in D-flat “Waldesrauschen” (Forest Murmurs) where the musical challenges of shaping Liszt’s long melodic lines amid the flutter of many notes (forest murmurs) were significant. Akira Kaku, a senior at Bowling Green State University, brought the house down with the program finale, an astonishingly mature, technically proficient, and strongly etched interpretation of the “Dante” Sonata from Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage, Book 2. Bravi Tutti!