Our Amazing Piano Program!
Posted June 11, 2012
After what I heard at the Lycée annual piano recital, there is no question that our program is a total enchantment in the able hands of our highly dedicated and phenomenally gifted teachers, Ms. Jane Lee, Ms. Kae Matsumoto, and Ms. Yumi Uchida.
Ms. Matsumoto and Uchida topped off the recital by regaling us with three excerpts from Maurice Ravel’s four-hand piano suite, “Ma Mère l’Oye.” The quality of their artistry put to rest once and for all the erroneous cliché that “Those who can’t do, teach.” The three members of our piano teaching faculty are not only excellent teachers, but phenomenal “DO-ers” as well. They played the last movement, “Le Jardin Féérique,” with profound understanding of Ravel’s delicacy and mystic shadings. (And, I might add, as an insider whose office is next door to the piano room, our teachers only began working on this marvel two weeks ago!)
I was particularly impressed by Julian Borda, who’s “1ère Arabesque” by Claude Debussy fell off his fingers like a gentle cascade, capturing the ephemeral lightness and fluidity of this charming favorite. His interpretation of Mozart’s “Turkish March” sported a stunning display of “Ottoman” bravura during the fortissimo passages and able dexterity during those tricky right-hand runs.
Elongo Kumaran’s performance of Ravel’s “Sonatine” was masterful. He handled the very difficult piece with ease and aplomb, maintaining a steady rhythm throughout, and managed to make the melody sing in spite of the complex chord progressions.
Another high point was Sebastian Borda, who played the spirited Bach Musette with steady verve, then segued into a more modern repertoire with total ease. His second piece, by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guarald, showed off best Sebastian’s cool, appeasing touch.
I also appreciated Davery Joso’s rendition of Burgmuller’s “Ballade.” This young pianist’s playing has consistent authority and near flawless execution. He was able to make the melody sing in the left hand during the middle section, which is no mean feat for a young pianist. I am sure he will do very well and look forward to his next recital.
As for our other young Lycée pianists, there is definite promise among a great number of the 40 participants, from the very youngest all the way through High School. End-of- year recitals are the “moment of truth” for those hard-working musicians who are truly impassioned by the art of the piano, but even more so for whom practicing 30 minutes a day is an unthinkable ordeal!
Music is a gift to be shared by all. Not everyone aspires to such great heights as performing artists, but it is an unparalleled joy to play at family gatherings, among friends, and especially when alone playing one’s heart out without anyone there to criticize or to praise.
Dr. Gerard's review of the Piano Recital