Young musicians shine at Terrace Theatre recital

February 17, 2012

It seems like every third review you read these days is remarking on yet another prodigiously talented violinist who’s appeared on the classical music scene. Thursday’s Young Concert Artists Series recital at the Terrace Theatre introduced a local audience to the latest in this spawn of violin phenoms, the 21-year-old Benjamin Beilman, whose sweet, warm, slightly throaty tone gave considerable pleasure in sonatas by Mozart and Richard Strauss. The illusion of tossed-off ease Beilman created in Prokofiev’s daunting Op 115 Sonata for Violin Solo was mightily impressive — why isn’t this enthralling work programmed more often? — and he found just the right balance of virtuosity, elegance and schmaltz in a pair of Fritz Kreisler bonbons.

But Beilman wasn’t the only young artist to shine Thursday. The superlative, 22-year-old pianist, Yekwon Sunwoo, made just as strong an impression as his string-playing partner. Indeed, such was the wisdom in his animated, light-filled playing of the keyboard parts in the Mozart and Strauss sonatas that it was hard to draw one’s attention away from the piano.

And, at the ripe old age of 23, composer Chris Rogerson premiered his piece, “once”, inspired by Meghan O’Rourke’s memoir, “The Long Goodbye.” Evincing the open-chorded, prairie serenity of Copland, and spiced with angular intrusions of rapid-fire, upper-harmonic figures in the violin writing, the work — in a reading of tremendous heart and technical control from Beilman and Sunwoo — revealed a confident, fully-grown composing talent.

Banno is a freelance writer.

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