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Canberra Today 2°/6° | Monday, May 20, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Yang brings feelings to her performance


Celebrated pianist Joyce Yang at the Snow Concert Hall’s new Steinway grand piano. Photo: Peter Hislop

Music / Kaleidoscopic Colours, Joyce Yang, piano. At the Snow Concert Hall, Red Hill. May 14. Reviewed by LEN POWER.

In a program aptly named Kaleidoscopic Colours, Joyce Yang was the first this year in a series of four of the world’s most distinguished international pianists to play at the Snow Concert Hall on their newly acquired Steinway grand piano.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Yang received her first piano lesson from her aunt at the age of four. By the age of 10, she had entered the School of Music at the Korea National University of Arts. Continuing her studies in the US, she graduated from the Juilliard School with a special honour as the recipient of the school’s 2010 Arthur Rubinstein Prize. She has enjoyed a formidable international career since and has released many celebrated recordings.

Works by the Russian composers, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and Mussorgsky, were introduced by Yang herself. Giving us an insight into the interpretations we were about to hear, she described the feelings that each work gave her.

There was an innocence for her in Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons and the three Rachmaninoff Preludes gave her a sense of everyday life with their emotional vulnerability. Stravinsky’s The Firebird was brilliant fantasy and there was the drive, energy and colour of Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition.

Her performance of each work was masterful and, while she was playing each of them, you could see the effect of the music in her facial expressions and body language. It was as though she was discovering the music’s secrets for the first time and sharing those revelations with us. It gave the works emotional depth and sensitivity.

An opportunity to see an artist of this calibre is rare. It was a night to remember.

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