John McCarthy, president of the Pacific Musical Society, presents the 2014 Winner’s Reception and Concert in association with Music at Kohl Mansion.
I did not attend the reception, which took place at 6:00pm, so I will start right away with the recital itself.
The first piece on the program was String Quartet No.1, Part One - Toccata composed by Eric Tran. This piece was performed by the Friction Quartet: Kevin Rogers and Otis Harriel on violinsl; Taija Warbelow on viola; and Doug Machiz on cello. Eric Tran is the first place composition award winner for ages 17-22. The piece was written in a traditional manner, which personally to me was a pleasure to listen to. I was glad to hear the traditional yet contemporary music. The performance of the piece itself was also very bright and expressive. This piece was a perfect opening for the splendid evening about to follow.
Pierce Wang on violin, winner of the First Place Instrumental Award for ages 8-10, performed Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst’s Der Erlkönig. Considering Mr. Wang’s young age, he displayed all of the mixed emotions present in this piece extremely well. The three different characters of the son, the father and the “Erlkönig” were heard distinctly in the performance. Even the galloping of the horse was heard. This piece, being originally written for voice, was much harder to perform on one instrument rather than on two.
Caroline Hsu on piano, First Place James Denver Gary Piano Award winner for ages 8-10 performed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Sonata in D-Major, K. 576, Allegro and Alexander Tcherepnin’s Bagatelles, Op.5, No. 1,2,3,5,10. All the pieces performed by Ms. Hsu were felt through to the bone. She was extremely expressive and emotionally developed. I particularly enjoyed her performance of the Mozart.
Soprano Nicole Koh, (accompanied by James Meredith), winner of the First Place Vocal Award for ages 16-18, performed Abendempfindung by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Vo’ cercando in queste valli by Emanuale d’Astorga and O, mio babbino caro from Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Her vocal training added upon a gorgeous voice given to her by nature, produced an effect of great importance on the listener. It was intriguing to listen to and left the audience in a tranquil state of satisfaction.
Pianist Erika Shen, winner of the Dita Pepin Piano Award for ages 11-13, performed Barcarolle in F sharp Major, Op. 60 by Frederic Chopin. I liked this Barcarolle and think that Ms. Shen did a wonderful job at presenting it to the audience in all of its colors.
Bass-baritone Edward Nunoo, (accompanied by James Meredith), winner of the Halim Habiby Vocal Award for ages 16-18, performed Chanson d’amour by Gabriel Faure, Sento nel core by Alessandro Scarlatti, and Go Down, Moses, a traditional spiritual arranged by J. Rosamon Johnson. Mr. Nunoo dedicated the last selection of his program to the world known author and poet Maya Angelou, who had passed away that morning. Mr. Nunoo had found a spiritual connection with all three pieces he performed.
Violinist Albert Yamamoto, winner of M. Allan Neys Instrumental Award for ages 14-17, performed Sonata No.2 in A Minor, BWV 1003 – Fuga by Johann Sebastian Bach. I was quite impressed by his technique and his graceful stage presence.
Pianist Tyler Hayford, winner of the M. Allan Neys Piano Award for ages 14-17, performed Sergei Rachmaninov’s Sonata No.2 in B flat Minor, Op. 36, First Movement in original 1913 version. I enjoyed this selection very much, especially the dynamics and rich color of tone.
Mezzo-soprano Mariya Kaganskaya (accompanied by Alla Gladysheva), winner of the Lofti Mansouri Vocal Award for ages 19-25, performed Va! Laisse couler mes larmes from Jules Massenet’s Werther, Er, der Herrlichste von allen by Robert Schumann, and Crude furie degli orridi abissi from George Frederic Handel’s opera Serse. Ms. Kaganskaya’s rich texture and strong voice very much attracted the audience. This was a great conclusion for this ever so wonderful concert.
An awards ceremony came afterwards, the performers standing on the stage all together and receiving their certificates. Special thanks to Mercy High School for making the Kohl Mansion available for this concert.