On April 24, pianist and series favorite Tzu-yi Chen returns for a free concert from noon to 1:00 PM. She will present Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition as well as music by W. A. Mozart in the Grand Gallery. Join us to hear great music and to learn more about Tzu-yi’s upcoming Carnegie Hall performance in October. Thank you to sponsors Malcolm and Ruth Crocker.
The first week Tzu-yi Chen played for A Little Lunch Music in 2011, she performed Beethoven. It was the 32 Variations in C Minor. She happened to also be on the program the following week, performing Beethoven again, his Sonata No. 15. Not sure which, but I can remember that one of those was my first time having the experience of feeling like I was inside a piece of music. The sounds became visual, and I was able to look around me and understand what I was seeing.
It turned out not to be a unique experience for me with Tzu-yi’s playing. She has been back several times and has become a series favorite, drawing some of our biggest crowds and developing her own fan base in our community.
Pictures at an Exhibition
On Thursday, she will return to perform the well-known piece by the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky,Pictures at an Exhibition.
Mussorgsky wrote Pictures in 1874, at a time when many Russian artists and intellectuals were becoming more and more concerned with the power of the Russian royalty and their oppression of the common people. “It’s so important for him to put the Russian people’s elements in his music,” said Tzu-yi. “The earth, the people, the children, the life. It’s so real.”
Tzu-yi will also perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 9 Variations on a Minuet by Jean Pierre Duport. She said that during Mozart’s travels performing in the courts of Europe, he met Duport, a composer himself. Mozart composed these variations as a tribute to Duport, and likely as a way for to show off Mozart’s own superior talents.
In 2013, Tzu-yi was chosen by Distinguished Concerts International New York to perform for its Artist Series. If you happen to be in New York, her concert is scheduled for October 11, 2014, at 8:00 PM in Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall.
It’s not only practice, practice, practice, to get to Carnegie Hall. Tzu-yi has discovered that it’s also learning about promotion, raising money, and anticipating the expectations of what will be a young, intellectual New York City audience with discerning tastes.
She is naturally nervous about it, but not so much about playing well. She believes that when she performs, she reveals herself to the world through a piece of music. At the same time, the experience reveals the music itself, which up to the point of performance is only notes on a page. Tzu-yi feels a lot of responsibility to the composer to present the true intent of the piece.
“Somehow, you need to give it to the audience,” Tzu-yi said. A performance is where the music becomes “out of your control” she said. “It’s exciting!”
A musician himself, Patrick McCurry coordinates A Little Lunch Music and occasionally performs for the series and with the museum’s Thursday evening jazz group, Cullars Improvisational Rotation. He blogs about the arts in our community.