by Robert Rollin
The Youngstown Symphony presented its second Powers Auditorium classical concert on Saturday evening, October 19th with a fine and varied program. The evening’s highlight, an excellent performance of the popular Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16, featured the young and remarkably talented Fei-Fei Dong as soloist.
Dong, a first-prize winner of the Schumann International Piano competition for Young Musicians, the Asia-Pacific International Chopin Piano Competition, and the Steinway and Sons International Youth Piano Competition, has debuted with orchestras in New York, Paris, Hong Kong, and Aspen, Colorado. She was also a finalist in the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition.
The first movement, Allegro molto moderato, after its short timpani roll opening, immediately presented a brilliant piano cadenza performed by Dong with steely precision and poised expression. She showed great rhythmic control and played her solo passages masterfully, but without being overbearing or excessively forceful. Conductor Randall Fleischer maintained careful control of the musical flow—always shaping the evolving interplay of horn solos, cellos, other members of the orchestra, and the piano solo. After the cello section theme restatement, Dong returned with a flashier cadenza replete with terrific muscular playing and lots of decorative trills. [Read more…]