Oberlin, OH — Tuesday, July 24
There was a lot of impressive teen-aged piano prowess on display this afternoon in Warner Concert Hall as the Oberlin Cooper International Piano Competition went into the first of two concerto rounds and five of the ten competitors left in the draw played whole concertos by Beethoven, Rachmaninov and Schumann with a second piano filling in for the orchestra. (The three who are left at the end will get to play concertos for real with The Cleveland Orchestra in Severance Hall on Friday evening).
15-year old Rachel Breen from Oakland, CA set the bar high with an assured performance of Beethoven’s fourth concerto that adroitly pointed up both its exquisite seriousness and its sudden bursts of playfulness. She knew the piece thoroughly and communicated with her “orchestra” (pianist Yu Sakamoto) as though they were playing chamber music together (at the beginning of the second movement, hands in lap, she mimed playing along with the orchestra). Ms. Breen dispatched sequences of runs with sensitivity and clarity and made lovely transitions between sections. [Read more…]