Silence filled the dark McKay Auditorium. A black grand piano sat in the middle of the stage. One by one, well-dressed performers embellished in subtle colors entered and exited the stage, performing a variety of classical musical primarily from the Romantic Era on the piano’s keys. Some were sweaty by the time they finished. Each bowed at the end, coupled with an applause from the crowd.
Described by audience members as an “intense” and “energized” performance, BYU-Hawaii’s piano majors practiced all semester to prepare for their joint piano recital on Dec. 9.
Aniela Santoso, a sophomore majoring in psychology and piano from Indonesia, explained that for the night’s event, most performers played classical pieces from the 19th century, which is known as the Romantic Era and includes pieces from composers like Beethoven and Mendelssohn. However, she chose to play “Sonata no. 3 in F,” by Dmitri Kabalevsky, which is from the 20th century. “It is fun to learn from newer composers since it doesn’t have a lot of rules.”
Santoso explained how she got into the piece. “Before my mission, I learned the first movement of this sonata, and this one is now the second movement. It’s a Russian piece. It was composed in 1946 after World War II, so it still has the war theme but also a youthful theme.”
She emphasized how the piece is very recent and has an obvious “contrast of the dynamics. It has a lot of ornaments so you have to really sound your melodies.”
Lily Asanuma, a senior piano performance major from Japan, said she has been playing the piano since she was only five years old and stopped playing when she was in high school. “When I got here, I hadn’t played the piano for several years, but then I decided to start playing the piano again.”
Asanuma played “Etude in D-flat Major, Un Sospiro” by Franz Liszt. She said, “There’s a melody line throughout the piece, but then I have to have the music accompaniment. So many things are going on underneath the melody parts.”
While she performs, Lily said she usually gets nervous, but this recital event was the exception. “I wasn’t nervous at all, I had prayed that I wouldn’t get nervous and that was an answer. I appreciate music, the gift of music, and that we get to share and also get to experience. I really feel that through music we can feel good, we can find joy and happiness.”
Karin Ho Lee, a sophomore from Hong Kong earning a general music degree with an emphasis in piano, shared how this was her third semester performing piano for her major emphasis.
She performed “Songs Without Words” by Felix Mendelssohn and shared her routine for rehearsing the song. “I practice every day for two hours during the semester for playing a piece, except for Sundays. I do it for the recital and for the juries sometimes.”
Ellie Isobe, a senior interdisciplinary studies major in music education from Utah, shared that since she works in the Music and Theatre Department, she spends some time at the practice rooms where piano majors perform and went to the recital to support her friends. “I’ve heard them practice, but when they were on stage, they put their everything in the concert. It’s so much fuller. It’s so much more different than practicing. When they actually performed and did it for real, it was so much more intense and so much more meaningful.”
Isobe said the performance that stood out the most to her was Lawrence Laureano’s performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Andante and Rondo Capriccioso.” She said, “I’ve heard him like millions of millions of times just like over and over again, but this time when he played tonight, it was faster. It was more intense so it was a lot more fun and really energized. I’ve never heard him play it to full capacity.”
She said, “More people should come. I don’t know how we can advertise it more because we put a poster and a bulletin that’s everywhere. I think people see these things and think it sounds kind of boring, like they’ll probably fall asleep because it’s classical music, but everyone could give it a shot and just come.”
NOTE: No photos were taken of the event.