In First Open Recital, Music Students to Present Varied and ‘Majestic’ Works

Students in the School of Music will perform in the first open recital of the season at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 7 in Fletcher Music Hall. It is the first of five open recitals this summer; students from any of the school’s three departments — piano, voice and instrumental — can sign up to perform at these events.

The first recital will feature seven student musicians: three pianists, two vocalists, a cellist and a violinist. Some will be performing solo, while others will have accompaniment, in the style of chamber music.

One student musician performing Sunday is Lorenzo Medel, a pianist from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, who is here at the Institution for a second year.

He will play Mephisto Waltz No. 1, in A Major by Franz Liszt. The piece is based on the story of Faust, a fictional character from a classic German legend who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for wealth, power and women.

The piece has some parts that are fast, almost frantic, which projects the feeling of excitement and being chased, as well as a slow, expressive section.

I love playing pieces that have a storyline, and I believe this piece is such a great piece because it projects so many emotions and it projects so many characters in the story,” Medel said. “Whenever the piece is projecting excitement or somebody chasing you, it activates my adrenaline and it makes me so excited to play it. … It (gives me) so much joy to play this piece to the audience.

Medel will be playing the piece on solo piano, which presents an additional challenge since there is also a version of the piece that exists for a whole orchestra, so the pianist must try to emulate the color and complexity that an orchestra would bring.

Michael Frontz, a cellist from Boston University, will also be performing. His chosen piece is Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suite No. 4, in E Flat Major. It is lesser known than some of Bach’s more popular cello suites, and it’s one of his most challenging suites because of the key it is in, Frontz said. It is a powerful, contemplative and spiritual work.

“It makes me feel very powerful, especially the prelude — the first movement has lots of majestic strength,” Frontz said. “I like being able to channel that. But then there are also some moments that are very tender, … very meditative and contemplating, and I really like being able to tap into that.”

The piece is one of several cello suites that go together and that are often accompanied by dances, so it is a fast and dynamic work. Frontz will be playing unaccompanied. As a cellist, however, many of his performances have been in collaboration with other musicians. He enjoys playing chamber music and in orchestras, but it is a special opportunity for him to be able to do this one solo.

To be there by yourself is definitely a different role, and you really have a lot of different freedoms than you would with other people because you can take your time when you want it, and there’s really no one else between you and the audience,” Frontz said.

Violinist Rebecca Moy, from the Cleveland Institute of Music, will be accompanied on piano by Shannon Hesse, a member of the piano faculty at Chautauqua.

She will be playing the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 12. This movement is called “Allegro con brio,” which means it is meant to be performed with fire, liveliness and spirit.

“A big characteristic would be the contrast in character and moods; it starts out really forte and sort of majestic, but then a couple seconds later there’s this beautiful lyrical line,” Moy said. “The interplay between the piano and the violin is also really interesting.”

The sonata is one of Beethoven’s earlier works, from when he was a young and relatively inexperienced composer. Moy likes that the piece is intricate while maintaining a pleasing simplicity to its sound that is youthful and energetic.

“It’s a really fun and innocent piece,” Moy said. “It’s not too dark.”

The musicians look forward to getting more practice performing and to playing in the same recital with a variety of other musicians.

The great thing about these open recitals is that it’s not just a piano concert,” Medel said. “I believe that is good for the public audience because they get a taste of each instrument. … Sharing all our uniqueness and our talent, our personalities, our style of life while playing music is such a magical experience.
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The author Julia Arwine

Julia Arwine is a rising junior at Miami University in Ohio, where she studies journalism and interactive media studies. She will be covering the School of Music this summer. Julia’s three main ambitions in life are to write for National Geographic, to be a chef and to own a sheep farm in Scotland — not necessarily in that order.