Sunday | September 25, 2016
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Newlywed pianists to perform in Hilo

In 2010, Soyeon Kate Lee claimed first prize in the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation International Piano Competition. Ran Dank was one of two second-prize winners.

Three years and numerous accolades later, Lee and Dank are both winners again, but in a different way: they were married on Sept. 7. And on Wednesday the newlyweds open the Hawaii Concert Society’s 52nd season with a concert of solo and four-hands piano works that features a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” in the 100th anniversary year of its debut. The concert will take place at Univeresity of Hawaii at Hilo’s Performing Arts Center starting at 7:30 p.m.

Korean native Lee, who performed in Hilo two seasons ago, and Israeli-born Dank, are both graduates of the Juilliard School in New York. The Hilo audience will hear her perform Russian composer Aleksandr Scriabin’s hauntingly beautiful “Nocturne for the Left Hand.”

Other works on the varied program are a set of Brahms waltzes for four hands, three mazurka’s and a polonaise by Chopin (to be performed by Dank), three sections of the fiendishly difficult solo piano transcription of Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” (to be performed by Lee), and Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March,” transcribed by Vladimir Horowitz into a virtuoso showpiece (to be performed by Dank).

But the highlight of the concert is surely the centennial performance of “The Rite of Spring.” In 1910, Stravinsky envisioned the ballet, after having a dream about a young girl dancing herself to death, and soon after began composing.

When first performed in 1913, at the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris, the avant-garde nature of the music and the choreography caused a sensation and almost a riot in the audience. To this day, “The Rite of Spring” is a symbol of the rapidly changing social and political climate of the early 20th century.

Inevitably the piano version of “The Rite” doesn’t have the richly varied instrumental colors and the sheer sonic impact of a huge orchestra. But it does reveal the rhythmic and harmonic complexities of this score, as well as providing the audience the rare pleasure of watching two virtuoso pianists master the incredible difficulties of music usually performed by one hundred musicians.

Tickets for the concert by Soyeon Kate Lee and Ran Dank are $20 general, $16 senior, $10 student and are available at the Most Irresistible Shop, Book Gallery, Music Exchange, the UHH Box Office, and the East Hawaii Cultural Center. Tickets will be available at the door from 6:45 p.m.

For additional information call 959-4064.


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