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Dreams Come True

New York
Peter J. Sharp Auditorium, Juilliard School
04/29/2014 -  
Richard Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op. 28 [1]
Arcangelo Corelli: Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 4 in D Major [2]
Antonín Dvorák: Rusalka: “Song to the Moon” [3]
Frederick Lowe: Camelot: “I loved you once in silence” [4]
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Così fan tutte: “Prendero quell brunettino” [5]
Serg Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18: III. Allegro scherzando [6]
Vittorio Monti: “Czardas” [7]
John Lennon: “Blackbird” [7]
Maurice Ravel: Miroirs: “Alborada del gracioso” [8]

Susanna Philips [3] (soprano), Isabel Leonard [4, 5] (mezzo soprano), Charles Yang [7](violin), Tengku Irfan [6], Peter Dugan [7] (piano)
Juillard415 [2] – The Julliard Orchestra, Alan Gilbert [1] & Evan Rogister [3, 4, 5, 6, 8] (Conductors)

A. Gilbert (© Nan Melville)

Two days after the Peter J. Sharp Auditorium hosted the last ecstatically received sold-out performance of one of the jewels of the operatic season in New York, Juilliard’s production of Massenet’s Cendrillon, Cinderella reappeared. Not at the ball nor at her menial chores, but in the audience; rising soprano Julia Bullock attended the gala. And what a celebration it was! The theme of the evening was “Dreams come true” and so they have for the extraordinary pantheon of great artists who have passed through Juilliard during its glorious history. Their images were projected onto a giant screen. There were also videos featuring musicians unable to participate in the gala, such as Itzhak Perlman and Emanuel Ax. Renée Fleming and Alan Gilbert were on hand to reminisce about their student days at Juilliard and voiced their gratitude for the continued collaboration with the school which they enjoy. Gilbert is on the faculty. He shared conducting duties with one of his former students, Evan Rogister. We heard more personal stories and tributes from two singers who are now performing at the Met in Così fan tutte, Isabel Leonard and Susanna Phillips, and from Evan Rogister. William Christie made an appearance to introduce and heap praises upon Juilliard’s excellent early music group, Julliiard415.

The relatively brief program showed off the range of Juilliard’s musical offerings. With the Strauss tone poem, the evening got off to a sprightly and humorous start, with expert playing by horns and winds and luxuriant strings. Susanna Phillips and Isabel Leonard shone in their solo selections and their voices blended beautifully in “Prendo quel brunettino” from Così fan tutte. Juilliard415 gave a magnificent performance of Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in D major. They played with great precision and rhythmic vitality. Dugan and Yang brought the house down with their marvelous improvisations featuring rapport between them that was virtually telepathic.

T. Irfan (© Nan Melville)

For me the highlight of the gala was the learning about and having a chance to hear a participant in Juilliard’s pre-college program, 15 year old Malaysian musical prodigy, Tengku Irfan, who was the soloist in the third movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. He exhibited superb technique along with great subtlety and a wonderfully varied tonal palette. The pre-college program offers comprehensive music tuition to young people ranging in age from 7 through 18. Tengku Irfan is from Malaysia. He began piano lessons at 7 and made his debut at 11, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto in E flat major with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Last year, he won first prize at the Aspen Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 competition. He is also a composer and a piece of his, Keralan, was premiered by the NY Philharmonic Orchestra.

The evening ended with a vivid performance of Ravel's “Alborada del gracioso” to send the audience on its way to dinner and dancing. In the service of Juilliard’s student scholarship program, a grand time was surely had by all.

Arlene Judith Klotzko



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