Last season’s Discover Dueling Pianists was so well received that there was no question among our staff that we would repeat this event in 2016-17. What was especially gratifying this past Sunday, February 26th – besides the full house – was the intensity of the audience response to Chopin’s Scherzo No. 2 and Scherzo No. 3, works very familiar to pianists but perhaps not at all to many of those in attendance at our concert.
These scherzos are ‘bears’ as we say in classical music performance parlance. “Bears?” you say? We use this term to describe extremely difficult, technically challenging musical compositions. And musicians might add that one must have ‘incredible chops’ in order to perform a ‘bear.’ Translation: superb skill is required.
Daniel Hsu and Ko-Eun Yi demonstrated that they had technique to spare. And they also both proved to be the good sports one must be in order to put up with the stop-start, jumping in and out of context playing that is required of all Discovery Concert participants. They easily began right in the middle of passages that one might prefer to approach with ‘a running start’ from a safe distance. But for me, the really wonderful aspect of the afternoon was looking into the faces of our audience members as they explored with us some of the musical details of these ‘bears.’
Our audience is a diverse one. It is a source of pride at The Discovery Orchestra that we attract an audience that includes the very young, seniors and all ages in between. And everyone appeared to be engrossed in the power of Chopin’s music and the artistry of Daniel Hsu and Ko-Eun Yi. We believe that the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere of our Discovery Concerts makes it easy and fun to ‘get inside’ musical compositions that might be otherwise considered intimidating.
And while we’re on the subject, we are thrilled that during the past eleven months there have been more than 1,400 broadcasts across the country of episodes of our new series Fall in Love with Music to a potential audience, according to American Public Television, of nearly 100,000,000 individuals. If only 1% of that potential audience has indeed watched an episode – that’s 1 million viewers! Wow.