Di Wu | Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center | Classical | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Wed., Dec. 29, 12:15 p.m. 2010
Pianist Di Wu, playing as part of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series, offers refuge from the barrage of holiday music with a program of Ravel and Liszt. Born in China, she arrived in the U.S. in '99 for study at the Manhattan School of Music, then moved on to the Curtis Institute and Juilliard. Now 26, she's riding the crest of last year's success at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, where she was a finalist. Both works on the program suit her extroverted but sensitive and highly communicative style. Each of the five movements of Ravel's Miroirs—"Noctuelles" ("Night Moths"), "Oiseaux Tristes" ("Sad Birds"), "Une Barque sur L'ocean" ("A Boat on the Ocean"), "Alborada del Gracioso" ("Morning Song of the Jester"), and "La Vallee des Cloches" ("The Valley of Bells")—pays tribute to a different member of Les Apaches, the composer's band of avant-garde Parisian artist friends. Sensuous yet meticulously etched, it's a work of wonderfully varied mood and color. Time constraints at these lunch-hour concerts preclude encores, but there won't be any need for one after Franz Liszt's rousing arrangement of the well-known country-fair waltz from Gounod's opera Faust. The piece is technically difficult but artistically simple, and there's only one way to approach it: have as much fun as possible. —Steve Langendorf

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