Faculty, musicians perform for festival’s grande finale

Faculty and guest artists graced the stage for the Texas Music Festival perspectives series’ grand finale Tuesday evening at the Dudley Recital Hall.

Kirsten Yon, a professor at the Moores School of Music, performed in the grand finale and said the night was a “kaleidoscope of artistic expression.”

“I love performing at this festival; (everyone is) always so friendly. My colleagues are fantastic musicians. There is nothing I like doing better,” she said.

The night’s performers were all mature and experienced professionals, and their sounds were as finely tuned as their craftsmanship.

The repertoire included “The County of Mayo” for voice with two pianos by Joan Trimble, “Portraits of Langston Hughes” for flute, clarinet and piano by Valerie Coleman, “Quartet No. 1 in C minor,” Op. 15 for piano and strings by Gabriel Faure and “Binyang” Mvmt. 2 “Interiors” for clarinet and crotale in F by Ross Edwards.

Some of the most evocative and ephemeral musical moments occurred after intermission in Faure’s quartet.

“Compared to everything else, the last one was very romantic, and I love romantic era,” said music senior Henry Dang.

The precision and clarity in the Faure piece came together through focus and teamwork for professor Yon who was also performing with professor Timothy Hester, professor and principal violist of the Houston Symphony Wayne Brooks and Houston Symphony cellist Kevin Dvorak.

“We had fantastic chemistry from the first rehearsal. Putting it together was incredibly easy for us, and we had a fantastic time,” Yon said.

“Portraits of Langston Hughes” is a mixed media piece that crosses the line between music and spoken words. Before each scene was performed, poetry was read with attention to every word as an attempt to recreate how Hughes would have read his own work.

“I just thought it was really interesting how they incorporated the poetry with the music. You could hear what they were playing in contrast to what he was saying,” said music education sophomore Jordan Johnson.

A visual artist by trade, Barbara Biel enjoyed the Hughes’ poetry as well.

“I liked hearing that guy speaking. He was great. You could read those same poems and not get the same out of it,” Biel said.

For Susan Blair, whose husband is a UH law professor, the voice and double piano trio was thoroughly enjoyable, and she was delighted by the event’s musical variety.

“I am actually a dancer by training, and the music was exquisite,” Blair said. “My favorite moment was watching the pianist. She was dancing; she was connected to the music.”

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