It's been a busy week for our foundation. After the start of Children in Harmony, last night was the amazing performance of 2 young pianists whose surnames start with a common letter (though uncommon for musicians save for Wagner and Wolff), Edith Widayani (as you know already, winner of Ananda Sukarlan Award 2010) and Lavinia "Vinny" Wibisono. You might not have heard the latter's name since she's just graduated from China Conservatory in Beijing, but I'm sure you will hear her name much more often in the future.
Musically speaking it was a heavy program last night for the public : Edith played 3 Ballades of Chopin, and Vinny played Brahms' Handel Variations. That's a treat for Jakarta's public, since the trend now is to "give what the audience wants", so to say. And honestly, it WAS quite hard to take Brahms' Variations immediately to start the program, although I can't help but admire Vinny's (mental) stamina to sustain a solid construction of this half-an-hour Romantic masterpiece. The hall (Teater Kecil, TIM) is a very difficult hall to conquer acoustically. I would suggest Vinny next time to play a short piece before tackling a big piece like that Brahms, since one did notice a bit of insecurity of playing at the first (very few) minutes. She managed to tackle the rest of this gigantic work with her solid technical ability and high musicianship, though. A short (and easy(er)) piece would make her get acquainted with the hall and the public ... as well as giving a chance for the late-comers (not so many last night, since the Jakarta traffic was surprisingly not that heavy). One needs ample experience and maturity to start a concert with a big piece such as the Brahms. But still, hats-off to the promising young talent.
Experience and maturity. Those two words can indeed by applied to Edith Widayani's playing. One can notice how she communicated with the public right from the start. Her interpretation wasn't anymore that kinda "do-what-your-teacher-tells-you" thing; on the contrary, Edith has conveyed an interpretation which was a quite adventurous one. Her awareness to the silences, as the canvas where she paints the music on, is admirable and rare to the Indonesian musicians (living abroad must have helped in this case. Indonesian musicians go too often to the malls, where silences --and even good music-- are forbidden to exist). Highly attractive is her sensitivity to colours too, which she managed to explore on that poor Steinway who starts to manifest her sufferings from her unrequited love to the management of the concert hall.
On the fun 'n funky side, both Edith & Lavinia entertained the public with some 4-hand pieces of Leroy Anderson (including his famous Typewriter, which might not be understood anymore by the young generation who now type on the touch screens of iPad. I suggest Twitter would add that "ding" sound when we reach 132 characters, to warn that there are only 8 charachters left) and 3 pieces of cakes which I did on Sundays with my daughter to distract her from disturbing her mom making those namesake cakes (and to compete with her mom to taste who's cake is more delicious). I am happy with the audience too, a very civilized one who seemed to really enjoyed the concert and didn't applaud (nor tweet) when there is silence. I have seen men at the emergency alert when their Blackberry beeps and women abandon their facials at the hint of a ringtone. At this double double-U concert we were free from the demands of rapid response.
Summer holiday is almost over, it was nice to listen Wibisono and Widayani, two of the best Indonesian pianists at the moment living abroad. We do miss concerts of our musicians who had holidays in their homecountry this summer, like the soprano Bernadeta Astari, tenor Ivan Yohan, baritone Dody Soetanto, pianists Henoch Kristianto and Ananda Sukarlan Award 2008 winner Inge Buniardi. And of course the recently-married Stephanie with her duo partner (or did the love come before?) Edward Neeman. Quantitywise we have (more than) enough classical music concerts in Jakarta but not qualitywise, so hopefully those musicians I mentioned --and highly admire-- would present us something next time when they are in town.