Our Local Young Performers Soirée, a highly anticipated event now in its seventh year, took place last night and did not disappoint. The evening was filled with standout performances from some of the best young musicians in the area.
Megan Clarke, the youngest performer of the evening, opened the soirée with Chopin’s Cello Sonata. Megan's technical proficiency was on full display as she expertly navigated this challenging sonata. Her powerful and resonant playing brought the dramatic passages to life, while the sentimental moments sparkled with beauty. Megan's rich, beautiful sound on the lower register was particularly noteworthy.
Will Everitt, a trumpeter, added a unique touch to the evening with this rare trumpet and piano recital. He performed pieces by Enescu, Piazzolla, and Arutiunian, proving that the trumpet can be a nuanced instrument, not just a loud one. With his performance of Oblivion, Will demonstrated subtle sounds that seemed to come from far away, which almost resembled human voice. There was also tasteful spontaneity, perhaps revealing a hint of Will’s composer side. The Concert Scherzo by Arutiunian was pure fun, showcasing the energetic interplay between the trumpet and piano.
Rhia Thomas, a violinist, offered a captivating rendition of Romance by Dvorak. Her simple, unadorned approach to the beautiful melody, without excessive decoration, vibratos or artificial pacing, allowed the true jewels of the piece to shine through. Rhia also performed two rarely heard Mazurkas by Ysaÿe, displaying her adventurous spirit and her ability to bring to life the contrasting dynamics and nuances of these challenging pieces.
Stefanija Nikolich closed the night with an all-Chopin program, performing four Etudes from Op. 10 and the Ballade No. 1. Stefanija's beautiful touch on the piano was notable, as she moved effortlessly from delicate to powerful playing. Her melodic lines were excellently voiced, while she paid careful attention to the supporting passages in the left hand, sometimes adding subtle accents. The emotional drama, mood changes, and lyrical beauty of the Ballade No. 1 made it the perfect piece to close out the fantastic evening.
The success of the concert was due in no small part to the accompanists, Alison Rhind and Craig White, who provided expert support to the soloists and showed a deep understanding of the repertoire. The event was also graced by the presence of His Worship the Mayor of Woking, Councillor Saj Hussain, who was guest of honour and took the time to congratulate the musicians at the end of the evening.