Five stars

American Pianists Association Classical Fellowship Awards; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Nov. 9

A packed Deer Zink Events Pavilion in the refurbished IMA's northeast corner got to house a pianist with unbelievable psycho-motor coordination. Grace Fong, 27, already with a doctorate in music, mesmerized the crowd in both her mistake-free solo recital and her second-half appearance with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra under Kirk Trevor. Fong's recital featured 11 pieces from Schumann's Scenes of Childhood, Op. 15 (including his world-famous "Traumerei"), two Rachmaninoff preludes, his Moment musical, Op. 16 No. 4, and Carl Vine's (b. 1954) Sonata No. 1 (1990). Though Fong amazed with her absolute control of the sonata's flashy and "thoughtful" parts, she also revealed a generic modern work, which offered little more than pianistic display. Yet her dynamic shaping and phrasing made all three composers as musically expressive as one could imagine. Following the break, Trevor and the ICO offered a routine account of two well-known excerpts from Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice: the beautiful "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" and the stormy "Dance of the Furies." Then Fong returned to the keyboard with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat, K. 271. Here she offered a perfect symbiosis of legato, articulation and dynamics to recreate this great, early Mozartean masterwork. Her rapid passage work in the final movement was absolutely astounding - and now I've run out of praiseworthy adjectives ...

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