Tom Lehrer, a retired American musician, singer/ songwriter, satirist, and mathematician once said that life is like a piano, what you get out of it depends on how you play it.
22-year-old Eric Lu, a Chinese-American pianist, brought the eager audience to life with his dexterity over the piano and created a musical magic so befiting that the orchestra lovers offered a standing ovation to him.
At the end of the first half of the ‘Sibelius Symphony No. 2’ concert organised by Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) at Qatar National Convention Centre, the young pianist had to play solo following the arousing applause from the keen listeners.
The orchestral performance that was conducted by Chinese conductor Renchang Fu overall enchanted the audience who were particularly touched by the meticulous dexterity of the award-wining Lu.
In the first half of the concert, the orchestra presented Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor, Op. 23 symphony. In the second half, the audience listened to Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 43.
First Piano Concerto of Tchaikovsky, a composition of stature in piano literature, found a perfect matching in Lu, who played the composition taking to the next level, as one of the attendees put it. The symphony already holds a position of proud significance in the repertoire of the instrument – enough, perhaps, to create a platform for just such an historical performance.
A new generation of pianists has sought to make itself heard, led by pianists such as Evgeny Kissin and Lang Lang. But under them lies a younger generation still. The Pianist Magazine has appointed five pianists to look out for in 2019, and Eric Lu tops the list. It was Lu’s third performance in Qatar.
Lu, who turned 22 yesterday, is seen someone who has rapidly built his international reputation as a young pianist with enormous promise and a distinctive musical voice. Lu is the first prize winner of the 2015 US National Chopin Competition in Miami, where he also received The Best Concerto Prize.
In October 2015, at the age of 17, Lu won the fourth prize at the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Competition in Warsaw, becoming one of the youngest laureates in the history of the competition.
He was described by the New York Classical Review as a musician of “exceptional musical sensitivity”, as well as proclaimed by Michael Moran from the Duszniki Festival, “The tone he produced was luminous, the articulation spellbinding and exciting, the legato and bel canto desperately moving.”
Dr Anna Hrindova, who attended the concert and spoke about Lu in high spirits, said: “Lu is one of the top pianists of the world currently. Top magazines and newspapers in US talk about him as one of the top youngest pianists of the world. We really enjoyed his performance on the eve of his 22nd birthday. I remember he was in Doha last year also. I am happy to listen to him one more time.
“I know Lu goes around the world to play piano and has also released an excellent CD. At this age, his accomplishments are amazing. The audience was very engaged in the music. They did not want Lu to leave. The wanted him to play more. He also played impromptu for few minutes feeling the eagerness of the audience. I think it is very nice to have such an artiste in Doha.”
Kurt Meister, director of QPO, said: “When he first time came here and people went crazy after watching his performance. After watching the interest of the audience and the talent of Lu, we have invited him for the third time here. He is a very famous soloist also. I hope he will come here again in future.
“I think Lu knows everything about piano. He knows technique. He knows how important the combination between technique and musicality is also an important thing. Some people have only good technique but they do not have a heart. Without the heart, you cannot make music. We would like to invite him again to play other world famous compositions and symphonies.”
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