Classical notes and melodies filled the Davenport common room as two pianos were roused to life on Friday night.
The Yale Undergraduate Piano Collective (YUPC) presented their fall concert, “Fantasia,” which featured works by Mozart, Schubert, Dvorak, Fauré and Brahms. Each work performed was a duet.
“In general, we played melodies that a lot of people recognize — the kind of pieces that stick in your head, co-President of the YUPC Kenneth Xu ’21 said.
According to Xu, the YUPC board chose the theme of the concert, “Fantasia,” which is loosely based on the concept of fantasies.
Philena Sun ’22, artistic director of the YUPC, said the theme reflects the imagination and magic of the program’s selections.
“Most of the pieces have interesting histories and stories behind them, and they were often born from the composers’ fantasies,” Sun said.
According to Xu, the board wanted the theme to be as broad and accessible as possible, because the concert was the collective’s first event of the year. Treasurer of the YUPC George Hua ’22 added that the board chooses general themes to avoid confining the pianists’ piece choices.
“We could have chosen, say, ‘Spooky Night’ because of Halloween, but that would have restricted people from playing Mozart, which can be very happy music,” Hua said.
All performances in the concert were duets. Xu said that duets are more exciting, because there is greater opportunity to explore. Xu also noted that most people already know solo piano repertoire. The YUPC wanted to present a wider range of music by showcasing both duets and four-hand arrangements, Xu said. Two pianists perform on separate instruments when playing duets, and four-hand arrangements require two players to perform simultaneously on the same piano.
Fernando Trejos ’22, who attended the concert, said that he enjoyed the duets. Trejos added that the selection was both well-chosen and rare, because duets are not played very often.
“Duets make it more social — it takes a lot of pressure off individual musicians and lets them just work together on pieces they’re really passionate about,” Trejos said. “I felt that the musicians were very comfortable and looked like they were having fun.”
Sun, who selected the concert program, said she tried to pick pieces from a variety of genres and time periods to give performers a range of styles to choose from. For the concert, pianists could either choose pieces or opt to be assigned one by the board.
Hua said the concert demonstrates that even though the piano does not really belong in an orchestra, pianists can have their own chamber music and collaborations. Hua said that in addition to allowing an audience to enjoy classical and invigorating music, the concert was an opportunity to show that playing the piano can be a communal activity.
The YUPC is growing in audience members and events, Hua said. In the spring, the collective will be going on tour to Princeton to play with the Princeton Pianist Ensemble.
Xu said that the YUPC was meaningful to him because there wasn’t much space for a pianist in an ensemble at Yale.
“There’s no other organization at Yale where pianists can just get together, play together and learn from each other,” Xu said. “It’s good for learning and musical development, but also enjoyable in a social sense.”
Freya Savla | firstname.lastname@example.org