To Shuting Ye, a sophomore piano performance major, music is something she couldn’t live without. When you love something it is almost impossible to part with, so when the time came, choosing a major was easy for Ye. On Friday, Nov. 4, Ye shared the talents she has been honing since middle school with a showcase held at White Concert Hall.
Ye grew up in the Guangdong province of China, more popularly known to American’s as Canton. She began studying piano and music in middle school and her love for music grew into a desire to commit her life to it. In 2015 she began to attend Washburn because her piano instructor in China recommended that she do so and work with Dr. Ding.
Ye opened her concert with Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Chaconne” the most famous movement to come out of Bach’s Partita in D minor for solo violin, which is listed as number 1004 in the huge catalogue of Bach composition the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis. The “Chanconne” movement has been highly praised by virtuoso violinists all around the world. Some call it the greatest solo violin piece ever written. Of course, Ye is not a violin player. She performed the piano transcription of the piece written by Ferruccio Busoni. A “Chaconne” utilizes a familiar and repetitive bassline that allows the upper range to experiment and decorate, thus highlighting the mood of the piece.
From there the concert moved to the romantic nationalism of Spanish composer Enrique Granados and the first movement of his piano suite, “Goyescas.” “Los Requiebros” translates to “The Compliments” and the difficulty of its complex rhythms clearly left an impression on Ye’s audience as their response was of great admiration at her stunning expertise.
“Ballade No. 2” has a haunting melody that perfectly accompanies the story surrounding it. Composer Franz Liszt was a huge fan of Gothic horror writer Gottfried August Burger, and the piece itself is based on Burger’s poem “Lenore.” The poem tells the story of a young woman taking her zombie fiancé to a cemetery where they commence with their wedding vows, with ghosts and skeletons excitedly celebrating. The piece perfectly sets this up with its sad and heartbreaking beginning that slowly crescendos into utter chaos. It was a unique piece that the audience really seemed to enjoy.
The concert ended with Ye’s favorite piece, Darius Milhaud’s “Scaramouche, suite for two pianos.” Ye was joined by Julie Rivers, a local Topeka pianist, who took on a jazz suite composed of three increasingly difficult movements entitled “Vif,” “Modere” and “Basileira.” Ye said she loves the fast paced tempo of “Scaramouche” and that its style is fun and really enjoyable to play.
Ye has been practicing piano for many years and to her it’s an extension of herself. “It’s just a part of my life. I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s magical. Just pure magic.”