A concert review by Dr. Francis Tan
WAWASAN OPEN UNIVERSITY (WOU)
SAT 22 JULY 2023
Juilliard School of Music bound Sean Gan from Seremban gave an impressive performance of his piano virtuosity in a solo piano recital at Homestead, WOU.
The first part of the program featured three appetizers by modern composers of the 20th century:
Ferrucio Busoni (Italian, d. 1924), Nikolai Medtner (Russian, d. 1951) and Rautavaara (Finnish, d.2016).
Sean later explained that he chose these because he wanted to draw attention to works by non-populist composers and clearly these were intended to showcase his amazing stamina, memory, focus and technicality with such dazzling colour and tone.
Sean is a graduate from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Singapore and his curriculum vitae is already peppered with many prizes in his collection. It was Sean’s teacher Professor Albert Tiu who wrote to PPO after he himself gave a most memorable performance in May 2023 (Piano Trios), with two other faculty colleagues, at the very same venue and on the same Steinway Piano. Professor Tiu asked if PPO could assist Sean towards achieving his goal of furthering his studies in a two-year programme in Master of Music (Piano Performance) at the prestigious Juilliard School in Manhattan, New York which has an acceptance rate of 6%. Only a small handful of Malaysian music students have previously made the grade.
For the second half of his recital Sean chose Maurice Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Op 101 in A Major both of which were nicely performed.
The small but attentive audience were very warmly appreciative. Sean, who has probably never before played in a stately heritage building like Homestead, expressed “shock” when he first arrived stating that he did not expect that the audience would be that close, literally breathing over his neck!! That alone would have been an experience to last. It must be said that he passed that performance test not only with distinction but aplomb. Indeed it was a pleasure to host him and his lovely mother.
Congratulations to Sean for having come this far and on winning the coveted scholarship.
Penang Philharmonic and our friends, look forward to Sean’s next visit after his graduation, to perform a concert with the full PP Orchestra. Grateful thanks to all who subscribed and donated to this fund-raising recital.