Leung and Takao vs. Millennium Stage

Millennium Stage Detail

Millennium Stage Detail uploaded by mjlaflaca

Cellist Amy Leung and pianist Naoko Takao gave a recital this 18 August, but they also gave us an object lesson in the challenges of presenting music in the wrong setting, here a venue which robs the music of precisely the features that make it worthy of performance– once again, the Millennium Stage distracts from and undermines the artistry it seeks to present. The repertoire demonstrated what is best about chamber music: the intimacy of collaboration between performers, the proximity (literal and emotional) to the audience. Ms. Leung and Ms. Takao strove hard to achieve these goals and sometime succeeded, despite a venue with all the intimacy and elegance of an aircraft hangar.

Ms. Leung, currently hailing from Utah is a former DCer, having been a Guarneri Fellow at the University of Maryland, and in residence at GWU with the (sadly) now dissolved Coolidge Quartet. Takao is similarly a UMD-CP alum, and teaches at the Levine School, in addition to her geographically diverse career as a soloist and collaborative artist. They have several performances in town this week (here and here), and one hopes to see and hear more of them locally and soon. Monday’s program featured Beethoven’s Sonata for Piano and ‘cello, Op. 102, No. 1, Elegy for cello and piano of Maryland composer Masatoshi Mitsumoto, and Mendelssohn’s Sonata for Cello and Piano #2, Op. 58.
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