Roche guest pianist dazzles in WRH

On March 18 at 8 p.m., pianist Emily Yap Chua, D.M.A., continued the Roche Guest Artist Series in Walker Recital Hall.
Chua is the Music Department Chair and a Professor of Music at Randolph College, and she continues to be an active soloist and chamber musician, having released one recording of piano works by Kent Holiday and another album, a collaboration with soprano Katherine Jolly, set to be released in July 2019.
As the lights dimmed in Walker Recital Hall, Chua walked onto the stage to applause and began performing her first piece without introduction.
The first half of the recital was done from memory.
It was evident in her playing that she spent countless hours learning and practicing the repertoire.
Every note was played perfectly, with each dynamic played well and every nuance of each piece being incorporated.
She opened the recital with George Handel’s Suite in F Major HWV 427.
Personally, I really enjoyed the third movement as it carried the most emotion.
Overall, it was a very technical piece and it had gorgeous, lilting notes that carried variations of the melody throughout the piece.
The following piece was Fantasien, Op. 116 by Johannes Brahms.
From the beginning of the first movement, this work expressed a lot of depth, emotion and energy powering through its chords.
The following movement, “Intermezzo: Andante,” was a drastic shift in energy from the first movement and reminded me of a lullaby.
Out of the seven movements, I preferred the “Capriccios.”
Knowing and being able to perform this piece from memory truly speaks to her skill and dedication.
Overall, I felt that this piece was incredibly passionate and expressive.
Following intermission, Chua performed “Sonata (1934)” by Witold Lutoslawski.
This was a very intricate and colorful piece.
Chua really brought the work’s texture qualities to life as each layer of the piano’s sound rang through the recital hall.
I particularly enjoyed the third movement as it sounded like three different works being interwoven and somehow worked together.
This further highlighted Chua’s skill.
Before performing the final work, Chua stepped onto the stage and thanked the audience for attending and being so respectful.
The final work was Gargoyles, Op. 29 by Lowell Liebermann.
I really enjoyed the piece.
It was very dramatic and full of lush sounds and chromatic notes.
The overall vibe of the piece was dark and mysterious and truly befitting the name.
The first movement was very unsettling through the rapid changes in sound and it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger.
The second and third movements were beautiful and of the romantic style in mood.
There were no words for how amazingly the finale was performed.
It was so well done with its frenzied character all throughout the keys of the piano.
Chua took us through the centuries with each of the composers.
Each composer and piece were stylistically different from one another.
With her accurate and precise execution of each piece, it truly reflected her skill and dedication on the piano.
She gave a masterclass the next day for Mercyhurst piano students.
Don’t miss the final Roche Guest Artist Series performance of Warp Trio on April 1 at 8 p.m. in Walker Recital Hall.