Shirley Yoo, Ph.D., professor of piano for the D’Angelo School of Music, gave a recital in the Walker Recital Hall on Thursday, Oct. 10.
Students and faculty alike from within the music department and across the Mercyhurst community attended the performance, which was met with much excitement and high expectations; all of which Yoo did not fail to disappoint.
The Washington Post has called Yoo a pianist with “extraordinary sensitivity and technical skill.” She has performed all across the globe in halls from Mumbai, Seoul, Banff, Trento and London.
She has received first prize awards in competitions such as the Pennsylvania Federation of Music Clubs, the National Society of Arts and Letters and the National Chopin Competition.
Yoo obtained her undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University and then went on to obtain her master of music degree on a fellowship at the University of Maryland.
She also studied post-grad at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and later received her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
Yoo’s recital featured a fantastic mix of music ranging from the Classical era to the 20th century. The program began with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Prelude and Fugue in E minor, op. 87, No. 4, followed by Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata in E Major, op. 109.
The second movement of the Beethoven was masterfully presented. The movement, “Prestissimo,” required speedy arppeggiation up and down the keyboard, and Yoo’s playing was spot on.
After intermission, the program continued with Oliver Messiaen’s Huit Préludes, followed by Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Études-tableaux, op. 33 and Maurice Ravel’s Sonatine.
The part of Yoo’s recital that was of particular interest was the third movement of the Beethoven Sonata.
Titled “Gesangvoll,” the third movement features variations on the main theme of the entire piece, which is very unusual for a sonata (a musical form known to be more exclusive).
Since the third movement takes the form of a theme and variations, it is slower than the rest of the piece.
Generally, the second movement of a sonata has a slower dance-like feel. Since the more somber of the three falls at the end, the entire piece has the impression of two movements rather than three, which is innovative in both composition and performance.
Yoo’s recital is the second performance of the D’Angelo School’s Faculty Recital Series.
The final recital of the fall term will feature Joseph Kneer, Ph.D., as violin soloist with Yoo accompanying on piano.
Other upcoming department performances include C Street Bass (Visiting Artists’ Series) on Monday, Oct. 28, at 8 p.m. and the Mercyhurst University Choir Concert on Friday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m., both held in Walker Recital Hall.
The Mercyhurst Symphony Orchestra and Mercyhurst Wind Ensemble will also perform Nov. 23 and 24 respectively in the Performing Arts Center.