During the “season” the Met Museum offers musical “exhibitions” of various sorts – from guitar/jazz jam sessions to classical treasures for both members of the Amati Society, which supports musical endeavors, and regular donors.
A couple of years ago, a lucky some 150 of us heard Conrad Tao, barely 20 years old, play “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky on the piano alone – no orchestra – in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium (which seats some 708). His dynamic musicianship filled the entire room with “the progression from painting to painting,” ending with the brilliant finale, the Gates of Kiev – which no doubt, was the beginning of a great career.
Last Friday was no exception: Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner, an electrifying young man of 20 (still at Juilliard) played the Met’s Bechstein piano in the 4th Floor Lounge to standing applause. His renditions of Beethoven and Brahms were powerful, precise and replete with emotional shadings. A well-made young man, he presented himself with the kind of poise gained through his performances with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra in Bagdad, celebrating World Day for President Kagame in Rwanda, and winning The Atlantic Council’s Young Global Citizen’s Award. He, of course, has also played in Verbier, Banff, Prague, Canandaigua Lake Music Festival and many other Festivals.
Llewellyn began his first college degree at five; at six he was performing regularly with orchestras… which proves that whatever we know about Mozart must be absolutely true. Perhaps every mother should play at least some music while a baby is “in situ” to instill a permanent love for sound.
There is something about watching this young talent that gives a sense of calm about the future. Llewellyn played without drama, no acrobatics or balletic gestures, just a clear connection with the black and white piano keys.
Lang Lang… look to your laurels!