Harvey Lin, piano
Amber Emson, violin
Will Duerden, double bass
Sophie Kauer, cello
Alison Rhind, piano accompanist
2018 Local Young Performers with His Worship, the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Graham Cundy
This year’s Local Young Performers Soiree took place in the most upbeat and uplifting atmosphere on a rainy, cold, miserable but typical January evening. The four performers invited this year were full of enthusiasm and eagerness to play their instruments and were received by the equally keen audience. This was our fourth year of this annual event; the concept of supporting school-age performers and providing them with an excellent opportunity to perform to a welcoming crowd seems to have established well with Breinton concert lovers.
First off, 15-year-old pianist Harvey Lin. He has enviable dexterity and superb precision; his execution of the highly challenging pieces of Debussy, Liszt, Chopin and Kapustin was extremely sincere to the music. His articulation was admirable, particularly contrasting edgy and angular from rounded sounds, displaying subtle nuances, and grasping the characters of each piece. He was incredibly focused, keeping his cool and never rushed, making his performance assuring and reliable. I had an absolute ball with the Finale of Kapustin’s Etudes.
Violinist Amber Emson’s strength was noticeable right from the beginning. The Brahms D-minor Sonata, which is very dear to me, was performed with the most beautiful and thoughtful tone – the most important quality I seek for in any violinist. The second movement Adagio’s lyrical melody in the mid-lower register gave a moment of nostalgic calmness. The rapturous fourth movement was performed with well projected sounds. I was amazed to hear that Amber had started to learn this Sonata only a month ago!
Introducing a new and unique instrument is always a risky business, but double bassist Will Duerden could not have done a better job. Seemingly a shy 17-year-old, he rose to the occasion, capturing the audience’s attention and never letting them go, showing the strong traits of a real performer. We heard some powerful chords that came straight at us and funky melodies that carried an exotic ambiance in Frank Proto’s Carmen Fantasy; the emotion was full-blown in the JC Bach Viola Concerto; and what an infectiously playful climax Bottesini’s Fantasia was.
Cellist Sophie Kauer took on the challenge of being the last player of the evening. A natural performer, she shaped her musical world with technical mastery, stylish expressions and wit. Frank Bridge’s Mélodie was a real chamber piece, the inextricable cello and piano parts beautifully expanded and expressed. March-like Kabalevsky’s Cello Concert was powerful, and Bach’s solo Sarabande was calm and crystal pure, making a beautiful contrast. The stunning show-case Hungarian Rhapsody was a winner in every aspect, bringing a very merry close to the evening.
Pianist Alison Rhind was an indispensable part of the evening. She played with such grace and care, magically putting all the instruments feel completely at ease with her. Her expertise was highly appreciated by all of us.
We were delighted to welcome His Worship, the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Graham Cundy and his wife to the recital this year and he praised the musicians for their talent and performance at the end of evening, adding a few kind words for our initiative to arrange these recitals. We thank them for their support.
And, thanks to our dear trustee Steve, who masterfully completed the formidable task of page turning.
Will Duerden was born in 2000 and began to play the Double Bass when he was seven years old, starting with a three-quarter size instrument which was considerably bigger than him! A year later he performed with members of the Yehudi Menuhin School at an event organised in conjunction with the West Sussex String Academy, and was then invited to audition for the Menuhin School, where he is studying with Caroline Emery (who was able to lend him an instrument that was more appropriate to his size).
Amber Emson started playing violin at the age of 5 as a pupil of Margaret Norris and later Natasha Boyarsky; in 2009 she joined the Royal Academy of Music’s Junior Department. As a student at Chetham’s School of Music 2014-16, she won the Concerto Competition resulting in a performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Chetham’s Sinfonia at Manchester Cathedral, and the Catherine Perkins Chamber Music Prize. Since September 2016 Amber has been home schooled; she currently studies violin under the tutelage of Maciej Rakowski and enhances her music education at the Royal College of Music’s Junior Department.
Sophie Kauer is 16 years old and attends the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music where she holds a scholarship. During her time at the Academy she has won the Cello and Lower Strings Prizes and been a finalist in the Chamber Prize. She studies the cello privately with Melissa Phelps. Previously, she was also taught by Maria Zachariadou.
At the age of 13 Sophie was chosen by former BBC Young Musician winner Guy Johnston to make her debut as a soloist with orchestra and, since then, she has performed in Switzerland, Germany, Norway and Denmark, as well as across the UK.
Harvey Lin is 15 years old. started his first piano lesson at seven years old. At nine years old, he was the youngest participant in the history of the BBC Young Musician of the Year to be selected to compete in this competition, and the youngest competitor ever to get through to the 2nd round.
Harvey has won numerous top awards at international and national piano competitions, including the 1st prize for the 5th Young Pianist of the North International Piano Competition, Newcastle, 2012;
Alison Rhind is recognised as one of the leading collaborative pianists specialising in the repertoire for piano and strings. Her ability to accompany was recognised and nurtured at an early age whilst still at Chetham’s School of Music and she became increasingly in demand throughout her time at Oxford University where she read Music at Wadham College. Chetham’s invited her back immediately she had finished her degree but she completed her studies with Edith Vogel at the Guildhall School of Music before returning there.
Harvey Lin, piano:
- Debussy: Feux d'Artifice
- Liszt: Un Sospiro
- Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor
- Kapustin: Finale from Concert Etude Op. 40
Amber Emson, violin:
- Brahms: Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108
Will Duerden, double bass:
- Frank Proto: Prelude and Aragonaise from A Carmen Fantasy
- JC Bach: Viola de Gamba Concerto, 2nd movement
- Bottesini: Fantasia Lucia di Lammermoor
Sophie Kauer, cello:
- Bridge: Melodie for cello and piano, H.99
- Kabalevsky: Allegro from Cello Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op. 49
- Bach: Sarabande, Suite No. 3 in C major, BMV 1009
- Popper: Hungarian Rhapsody, Op. 68
Will, Sophie and Amber were accompanied on piano by Alison Rhind.