It's been quite a few years since we've been to a piano recital—in fact, we're not going to count —but the one given by Jiayan Sun at the Southampton Cultural Center as part of its Rising Stars Piano Recital Series on Saturday evening made us wonder why. We had a wonderful time. Few classical pianists so young (he's a mere whippersnapper of 24) bring so much personality and authority to the keyboard. And during his two-part program of C.P.E. Bach (Sonata No. 1 in D Major) and Chopin (the 24 Preludes (Op. 28), little vignettes that you just don't hear all at once), Sun brought dramatic and, yes, comic timing to the music. His early music background shone through in his interpretation of the Bach, originally written for harpsichord. The acoustics in the Cultural Center auditorium are perfectly suited for piano performance, and two closed-circuit screens gave even the folks in the back a front-row view of the artist. Chatting with us after the show, the Chinese-born, Juilliard-trained pianist says he doesn't deliberately try to convey a particular visual image or emotion, but we could've sworn we could see the gaunt, tubercular Chopin staring longingly out the window at a thunderstorm during Sun's performance of the Preludes. (Or maybe we hit the wine and cheese too early. Either way.)
The next recital is in April. Mark your calendar now, because this great local resource needs our support.
· Rising Stars Piano Series [Official]
—with Mardie Millit