Last Friday pianist Hanbo Ma played her first performance at ETSU since she graduated from the university.
“I wanted to make a theme out of the program,” Ma said. “So I chose three sonatas. So it’s a sonata from the earlier classical period and another two sonatas from the mid romantic and late romantic period.”
Ma performed in the Brown Hall Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Her selection of music included pieces by Ludwig Van Beethoven, Sergei Rachmaninov and Franz Liszt.
“It’s not just that she’s very precise and technically good as an artist,” audience member Betsy Couper said, “but she also puts herself into it. You can tell because she’s performing with all of herself.”
Ma said she has been performing piano for 22 years, and that it took her two months to rehearse for the night’s performance.
“I learned one of the pieces back in September of last year,” Ma said, “and then I sort of left it there and recently started to work on it again.”
Ma said that the most challenging piece to learn for the night was the Liszt sonata.
“Structurally it’s hard to control,” Ma said, “and it’s technically also very demanding.”
Audience member Daniel Couper said that the piece by Liszt was his favorite piece of the evening.
“It was massive and sweeping and long,” Couper said, “but I loved every minute of it.”
Ma said that she was invited to come back to ETSU and that her favorite thing about coming back was the fact that she knew who she was playing for.
“I know everyone,” Ma said. “I know like 90 percent of the people in the audience. I’m just so glad to be back in this environment. This is the first placed that I stayed in the United States, so it means a lot to me; it’s like a second home.”