Our dear friends, Sid and Shirley Singer, had been telling us for some time about a marvelous pianist we would love playing with named Joyce Yang. We heard great things about her fabulous playing from various friends who’d heard her in various festivals around the world. “She’s young, energetic and has a great sense of humor” — G-d only knows she’ll need that with us.
The Singer’s arranged to have us play together on their series just north of NYC and we met with Joyce at her apartment to have our first rehearsal. From the first chords of the Schumann Piano Quintet we all knew we were in for a treat. Joyce made the piano sing like a great voice, full the room like a French horn and create huge orchestral textures. She was a delightful host to us and when we finished the first read through it seemed like we had very little to actually rehearse.
In her inimitable way Joyce asked us if we were hungry and off we all went to the first of many wonderful meals together.
Shortly after that first concert Joyce, who was busy traveling world wide, called with what she said was, perhaps, an odd request, and one we could feel free to say “no” to if we felt like it. She asked if we might play the Schumann Quintet on her Juilliard Senior Recital, which she needed to do in order to graduate. We had already decided that anytime, anywhere, that the opportunity came to perform with Joyce we would take it. It was a rarity to have a quartet like the ASQ play in a Setting like Joyce’s Juilliard recital, but it was, needless to say, a great audience and a very special occasion. (Her solo playing was stunning!) and dinner afterward was equally delicious and entertaining.
We have since performed numerous times together and recorded both the Schumann and Brahms Piano Quintets with Joyce, which will be released by Foghorn Classics later this season. I rarely listen to our own recordings, but this one is different. This one, as the saying goes, I can listen to ” again and again”.
And they said it wouldn’t last…
(Not Sid and Shirley- they got it right!)