Abrupt passion in piano fashion: Susan Svrcek hits keys at McKinney

Susan Svrcek addresses McKinney audience. (Eric Gorman)

Eric Gorman

Susan Svrcek’s contemporary concert at McKinney Theatre contains works of modern madness on Feb. 24.

Pieces from Stephen Cohn, Carlos Rafael Rivera, Gilead Mishory and Tan Dun combined with Svrcek’s fingers to fill the air with tense, dramatic tones of solemn beauty. The solo-pianist constructed brief silences that split harsh notes, emphasizing the intensity of coming emotions.

The composition selection was dictated by her belief that “it is really important for audiences to be listening to music that was written during their lifetime,” Svrcek said. “Life is going on,” and while it’s important to acknowledge the music of the past — because of it’s influence on music of the present — we need to focus on the music that is being made today, and “it’s my job to get it out there.”

Her first piece, “Moods of a Goddess,” by Cohn, “was written in 1998. So it’s an old piece,” Svrcek said humorously — people chuckled. “Thats kinda how it is.”

Kirll Glaidkovsky, Director of Keyboard Studies at Saddleback, said that the recital was a concert of “contemporary music” from the “late twentieth century and early twenty first century.”

“I think that we don’t get to hear this kind of music very often,” Glaidkovsky said. “So it was a planned event to give an idea of a different style of music. To hear the piano in some non-traditional ways.”

After nods to Francisco de Goya’s paintings by compositions of Rivera’s and a complex story told through the “Fugitive Pieces” by Mishory, the show was almost over.

“We’ll have a high-kick finish, this is “Sunrain,” Svrcek said.

The song’s beautiful eastern notes erupted intensely with celebratory-like enchantment.

As the show ended, members of the crowd earnestly exclaimed, “Oh, that was good,” while others whispered, “that was really great,” to one another.

“I’ve never been to this kind of concert before. I had been curious of her skills in playing,” said Michael Meng, 19, an English/Art major at Saddleback. “Some of the songs played were kind of creepy and different from other classical music I have heard.”

Svrcek’s mother, who was in attendance, said “[I’m] learning to enjoy this kind of music — today’s music — and I have Susan to thank for it.”

Susan Svrcek’s performance was part of a continuing showcase of piano exploits entitled “Reflections of the Ocean Classical Keyboard Series,” or ‘ROCKS.’

The series’ next event is Glaidkovsky’s “Russian Spectacular” on Sunday, which will feature “works by Russian Composers Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Taneyev, Medtner and the Beloved Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky,” the spring 2013 concert calendar explains.

Other future ‘ROCKS’ concerts include a Saddleback piano-student recital on Apr. 28, and “The Piano Story,” a narrative concert with Mario Merdirossian on May 4.

For more information on upcoming events, tickets and more, visit the Saddleback Arts website: http://www.saddleback.edu/arts/

To connect with Svrcek via LinkedIn or Facebook follow these links.

And here’s a rendition of Tan Dun’s “Sunrain” on Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P308Td4Eq7o


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