Concert connects classical, pop culture

Saxophonist Andrew S. Harrison joins Jason Lo on stage for the Piano Virtuoso Series “Masterful Keys” concert Saturday at Morgan Auditorium. The duo played four songs from Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Saxophonist Andrew S. Harrison joins Jason Lo on stage for the Piano Virtuoso Series “Masterful Keys” concert Saturday at Morgan Auditorium. The duo played four songs from Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz

Margaret Contreras
Staff Writer

La Verne piano instructor Jason Lo and guest saxophonist Andrew S. Harrison performed Feb. 17 as part of the “Masterful Keys” concert in Morgan Auditorium. 

About 100 community members attended the event, which began with an opening word from Lo, who welcomed the audience. 

“Music and arts are a way for one to express and show themselves to the world,” Lo said.

He played the first half solo, a series of toccata pieces. Toccata pieces are written for keyboard instruments, and they highlight the performer’s touch and techniques. 

The first piece he played was “Piano Sonata No. 1, III,” by Ned Rorem. This was followed by “Le Tombeau de Couperin, VI,” by Maurice Ravel, and another piece by Sergei Prokofiev. Other music included works by Nikolai Kapustin György Ligeti. 

“In grad school, I naturally gravitated toward toccatas,” Lo said. “They have a lot of personality and are very emotional.”

After the intermission, Lo introduced Andrew Harrison who accompanied him on saxophone. Among their duets, they played a sonata for cello and piano by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Harrison’s sax played the cello part. 

“Cello and saxophone both have a vibrant sound, but the cello has a bigger range,” Harrison said. “We had to figure out how to play the squeaky high notes in the piece, but it was not impossible.”

Both Lo and Harrison were introduced to music from a young age.They have traveled and played together in various cities over the years.

“It’s always a treat to see Dr. Lo perform,” said junior music major Kolani Smith, who attended the concert Saturday. “You feel so many emotions.”

Junior psychology and music Morgan Esebag, who attended Saturday, was also enthusiastic about the concert. 

“It seems …so effortless,” Esebag said. “You feel like you are transported into the music.” 

Junior education major Kiara Valdez-Garcia said felt like she was in the music. 

“It felt like we were in the divine comedy, in the inferno,” Valdez-Garcia said. 

The final piece of the afternoon, another solo by Lo, by Nobuo Uematsu, the composer best known for composing music for the Final Fantasy video game series. 

“It was a nod to my students,” Lo said. “I wanted them to know I understand their love of video games, I love them too.” 

Margaret Contreras can be reached at margaret.contreras@laverne.edu.

Jason Lo introduces his Piano Virtuoso Series “Masterful Keys” on Saturday at the Morgan Auditorium. Lo’s set consisted of seven songs, each with a different range, showcasing his talent. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Andrew S. Harrison gives the audience a fresh take on chamber music as he plays his saxophone for the Piano Virtuoso Series “Masterful Keys” concert Saturday at Morgan Auditorium. Harrison and pianist Jason Lo started off the second half of the concert by playing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 19. Lento – Allegro moderato with an arrangement that substituted saxophone for the cello part. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Jason Lo begins his Piano Virtuoso Series “Masterful Keys” concert with Ned Rorem’s Piano Sonata No. 1, III. Toccata, Clear, Fast, and Hard on Saturday at Morgan Auditorium. Lo said it was a complicated piece to perform because of its abnormally subdivided 4/4 time signature. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz

Magaret Contreras is a sophomore communications major with a concentration in public relations. She is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Ayalen Ortiz, a freshman art major, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine. He has past experience with graphic design, fine arts and video editing.

CommentCancel reply

Related articles

Outdoor concert offers summer vibe

Scripps College Bowling Green Lawn was the site for an immersive outdoor concert on April 11. 

Scripps College treated to Friday concert

Pianist Zach Neufeld and singers Tessie Prakas and Charles W. Kamm perform at the Friday Noon Concert Series on April 12 at Scripps College's Balch Auditorium.

Happenings

Campus and community arts events for the week of April 19, 2024.

‘Spirit of Ireland’ is eclectic celebration of music and dance

On Sunday the “Spirit of Ireland” concert featuring Michael Ryan and Friends, with other performers, played before a full house in Morgan Auditorium.
Exit mobile version