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Vol.26, No. 19 Apr. 9, 2001

Talent Abounds at Annual Steinway Hall Concert

By Pamela Vu

While she evoked gentle sounds of nature, he answered with exuberant outbursts of emotion. Together pianist Yelena Grinberg and cellist Jonathan Bent interweaved melodic lines that conjured up images of heroism, passion and melancholy—capturing the romanticism of Brahms’ sonata for cello and piano no. 1 in E minor.

The duo was among the winners of this year’s Steinway Competition, sponsored by Columbia’s Music Performance Program, featured at the recent second annual Steinway Hall Gala Concert in a display of virtuosity, drama and creativity.

“The Steinway Hall Gala Concert was a remarkable testament to the diversity of talent in the music performance program at Columbia,” said Deborah Bradley, director of the program. “It was in every way, and on every level, a collaborative effort. The students spent countless hours practicing, rehearsing with their groups and working intensely with coaches.”

The evening’s performances included compositions by Ginastera, Mozart, Dohnanyi, Brahms and Mendelssohn.

Bent started studying the cello at the age of 6. He has played with many orchestras, from the Interschool Orchestras of New York to the Tanglewood Symphony.

Grinberg, who emigrated from Moscow, Russia, to the United States in 1992, began studying piano at the age of 5. She is enrolled in a five-year double-degree program at Barnard College and Juilliard.

“Jonathan and I decided on Brahms because we both identified with the music and felt passionate about it,” said Grinberg. “His music is romantic, full of energy, integrated and very organic.”

While Grinberg has played in great venues such as Carnegie Hall, she said, “The environment of the Steinway Hall Concert was a truly welcoming one. I’m grateful to have had the chance to share the music with the audience and with my peers.”

Bradley added, “The continued support of the music department, Columbia College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has enabled us to provide such a splendid setting for these student musicians, and we plan to make the Steinway Gala a Columbia tradition.”

Other winners included Lauren Horoschak, Ming-Yi Chuang, Emily and Julia Bruskin, Katrin Stamatis, Madigan Fichter, Claire Temin, James Zheng, Leah Davis, Morika Tsujimura, Sara Hsiao, Anna Cooper.