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Formosan Duo to perform WSU recital

Formosan Duo (web)-01
Graphic by Brett Ferrin

Weber State University professors Shi-Hwa Wang and Yu-Jane Yang will perform their annual recital Formosan violin and piano duo with special guest William Conable at the Allred Theater tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.

The Formosan Duo’s romantic album will be available for purchase afterward at a reception held in the Browning Center lobby for $20 each. All proceeds will go to the WSU Music Department.

The high-quality CDs were put together on campus and then produced by the Kimber Kable Company.

“We recorded it here in the Browning Center,” Wang said. “The sound is just incredibly clear and realistic — plus there are 21 short pieces grouped by a different composer . . . They are all very beautiful music, like a Shakespearean play.”

Wang and Yang are a married couple, both from Taiwan, which Wang said is why they formed the Formosan Duo.

“Formosa is the (former) name of Taiwan, and then Formosan the people from Formosa — Formosan Duo,” he said. “It’s violin and piano. Oftentimes (with) violin and piano, we say it’s solo violin and accompaniment piano, but we would like to make it more equal partners, so we call ourselves a duo.”

Wang said he is excited to perform the repertoire he and his wife have prepared for tonight’s concert. “This Friday concert we are playing one of these suites by Eric Korngold, an Austrian composer (known for) ‘Much Ado About Nothing.’ But we have two other sets of music. One is by Beethoven, ‘Spring’, Sonata No. 5 — that is what we call absolute music, so we are not only playing romantic pieces. And then at the end of the concert we are playing a trio by Schubert . . . It’s a huge piece. Our friend from the state of Washington is going to fly down to join us and perform the Schubert trio.”

Conable said he met both professors at a teacher’s workshop at the University of Michigan more than 20 years ago. “This is one of the greatest examples of the piano trio,” he said. “It’s always a challenge and an inspiration to play it.”

Both professors said they look forward to performing the trio with their longtime friend.

Yang said the “Much Ado About Nothing” piece is on their new album. “Even though the composer is not as familiar for the U.S. audience, he really has great music. Yesterday we rehearsed and performed it for our department chair, and he was really impressed . . . he liked the performance very much. He actually said one of the pieces — it’s called ‘The Garden Scene,’ that’s a really romantic piece — he said that particular movement was really heartfelt. He said we should really announce it for all the people who are in love and make it a special piece for Valentine’s Day.”

WSU senior Amy Talbot, a piano major, was a student of Yang’s for years. “I love music,” she said. “It’s really fun to get to see my professor perform, because they teach us so much. They always listen to us. So (now) we get to hear them perform. It’s really cool. They are very talented, and they can do what they are teaching us.”

Talbot is in charge of the reception after the recital. “The concert is free for those 7 and up — well, those 7 and up are welcome,” she said. “Afterward, there will be some food. People can talk and meet Dr. Wang and Dr. Yang and introduce themselves.”

The Formosan Duo has been performing at WSU since 1990. They have toured in places like China, Taiwan, Singapore, Austria and Poland.

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