22. 10. 2006

The Eagle (by Katie Peduzzi)

Acclaimed pianist Vavic impresses D.C. crowd

The talented fingers of Anika Vavic, world acclaimed pianist, enchanted audiences Saturday at the Kennedy Center.

Anika Vavic, the first performer of the Hayes Piano Series presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society, set a high standard for those who would follow her. Before her performance last Saturday, a Steinway waited center stage in the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center. Then, after the tall, exotic Vavic took her seat, the entire hall was filled by the masterpiece of the precise movement of her fingers across the keys.

A Serbian native, Vavic has already stunned audiences throughout Europe and parts of Asia. She has built a reputation as a performer of incredible talent worthy of eminent praise. Vavic has attracted enormous crowds of fans after winning the Steinway Competition of 2002 in Vienna, Austria, and the Austrian National Award for Women in the Arts.

Vavic has come a long way from her first performance in her hometown of Belgrade at the very young age of six. It is obvious, however, that the art of music and performing are a talent that she was born with. Her presence on stage is astonishing and her whole body becomes involved in portraying the emotion of the pieces she plays.

As Vavic masterfully performed Mozart's "Sonata in B major," she gently swayed back and forth on the leather seat with the melody while the piece captured the audience before it heightened into a more intricate and lively sonata. Often playing with her eyes closed, her entire stage presence was incredibly amazing. She gave the audience the feeling that she was completely in her own place, focused on the music and almost unaware of their presence.

After looking around at the audience, it was apparent that many of the audience members were also lost in their own bliss, completely enchanted by Vavic's musical ability. Much of the crowd was older but there were a few younger fans with a great love for the art and sound of the piano.

When she moved on to Chopin's "Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor," Vavic continued to show an amazing ability to master the keys. Chopin's sonata is a bit darker of a piece and it began to dramatically change the feeling in the concert hall. Although still enchanting, this piece portrayed a more serious, deep emotional feeling. Bending in towards the piano as she hit the lower notes, Vavic was obviously lost deep within the music.

Alone on stage with nothing but the piano, Vavic had managed to fill the whole room with life and emotion without ever standing up. Taming the keys to her command, she produced an incredibly intricate and intense sound with every piece, leaving the audience wondering how anyone was capable of such talent.

In one last display of her skill Vavic performed Prokoviev's "Sonata No. 6 in A major" without missing a note. Standing up at the end of the sonata, Vavic was praised by the audience for a solid 10 minutes as she stood triumphantly next to the piano. She had won their hearts with the grace of her hands.

[ original article ]

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