Dallas duo brings grace, skill to Bass Hall

Music-lovers braved the winter weather and ventured downtown to Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall on Jan. 13 for an evening of music by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.The performance was directed by Miguel Harth-Bedoya and featured piano virtuosos Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung.

The first piece performed was “Blue Cathedral,” composed by American Jennifer Higdon as a memorial to her younger brother who died of cancer. Higdon’s use of Chinese health reflex balls and tuned water goblets seemed to only add a little bit of that cathedral-like quality she was attempting, and the piece seemed to lack something at the end.

“Symphony No. 4,” composed by Robert Schumann, was the second piece of the evening. Its orchestration was good, though not great, and failed to hold the full interest of the audience.

Highlighting the evening was the third piece, “Concerto for Two Pianos,” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This piece was performed by Bax and Chung, a married piano duo living in Dallas.

Chung is a Canadian native and, after her debut at the age of 10, has performed all over the world. She graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, as well as many other schools, the most recent being Southern Methodist University.

Bax won first place in the 2000 Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, and has appeared with numerous symphonies all over the world. He graduated with top honors from the conservatory in his hometown of Bari, Italy, at the age of 14. He teaches at the Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas.

This concerto was beautifully done, with Bax and Chung’s performance outshining the rest of the orchestra (who played backup to the duo). Though “Concerto for Two Pianos,” is a lesser-known work from Mozart, Bax and Chung did not play it with anything less than perfection.

Bax played with an understated, simplistic passion. He appeared almost methodical but that did not detract from the urgency with which he played.

His counterpart and wife Chung played with a more artistic flair. She played with an elegant, fluidic vigor – her hands flying up gracefully from the piano’s keyboard throughout the concerto.

Bax and Chung portrayed two players from two different worlds, united in both marriage and in music. Whether these two virtuosos were playing in unison or in a responsive manner during the concerto, it was clear they were playing as one.

For anyone who loves listening to music or watching people who love what they do perform, a concert with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at Bass Hall is the place to be. You can hear and see the performances well from just about anywhere, and tickets are quite reasonably priced. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra is a cultural gem, and everyone should take the opportunity to see a performance.