A rare experience of complete unity involving Katherine Chi, piano soloist; Lopez-Gomez; the musicians, and the audience evolved during the performance of Manuel de Falla’s impressionistic glimpses of his homeland in “Nights in the Gardens of Spain.” Chi’s range of expression on the piano was the perfect textural spice to the lush orchestral sounds of Symphoria.

Lopez-Gomez drew exceptional energy from the musicians on De Falla’s mysterious, sensuous, dramatic exploration of three-gardens. The music ranged from tender to tumultuous, and Chi’s expressive touch conveyed every nuance of emotion at the keyboard. Lopez-Gomez set a brisk tempo which, in the final five minutes produced scorching sounds from the full orchestra in exchanges with the romantic melodies of piano and strings. Chi’s technique was ethereal in the final, fading conclusion of the 26-minute piece. She cemented her place in the hearts of the audience when she rose from the piano bench and drifted to Lopez-Gomez, extending both her hands to grasp his and, with the slightest bow, thank him. The audience roared in appreciation…

Applause at the final stop of the Latin music tour was fervent for Symphoria, the soloists–including Zachary Hammond, oboe, and Alina Plourde, English horn– Lopez-Gomez, who conducted all but the de Falla without scores, and the captivating Chi. This was a concert that warmed hearts and left people wanting more.

The Post-Standard | January 25, 2014

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