Author: Meizhu Lui

Have you ever marveled at how you can bend and wiggle each of your fingers separately, and yet they function together as one hand? This structure allows you a range of motions, from fixing a tiny screw on your glasses to lifting a 50-pound weight. So, it is with the Dover Quartet. Four distinct voices, which can move separately, but are animated by a single purpose. You can use your eyes to see the two violins, viola, and cello, each playing different notes at different tempos, sometimes resting while the others move, sometimes taking the lead. But when you use…

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Should music be “beautiful?” Music reflects life: not just life in general, but what is going on in a particular place and time. While we always hope for a happy ending, life does not always give us roses: violence and war are part of our human experience. Those, too, can yield a terrible beauty. In music as in the other arts, all aspects of life are expressed. Ukrainian pianist Dmytro Choni, the 2022 bronze medalist of the prestigious Cliburn International Competition, shook us out of our complacency. The five composers in his program – all virtuoso pianists – lived through…

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Fado? What is fado?! The many people of Portuguese descent in the Kahilu audience last Sunday for Marta Pereira da Costa’s guitar performance knew the answer, as was evident by their warm and enthusiastic embrace of Marta and her music. Fado is a beloved Portuguese style of music, arising in the 19th century in Portugal’s capital. Lisbon, like other port cities, was a convergent space where sailors from different parts of the world met, caroused, and played music together, influencing each other’s cultures. Fado’s origins and the fado houses where it’s performed are distinctly working class. It is a song…

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How lucky we are to have our own community orchestra!  Hawaii Island is chock full of wonderful musicians. Some made music their profession, and others simply love to make music. They are our co-workers, neighbors, friends, and relatives. They come together in our beloved Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra (KPO). To plan a concert for a community orchestra is different from, say, the Pittsburg Symphony. The pieces chosen must be ones that delight and sometimes challenge both the musicians and the audience, but they must also be ones that professionals and non-professionals alike can play well with joy and confidence. KPO Conductor…

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Chris Murphy is a loopy musician. And that’s a compliment! He’s a master at an electronic technique called “song looping,” which he does right on stage in real time. He begins by playing either a note, a rhythm that might otherwise be played on a drum or a bass, or a melodic phrase. It’s immediately recorded and then played back repeatedly throughout the given song. After laying down the first notes, he can also record another set of notes to loop. This technique produces a stack of repeating musical phrases; like a cake, you can serve up anywhere from a…

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Transport Out of this World When you enter Andy Czajkowski’s home, you are awestruck by a huge, sleek, shiny, black, single-winged object that looks like an alien spacecraft. Two human-sized beings could lie in it head to toe. It’s a Bösendorfer grand piano, and it waits to transport you to an other-worldly, deeply resonant soundscape. This special “Great Performances” event made possible by Czajkowski’s sharing of his home and piano was a trifecta:  there were songs sung by Faculty Artist soprano Jennifer McGregor accompanied by HPAF founder Val Underwood, solos by Underwood, and chamber music from the Mele Kaula Quartet…

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