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‘The Soloist’ encourages creativity

Brittany Lawrence
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne’s music department present “The Soloist” featuring Dennis Trembly and Grace Xia Zhao, at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 30 in the Campus Center Ballroom A.

The small concert had a great turn out and a simple set up, consisting of a minimal number of empty seats and a large piano in the center of the stage, or just simply the front of the room.

Together the two musicians celebrated Beethoven and the Virtuoso Bass.

“I was three years old when I started to learn how to play the piano,” Grace Xia Zhao, adjunct professor of music and La Verne artist in residence, said.

“My cousin started when she was three, and I would play her piano like a toy,” Xia Zhao said, “She would close the piano and say my hands were dirty. After that I told my mom I wanted what she had, a piano.”

After being introduced by Reed Gratz, professor of music, Xia Zhao started off the show with Ludwig Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 27 no. 2, “Moonlight.”

Playing by memory, Xia Zhao was easily seen as being very passionate about her music, which was simply beautiful.

The first performance started off slow and moved into upbeat and intense music, ended with a huge applause and many audience members standing to show their appreciation.

“I came to the concert because I had heard that the two performers were very good and I have never really been to a concert before,” Daisy Aldana, sophomore anthropology major, said.

“It was a different experience for me, however extremely good and impressive,” Aldana said.

Xia Zhao, after her first performance had the privilege of introducing Dennis Trembly.

The two played together, Xia Zhao on piano and Trembly on the bass, for the remaining of the concert, which consisted of Carl Maria von Weber’s Adagio and Rondo, Ernest Block’s Prayer from Jewish Life No. 1, and Adolf Misek’s Concert Polonaise in E major.

“I have been playing the bass for 53 years now and still practicing,” Dennis Trembly, principal bassist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, said.

“I have been playing in the Philharmonic for 41 years,” Trembly said.

Both musicians accompanied each other extremely well and captivated their audience.

“I have never heard of bass soloist,” Steven Biondo, music department coordinator, said, “It was a fantastic concert.”

Both Xia Zhao and Trembly prepared for the show by rehearsing for an hour and a half a day for two days.

At the end of the concert the two musicians answered audience questions, and Trembly told his humorous story of how he came to play the bass.

“I had a piano in my house and could pick up tunes easily,” Trembly said.

“When I went to go learn how to play, they told me my hands were too small and that I would have to wait a year so I could grow, but I didn’t want to wait so I started playing the accordion.”

“In junior high, I didn’t pick music as an elective because I thought I would have more homework,” Trembly said.

“I was then told that I could pick one of two instruments I would not have to take home, the tuba or bass. I picked the bass and that was that.”

Brittany Lawrence can be reached at brittany.lawrence@laverne.edu.

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