Thornton Strings students perform classical pieces in showcase

MacDonald Recital Hall was filled with classical string compositions on Wednesday night. The musicians played an eclectic repertoire, from Bach to Debussy. Graduate student Yaxin Tan (above) had been practicing since from the start of the semester. (Ling Luo | Daily Trojan)

When the lights dimmed at Open Performance Evening in Jeanette MacDonald Recital Hall, there was a certain tranquility in the air. Audience members settled into their chairs, programs were passed around and performers began to file in through the back doors. All eyes were on center stage.

Ten string musicians in the Thornton School of Music performed 10 pieces they’ve been perfecting all semester, ranging from composers like Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to Johann Sebastian Bach. The event was an opportunity for students to showcase their hard work and musical talents to their family, friends and the greater USC community.

The opening number was Bach’s “Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001,” featuring a sweet, melodic performance on violin by graduate student Yaxin Tan. Next came a dramatic duet entitled “Fratres” by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, which saw graduate students Linda-Anette Verte on violin and Alin Melik-Adamyan on piano. An Estonian foreign exchange student, Verte said she has been practicing “Fratres” for a month and that she really loves being at Thornton so far.

“I came from far away and I love L.A. and I love Thornton [because] everyone is so nice and welcoming,” Verte said.

Moving through the program, there was a performance for everyone’s musical taste. Whether it be the aggressive, skill-intensive “Dance of the Green Devil” by Gaspar Cassadó or the smooth sounds of Claude Debussy’s “Beau Soir,” the lineup at Open Performance Evening catered to diverse preferences.

Although the recital hall was not full, the spectators present were nothing short of captivated. Audience member Xinyu Zhao, a freshman majoring in communication, had never attended any of Thornton’s musical performances and was pleasantly surprised by what she heard at the show.

“The pieces played had a really diverse range, so I got to hear both melodic and skill-packed songs which kept me interested whenever someone new went on stage,” Zhao said.

Another noteworthy performer was Bradley Bascon, a sophomore majoring in violin performance, who has played the instrument for nearly 16 years.

When asked what his favorite piece of the showcase was, Bascon hesitated before answering: “The Tchaikovsky piece [because] it’s beautifully written for the violin and allows [me] to be a bit of a romantic … OK, a huge romantic.”

The performance showcased the students’ talent and set a standard for future Thornton showcases. The musicians’ diverse repertoire further emphasized the scope of the Thornton program, and left the audience enthralled.