July 13, 2024 3:11 pm

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Romantic music at Cascadia Art Museum’s Date Night

by LUKE PUTVIN luke.putvin@lynnwoodtimes.com

Cascadia Art Museum puts on “Music in the Museum” concerts once per month, and on July 20, it held a Date Night themed concert featuring Pamela Liu on violin and Harumi Makiyama on piano.

Liu received her Masters Degree in Violin Performance at the University of Washington and currently teaches with Edmonds Community College, The Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestras and more. She has recorded for movie soundtracks, video games and has played backup for individuals such as Michael Bublé and Sarah Brightman.

Makiyama, a native of Fukuoka, Japan, also attended University of Washington where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance.

All of the pieces of music that evening were picked to be part of the Date Night theme and were romantic in style. There were compositions from Debussy, Ennio Morricone, Mendelssohn, Satie, John Williams and even from a local composer Cal Lewin.

Lynnwood Times photo by Luke Putvin. Pictured L-R: Christopher Liu, Harumi Makiyama, Pamela Liu, Ethan Wu and Cal Lewin at Cascadia Art Museum on July 20.
Lynnwood Times photo by Luke Putvin. Pictured L-R: Christopher Liu, Harumi Makiyama, Pamela Liu, Ethan Wu and Cal Lewin at Cascadia Art Museum on July 20.

One of the pieces from the evening, “Carmen Fantasy”, was a compilation of themes from the opera Carmen by George Bizet. Accompanying Pamela Liu was her husband Christopher Liu on guitar. Pamela Liu’s technical ability was clearly at the forefront of this piece with nimble runs, plentiful double stops and even switching to harmonics to play the melody at one point. It was clear she was having fun with the performance and would often look to her husband with a grin. The audience gave their applause at a point, and Pamela Liu laughed and said, “Wait, there’s more.”

Next was Debussy’s “Beau Soir”, which translates to “beautiful evening.” This was the polar opposite of “Carmen Fantasy.” Where the previous showcased technical proficiency, this one showcased restraint. There were swells to high highs that quieted to low lows, and the piece ended on a note that sounded like the violin was whispering to the audience.

Ethan Wu, an upcoming senior in high school, played with Pamela Liu next. Here, Liu took the accompanying role, and Wu took the lead. If one were to close their eyes, they would not have guessed that the violinist in front of them was a high schooler but someone far older. Wu’s technical prowess was impressive, and the piece had him play sweeping arpeggios and swift runs.

Two surprise encores occurred after John Williams’ “Theme from Schindler’s List”; the first was “Fly Me to the Moon” and the second was “Mia and Sebastian’s Theme” written by Justin Hurwitz for the film La La Land.

“Find your own voice,” Liu offered as advice to aspiring musicians. “While it’s important to be versatile, you should find something you are passionate about.”

Cal Lewin, composer of one of the pieces, said, “It was thrilling to see my own composition performed; they did a wonderful job and found expression in the music that surprised me.”

Makiyama’s advice to aspiring musicians was, “Express yourself. We need to know ourselves when we play, and that includes the good and the bad characteristics. Don’t be afraid; all successful people take risks.”

The next concert at Cascadia Art Museum is on August 10 at 6 P.M. The theme is “Musical Portraits”, and it will include music from Chopin, Schumann, Gershwin and Debussy. For more information, visit CascadiaArtMuseum.org.

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