NEW YORK, NY; December 15, 2016—For well over a decade Riva and I have attended half a dozen Young Concert Artists concerts annually. Winners of the YCA competitions, 16-24, are presented in their NYC recital debuts, typically at Merkin or Zankel Halls.
All of these musicians have been supremely talented, but every so often attentiveness morphs to a point where you can feel everyone in the hall holding their breath for the evening, aware that they are witnessing a particularly special emerging talent. Israeli pianist Ran Dank, in 2009, had that effect. Bulgarian violinist Bella Hristova a year later did the same, and we’ve since heard each of them in other settings performing with sensitivity and poise and great, great musicality.
As of Tuesday night, add Israeli-born/New York-based pianist Tomer Gewirtzman to that heady list. In a program of Couperin, Liszt, Corigliano, and Schumann, this strikingly tall young man with incredibly fine, long fingers (even from the balcony it was clear his fingers must be three times the length of mine) seemed to pet, stroke and caress the keys as much as play them.
There was great strength expended on the Liszt, for instance, but the tender passages were indeed that. And in the Schumann that tenderness was breathtaking. Gewirtzman, however, invokes the sounds of silence, too, in pauses and breaks, and on this night the audience responded in kind, exhaling and applauding only after the most proper of intervals.