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Piano prodigy Jonathan Kuo to hold new recital

Dylan Amirio

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, September 27, 2018  /  08:50 am
Piano prodigy Jonathan Kuo to hold new recital

Young maestro: Pianist Jonathan Kuo practices ahead of his next recital at the Aula Simfonia Jakarta hall in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta. (Courtesy of RHDProd/Yat/-)

Indonesia is not short of young musical talent, particularly those who are maestros in piano.

In the classical realm, one name has quietly but surely made its way up the ladder of success and will hold a recital in order to celebrate what could probably be his most significant title to date.

Dubbed as a Young Steinway Artist by United States piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons Piano, Jonathan Kuo has made quite a name for himself at the tender age of 16.

A classical piano virtuoso even before he was 10 years old, his skills and achievements have allowed him to participate in numerous competitions in Indonesia and abroad, some of which he won.

His repertoire mainly consists of pieces by such composers as Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, Johann Sebastian Bach and Sergei Prokofiev. All of these composers are considered some of the most technical musicians in history, and to master their pieces requires a great amount of skill and focus, of which Jonathan has both.

Now the young maestro is gearing up to hold his next recital at the Aula Simfonia Jakarta hall in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, on Oct. 7, where he will perform alongside the Jakarta Sinfonietta.

This event comes as a sort of celebration following his Young Steinway Artist title bestowed last year. He is the first Indonesian who has not pursued or undergone formal conservatorium training to be bestowed the title and shares the honor with big-name pianists such as Lang Lang and Diana Krall.

Even at his level, the young pianist admits that his nerves will tend to get the best of him as he faces a rather challenging recital ahead, tackling technical pieces from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky that require absolute perfection in its execution.

“I’m nervous about the concert, because the pieces I am going to play are not easy ones. There is one piece that is 40 minutes long, for example,” he said when asked about his feelings and preparations.

“Also, when playing with an orchestra, I can’t mess up, because it will mean affecting the performances of everyone in that orchestra. If anybody messes up, the recovery has to be seamless,” he adds.  

But even as he deals with the pressure, Jakarta Sinfonietta co-head Iswargia R. Sudarno, who will be leading the orchestra alongside Avip Priatna, voices his confidence towards Jonathan as he will not only pull off a great performance, but also will serve as an inspiration to young Indonesian pianists.

“He is one of the most proficient young pianists in Indonesia and judging by his potential, he will definitely carry the country’s name to the world,” said Iswargia, who is also Jonathan’s piano mentor.