Concert Review: Tao’s St. Louis Symphony debut comes early

Posted on: February 4, 2013

In Sunday’s (2/3) Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri), Sarah Bryan Miller writes, “Remember the name Conrad Tao. You’re going to be hearing a lot about him. Tao, who was to make his St. Louis Symphony Orchestra debut next season, stepped in to play Sergei Prokofiev’s tricky Piano Concerto No. 3 with the SLSO on less than three days’ notice, when an ailing Markus Groh had to cancel. Only 18, and a violinist and composer as well as a pianist, Tao has been featured on ‘From the Top’ in all three capacities, been an eight-time winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award and received an Avery Fisher Career Grant, among other things. The Prokofiev is a big, sweeping score that requires wit on the part of its interpreter while making intense technical demands. Tao flung it all off with insouciant ease and apparent enjoyment, in a real triumph that was fully supported and shared by the conductor and orchestra, in a score that’s a challenge for everyone. … The Prokofiev was bracketed with two works by Jean Sibelius, the tone poem ‘Finlandia’ and, for the second half, the Symphony No. 5 in E-flat major. … Sibelius writes powerful music for all the winds, and the SLSO’s players nailed every note throughout the evening.”

Posted February 4, 2013