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Yumeng Qu | Awake at Dawn | Graduating Student Recital

Monday, April 15, 2024   |   8:00 pm

Free – $20.00
Longy’s performance are free and open to the public, but please register in advance.

All Longy students present full recitals as part of their education and ongoing evolution as artists. They are charged with thinking critically about what stories they tell, whose voices to amplify, and who’s in the room for their event while also considering how to use performance spaces in innovative ways and how to truly engage audiences and create interactive music experiences.

Yumeng Qu is a student of Donald Berman.

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Program Notes

Prelude and Fugue No. 20 in A Minor, BWV 865 (1722) – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Composed as part of the Well-Tempered Clavier, Bach’s Prelude and Fugue No. 20 in A Minor, BWV 865, exemplifies the Baroque era’s complexity and contrapuntal genius. The Well-Tempered Clavier, with its collection of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, was revolutionary. This particular pairing in A Minor stands out for its emotional depth and technical precision. The prelude unfolds with a compelling, improvisatory quality, while the fugue impresses with its intricate, interwoven voices, showcasing Bach’s mastery over the form.

Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23 (1831-1835) – Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849)
Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G Minor is one of the most beloved pieces in the Romantic piano repertoire. Composed over four years, this work marks the first time the term “ballade” was applied to a musical composition, introducing a new, narrative-driven form. The piece is characterized by its dramatic narrative arc, contrasting themes, and virtuosic demands. It begins with a hauntingly beautiful Largo before moving through a series of tempestuous and passionate episodes, culminating in a thrilling coda that challenges even the most skilled pianists.

Ballade (2005) – Kaija Saariaho (1952-2023)
Kaija Saariaho’s “Ballade” is a contemporary reflection on the form, bringing a modern sensibility to the traditional ballade structure. Saariaho, known for her spectral approach to composition and innovative use of electronics, creates a soundscape that is both ethereal and intensely emotional. This piece, while rooted in the piano’s acoustic capabilities, suggests a vast, uncharted musical landscape. Saariaho’s “Ballade” invites the listener to explore the boundaries of sound and silence, texture, and color.

Piano Sonata No. 16 in A Minor, Op. 42, D845 (1825) – Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Schubert’s Piano Sonata No. 16 in A Minor stands as a monumental work within his sonata repertoire. This sonata, characterized by its lyrical melodies and complex structures, reflects the depth of Schubert’s emotional and musical world. The first movement, Moderato, opens with a somber theme that sets the stage for the sonata’s dramatic exploration. The Andante offers a moment of melancholic respite, while the Scherzo injects a playful, albeit fleeting, spirit. The final movement, Rondo, brings the sonata to a lively yet introspective conclusion, highlighting Schubert’s ability to blend beauty and sorrow.


Yumeng Qu‘s musical voyage is a rich tapestry woven with threads of diverse musical traditions, academic rigor, and a profound commitment to the transformative power of music. Born into a family where the arts were not just appreciated but lived, Yumeng was introduced to the world of music through the melodic heritage of her grandparents, both actors and instrumentalists in a local theater troupe. This early immersion in the sounds of Chinese instruments like the Erhu and Suona, alongside Western keyboard instruments such as the accordion and piano, laid the groundwork for a lifelong pursuit of musical excellence.

At the age of four, Yumeng began her formal musical education with the electronic organ, achieving a remarkable Level Ten certificate by the age of eight. Despite this early success, it was the intricate melodies and rich textures of Baroque and Classical music that truly captivated her heart, leading her to the study of the piano. This decision was not just a new musical direction but a calling, guiding her towards a deeper understanding and appreciation of music’s enduring beauty.

Yumeng’s philosophy of music education extends beyond mere technical skill. By integrating lessons from educational psychology and pedagogy, she recognizes the importance of cultivating aesthetic sensibility alongside musical technique. Her practical experience as a piano teacher since 2018 reflects this belief, where she has guided students to numerous accolades in competitions, evidencing her ability to inspire and elevate her pupils’ musical journeys.

A firm believer in the notion that a musician’s worldview is shaped by diverse experiences, Yumeng has actively sought out opportunities to expand her musical and personal horizons. From joining her school’s chorus to mastering the trumpet and accordion, her explorations have enriched her understanding of music as a comprehensive art form. Moreover, her engagement in charity activities and teaching concerts underscores her commitment to using music as a means of community engagement and personal growth.

Looking ahead, Yumeng Qu is poised to make significant contributions to the world of music. Her journey speaks to a deep-seated belief in the power of music to transcend cultural and linguistic barriers, uniting people across divides. With a vision that extends beyond the black and white keys of the piano, Yumeng aspires to insight into the essence of life and art, bringing to the world performances that resonate with vitality, wisdom, and the profound beauty of human connection.


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Monday, April 15, 2024
8:00 pm
Free – $20.00
Event Category:


Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall
Longy School of Music, 27 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
Thanks to our partnership with the Massachusetts Cultural Council and their “Card to Culture” program, Longy School of Music of Bard College can offer free tickets to many of our diverse and innovative performance offerings. See the full list of participating “Card to Culture” organizations offering EBT, WIC, and ConnectorCare discounts.