By Lawrence Budmen

Chu-Fang Huang, a pianistic powerhouse, delivered a recital that encompassed the realm of the extraordinary to conclude the season of Sunday Afternoons of Music on May 20. From the moment she took the stage of the Gusman Concert Hall at the University of Miamiís Frost School of Music, this remarkable musician exhibited the kind of talent that comes along all too rarely.

First prize winner of the 2005 Cleveland International Piano Competition, Chu-Fang Huang brought precise articulation and stellar technique to three Scarlatti sonatas. Her lively, tautly projected version of the G Major Sonata served as prelude to an elegan,t Chopinesque deconstruction of the elusive F minor Sonata. She turned the rippling flurry of notes in the E Major Sonata into a keyboard ballet of alluring charm.

This gifted artist unleashed the full palette of coloration and subtlety in Schumannís fiendish Fantasy in C Major. Her ultra-passionate rendition was both intense and deeply personal. She found new levels of emotion and romantic ardor in every bar. In the march like second movement, brilliant cascades of octaves made the Steinway grand sound like a full orchestra. She imbued the final Consolation with a spiritual dimension. Here was playing of surpassing beauty and breathtaking agility and scope.

In three Debussy Preludes, the pianist ran the gamut from the witty insouciance of General Levine, Eccentric to the ethereal colors of Voiles-modere and the exotic ethos of Les collines díAnacapri. Ballade, a 2004 piece by Young Concert Artistsí composer-in-residence Benjamin C.S. Boyle, was a New Age rumination of minor stature but Chu-Fang Huang was certainly a persuasive advocate. 

Ravelís La Valse was a blockbuster conclusion. The transparency of this pianistís performance was astonishing. Rarely does one hear every tone so clearly articulated yet with such supple enchantment, aristocratic refinement, and idiomatic affinity for the French ťlan and misty Impressionistic gauze that imbue this disturbing score. The final vaulting octaves were rendered with power and headlong fervor.

Chu-Fang Huang transcends the technically adept performances of many competition winners. She is a musician of the most special variety. Her future career can only bring more wondrous musical encounters. 

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