With lofty idealism and precocity as his calling card, 19-year-old pianist Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner brought considerable cache and youthful charm. Selected as a Gilmore Young Artist, an honor awarded every two years to “single out the most promising American pianists of the new generation,” Llewellyn prepared a nimble-fingered performance of repertoire familiar to western classical audiences: Bach, Chopin, and Gershwin. Focusing on velocity in Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy (BWV 903) and Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm,” Sanchez-Werner’s stylistic plate offers breadth.
If fate continues to play its present course, Sanchez-Werner’s concert career could map its way from international recital hall to concert hall without pause. But what’s considerable about this young man, who has spent most of his waking time since the age of two) at the piano, is that he already has embarked on a self-appointed mission as a musical ambassador. If his biography is the evidence, Sanchez-Werner is curating his performance schedule not simply for career’s sake but with an eye for purposeful activity, using performance to engage political and social issues. Acknowledging Daniel Barenboim as an influence, Sanchez-Werner has demonstrated his artistic social activism via collaborations with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra in Baghdad and performances in Rwanda to assist local efforts to rebuild after the 1994 genocide.
Sanchez-Werner’s palpable idealism and Shaker’s determination are the lessons from this night of musical documentary brought to our attention through the vision of Carla Dirlikov Canales, whose Canales Project attests to the power of musical and artistic experience as a gateway to creating a better vision for the world.
As an opera singer, writer, cultural commentator and curator Xenia Hanusiak contributes to the stage, the page, and the intervals in between. She holds a PhD in Literature and several degrees in classical music. Her works for the stage include the play Ward B, Un_labelled (Boosey & Hawkes/Young Peoples’ Chorus of New York City); the libretto A thousand doors, a thousand windows (Melbourne International Arts Festival, Singapore Arts Festival, Venice Biennale); Earth Songs (Homart Korean Theatre); and the dramatic monologue The MsTaken Identity (Adelaide Festival of Arts/Australian String Quartet). www.xeniahanusiak.com