Faculty Artist Series: Xiao Hu Performs Piano Recital


Associate Professor of Music Xiao Hu performed in the Noble Recital Hall as a part of the Faculty Artist Series on October 1. Photo courtesy of www2.luther.edu.

On Saturday, October 1, the Luther music department welcomed Associate Professor of Music Xiao Hu to Noble Recital Hall as part of the Faculty Artist Series. Accompanying Hu

were Associate Professors of Music Kacy Clopton and Joseph Kromholz, playing cello and violin respectively.


Hu has taught at Luther since 2002. She has traveled to play internationally as well as at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Hu also plays alongside her husband, Professor of Music Du Huang, in their group known as the “Unison Piano Duo”. The two began their early training in piano when they were children at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China.


Hu began the concert by playing Ernst Von Dohnanyi’s “Rhapsody Op. 11, No. 2”, a piece in F-sharp minor, setting the mood of a program centered around Romantic and Contemporary era music. Before moving on to Robert Schumann’s “Humoresque, Op. 20”, Hu informed the audience of the piece’s origins and noted its complexity.


“It is not the easiest piece to follow,” Hu said. “In fact, Clara [Schumann, who wrote the piece] refrained from performing the Humoresque in public for a long time, fearing it was too inaccessible to the audience, but I have full confidence in my Decorah audience that is so bold that I will share it.”


The complexity of “Humoresque, Op. 20” did not take away the interest of some audience members, who found the piece engaging. Benjamin Gunsch (‘23) commented on the piece’s impressiveness. 


“The Humoresque was very impressive to me not being a pianist,” Gunsch said. “I thought it was very musically composed and presented. I enjoyed it very much.” 


Hu continued the concert by playing Fasil Say’s “Black Earth (Kara Toprak)”. This piece, unlike the others, displayed how the sound of a piano can be manipulated in nontraditional ways. Hu was seen stretching her hand inside the piano to create a melody unlike others on the program. 


To conclude the concert, Clopton and Kromholz joined Hu on the center of the stage to perform Johannes Brahms’ “Piano Trio No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 101”. As they played, all three musicians swayed with the music. The audience gave them a standing ovation as the final notes sounded across the recital hall. Mattie Snyder (‘24) expressed excitement after the performance as she described her favorite pieces. 


“The Black Earth piece was so cool,” Snyder said. “That was probably my favorite. Also the Brahms trio. I’m in music history right now, and we’re getting ready to talk about Brahms. It was super fun to see that.” 


The Faculty Artist Series will continue on October 22, with the Luther College Piano Quartet. The performance will be held in the Noble Recital Hall at 2:00 p.m.