The remarkable KaJeng Wong at St Mary’s baring his sublime Oriental Slavic Soul

Tuesday 23 May 3.00 pm

A ravishing kaleidoscope of sounds and as Dr Mather said of the 500 pianists that have played on this piano none has been able to achieve the range of sounds that we heard today from a pianist that has a mastery of the piano that I have only ever heard from Volodos.The young Volodos who I heard in Rome many years ago and thought that this was the greatest pianist alive or dead.A programme with a range of sounds and a series of encores that evoked the Golden era of piano playing of the likes of Rachmaninov,Godowsky,Rosenthal and indeed Horowitz.Volodos has since refined his playing excluding the exhibitionism of a showman of breathtaking transcriptions and is dedicated to great original works for the keyboard.He leaves his transcriptions to be played by younger virtuosi who have still to win their laurels.His playing may not be as exciting as in his youth but the refined beauty of sound and above all how he produces the sound is one of the wonders of our age.The hand movements of Volodos are just as beautiful as Nureyev or Fonteyn’s movements were on stage.The actual shape of his hands is the same shape as the music he can conjure out of the piano.Today with this rather mysterious young man flown in especially from Hong Kong I was reminded of the young Volodos .Not of the much missed lollipops but because of the drive and passion of the young Volodos allied to his kaleidoscope of sounds.

I had heard KJ in Cremona Music Festival where he not only played magnificently on a Petrof piano but also explained his choice of Rachmaninov Preludes and how they were related to each other.He was in Cremona with his mentor Julia Mustonen with whom he was working in Sweden.Aristo Sham from the same Ingesund Piano Centre I had heard in the next room playing wonderfully on a Fazioli piano.But it was KJ that astonished me for his originality and almost demonic appearance at the keyboard. He invited me to hear his Artist’s Diploma recital a few days later in London.Just the adjudicators and a few friends at ten in the morning to listen to one of the most remarkable performances of the Hammerklavier that I have ever heard. Today in Perivale for the second time we were treated to ‘Oriental Slavic Soul ‘ recital to compliment his previous ‘God,Pray,Love’ recital

The very first notes were of extreme delicacy with a seductive rubato and magical sounds created by an exquisite sense of balance – it was obvious that this was the beguiling seductive mastery of a true poetic soul
Following immediately on the tail of the Valse Sentimentale with aching nostalgia and sounds the spoke so much louder than words.There were subtle orchestral sounds of delicacy with the wondrous entry of the tenor voice and beseeching bells heard in the distance.An aristocratic sense of timeless beauty immediately changing to a frenzied dance of driving passion and breathtaking virtuosity as he shot streams of scintillating sounds across the keyboard into the heights of the piano.It was a truly epic performance of Hollywoodian grandeur and majesty .Another sudden change to a legato melodic line and pizzicato accompaniment was most unexpected and extremely moving.A dramatic Beethovenian ending heralded the appearance of the G sharp minor Prelude op 32- which must have replaced the advertise Etude Tableau.
The G sharp minor Prelude op 32 was the ideal bridge for the generation gap between Tchaikowsky and Rachmaninov.A gentle rustling of sounds with a melodic line of wondrous luminosity and breadth and an amazing clarity as the tenor voice was answered by the soprano.The music becoming ever more insistent but dying away to bells in the far distance.The G major Prelude too with its beautiful simple melody floating on a breeze of gently undulating sounds.A trill that was a vibration of sounds miraculously changing colour as the melodic line returned with such nostalgic tenderness.The two Moments musicaux op 16 n.4 and 6 were a whirlwind of passionate sounds played with extraordinary dynamic energy.N 4 ,a swirling bass on which passionate exultations became ever more insistent.Sumptuous full sounds never hard as the tension grew ever more fervent with almost unbearable passion.The opening bass chord of the 6th was terrifying as it opened up this magic Pandora’s box of exulted sounds rarely if ever experienced by this instrument.It contrasted with the absolute stillness of the B minor Prelude that Rachmaninov told his friend Moiseiwitch was meant as ‘The return’.The simple luminosity of the bare melodic notes and the deep sighing bass was extraordinarily evocative and expressive.The aristocratic time he took to build up the texture to a sumptuous climax only to dissolve into bird like sounds that flew all over the keyboard was of a true mature master.There were harp like streams of sounds that belied the fact that the piano is made of hammers that hit strings.The final chords like rays of light through distant clouds,brought to a close this miniature tone poem so poetically painted by a true artist.
Subtle beauty of the melodic line as it passed from the tenor to the soprano register sustained by the sumptuous bass that opened up even more colours from this jewel box of ravishing sounds.
Drifting in on the final vibrations of Tchaikowsky dissolving into a luminosity of knotty twine with a sense of desolation and mystery.The serenity of the fugue was played with absolute purity as the notes were allowed to unfold with a poignancy as it built in intensity.The final major chord had a magic auror to it of true revelation .
A transcendental control of sound gave remarkable shape to a Prelude of sublime beauty and grandeur.The Nocturne with a more robust sound was played with a freedom and orchestral sense of colour.What a showman KJ is,too,as the right hand finally joined the left on the final chord.
Aristocratic grandeur brought this final Prelude of Rachmaninov to a culmination of sounds of unbearable intensity .As the hands raced over the entire keyboard the majestic melodic line was etched with demonic clarity and conviction.
An encore of Mozart with the slow movement of the Sonata K.332 that was just the purity and simplicity needed to clear the sultry perfumed air.I have never heard it played more beautifully than today from this young poet’s blessed hands.
He promised to return with Mozart as he rushed for the door to catch his last bus home to Hong Kong.It will surely be solicited at his earliest convenience by the marvellous team that surround Dr Mather in this temple dedicated to helping young artists reach the public their talent and dedication deserve.Pity there was no time to include Agosti’s extraordinary 1928 transcription of the Firebird – I am sure it is sensational as is everything this young man does with his Midas touch and keyboard mastery.


Praised for his originality and exceptional musicianship, KaJeng Wong was the winner at the Alaska International Piano E-Competition 2018, and was recently awarded Third Prize at the Maria Canals International Piano Competition 2019. Previously, KaJeng achieved success at Los Angeles IPC and Young Concert Artist Audition in New York. He received a commendation by the Hong Kong government and has been selected to represent Hong Kong at multiple international platforms, performing at Esplanade in Singapore, Shanghai Concert Hall, Palau de la Musica Catalana and participated in festivals such as PianoTexas, Verbier Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival. The featured documentary about his growth, “KJ: Music & Life”, was awarded Best Documentary at the Golden Horse Awards. Besides his activities as a performer, he is involved in collaborative projects involving modern dance and theatres. Recently serving as Artist-in-residence at Zuni Icosahedron, they forged an ongoing relationship experimenting various productions crossing classical music. He also writes prolifically about music and was featured at the Pianist Magazine. Lately he hosted several TV/online programs promoting music in Asia. In the past 4 years, he has also curated the annual Music Lab Festival. After studies with Nancy Loo and Gabriel Kwok in Hong Kong, KaJeng further his training under Prof. Emile Naoumoff at the Indiana University. He is currently pursuing Artistic Diploma at Guildhall School of Music & Drama under Prof. Ronan O’Hora, and with Prof. Julia Mustonen-Dahlkvist at the Ingesund School of Music.


Inserisci i tuoi dati qui sotto o clicca su un'icona per effettuare l'accesso:

Logo di

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Chiudi sessione /  Modifica )

Foto di Facebook

Stai commentando usando il tuo account Facebook. Chiudi sessione /  Modifica )

Connessione a %s...