The Philadelphia Debut of Violist Born Lau

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This week the Young Artists Showcase listens in on violist Born Lau’s Philadelphia recital debut, which includes Baroque music, a world premiere and the Rebecca Clarke’s stunning Sonata for Viola and Piano.

Originally from Hong Kong, Lau began playing the violin at age 7 before switching to the viola at 11. He attended high school in West Palm Beach, Fla., before studying at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, and now the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. In 2012, Lau won the Astral Artists National Auditions. Since 1992, Astral Artists has selected and supported exceptional young artists, presenting emerging classical musicians, often in their Philadelphia debut.

This debut recital was recorded live at the Trinity Center for Urban Life this past November. The program centers on Clarke’s monumental Viola Sonata from 1919, which was championed and revived in 1976 on host Bob Sherman’s Listening Room series, performed by then-Young Artists Toby Appel and Emanuel Ax.

For this performance, Lau is joined by pianist Amy Yang, a YAS alum. Together, they perform a world premiere called "Unista," or “Forgetting” by Estonian composer Riho Esko Maimets. The grand finale is the Op. 114 Trio of Johannes Brahms, most often played on clarinet, but brought to life on viola by Lau. For the trio, Yang and Lau are joined by cellist Michael Katz, who was recently featured on YAS as a member of the Lysander Piano Trio.

Program playlist:
Henry Eccles: Sonata in G minor, finale (arr. by Joseph Salmon)
Riho Esko Maimets: "Unista" (“Forgetting”) (world premiere performance)
Rebecca Clarke: Sonata for Viola and Piano
— Born Lau, viola; Amy Yang, piano

Brahms: Trio for Viola, Cello, and Piano, Op. 114
— Born Lau, viola; Michael Katz, cello; Amy Yang, piano