In the lobby of the Weis Center for the Performing Arts on Sept. 21, Narek Arutyunian played the clarinet and was accompanied by Yekwon Sunwoo on the piano. It was their first concert performing together.
By the age of 16, Arutyunian had claimed First Prizes in the International Young Musicians Competition, which was held in Prague, and the Musical Youth of the Planet Competition in Moscow.
“I started playing when I was 11,” Arutyunian said.
Sunwoo has been playing the piano since the age of eight, and he is the winner of various high honors such as the 2013 Sendai International Musical Competition and the 2012 William Kapell International Piano Competition.
Masterful at entertaining an audience, Arutyunian kept his listeners amused by often closing his eyes or looking at the crowd as he played. He wiggled his body to the tune of the songs he executed, most noticeably in the first set he performed, “Hebrew Melodies in the form of a Suite.”
“I think every piece has certain difficulties. There are no easy [pieces] … Every piece of classical music is really, really hard and you have to put so much work into it,” Arutyunian said. “Even the first piece that we played, it sounds simple, but actually it’s a lot of work, and it’s hard to put together and make a package out of it.”
Arutyunian also played a song titled “Always Less, Less, and Less,” during which he would pause every so often to take off a piece of the instrument, first removing the bell of the clarinet, then its lower joint, and finally its upper joint, until only the mouthpiece was left. The end result was a standing ovation, his second of the day.
By the end of the performance, it was clear that the audience appreciated both Arutyunian and Sunwoo’s craft and talent.