New England Conservatory students Pualina Lim and Cynthia Tseng perform for Music on Norway Pond

Pianists Pualina Lim (left) and Cynthia Tseng speak ahead of their performance at Music on Norway Pond in Hancock on Sunday

Pianists Pualina Lim (left) and Cynthia Tseng speak ahead of their performance at Music on Norway Pond in Hancock on Sunday —PHOTO BY LENA FISHER

Pianists Cynthia Tseng (left) and Pualina Lim perform at Music on Norway Pond in Hancock on Sunday

Pianists Cynthia Tseng (left) and Pualina Lim perform at Music on Norway Pond in Hancock on Sunday —PHOTO BY LENA FISHER

Pianists Cynthia Tseng (left) and Pualina Lim (right) perform piano four-hand compositions.

Pianists Cynthia Tseng (left) and Pualina Lim (right) perform piano four-hand compositions. PHOTO BY LENA FISHER

By LENA FISHER

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 01-31-2024 9:00 AM

Modified: 02-06-2024 1:26 PM


Downtown Hancock was the site of a classical music concert Sunday, when the latest in the Music on Norway Pond series was held at the town’s First Congregational Church.

New England Conservatory students Pualina Lim and Cynthia Tseng performed an hour-long selection of piano four-hand compositions, including pieces by Tchaikovsky and Ravel. Piano four-hand, or “a quattro mani,” is a type of duet in which two musicians simultaneously play the same piano.

Lim has performed as a piano soloist with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra. Tseng, a doctoral candidate at NEC, has played with the Summer Academy of the Mozart University in Salzburg, Collaborative Piano Institute in Louisiana and Bowdoin Music Festival in Maine.

The duo met through the Community Performance and Partnership program at NEC, which organizes shows by conservatory students for schools, libraries, senior care facilities and other such community centers. This was their first concert together. 

“We started practicing for this recital months ago,” says Lim, 24.

Lim has been at NEC for two years and is pursuing a graduate diploma. She hopes to continue performing after graduation, and to teach. 

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“It was kind of hard to practice our parts alone,” added Tseng, 28.

Originally from Taiwan, Tseng was drawn to NEC due to its reputation in the music world. 

Both musicians agreed that putting on a piano four-hands recital posed unique challenges, compounded by the fact that here are no professors at the school who specialize in the technique

The concert was organized in collaboration between NEC and Music on Norway Pond, an annual series of concerts held in Hancock. Founded in 2008 by conductor Joanna Hill Simpson, Music on Norway Pond strives to make high-caliber music accessible to the residents of the Monadnock region by keeping ticket prices low and limiting the concerts to one hour. 

“We knew we loved this region because it was so secret and so special,” said Simson. 

Originally from the greater Boston area, Simpson moved to Hancock with her husband in 2006.

“I had a children’s chorus that was already 16 years going. Really the main part of my whole professional life was that chorus, and I was starting to get ready to move on,” she said. 

The move, she said, “wasn’t for retiring, it was for changing. Emptying your glass and seeing what happens, and what you fill it up with next.” 

The next concert in the series is a performance of Mozart’s “Requiem” and Eric Whitacre’s “Five Hebrew Love Songs” on Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on the Music on Norway Pond website, musiconnorwaypond.org.