It was 11 days of cultural diplomacy and musical performances, as American pianist Pauline Yang toured Nigerian cities, bringing guests the best in classical music.
Starting in Abuja, Yang ended up in Lagos, where she served up a great recipe of classical music that left audiences wanting more. The Lagos performance, held in partnership with the US Mission to Nigeria, at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, saw US Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth-Leonard in a moving rendition of the Nigerian anthem with the flute.
The envoy then teams up with Yang for a Faure Sicilienne duet of Pelléas and Mélisandre.
Yang’s selection of pieces included a delightful mix of composers, styles and eras of piano literature with works by Bach, Scarlatti, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Schumann, Liszt and Bolcom.
Speaking to The Guardian after her scintillating performance, Yang said: “It was a huge honor and a joy to be here. It’s my first time to West Africa and I’m doing well. well.I was so energized by the Nigerians, their energy and their joy.I am also in love with the culture and the people.
Admitting that she was overwhelmed by the audience reaction to her performance, Yang said she was aware that classical music was not that popular in Nigeria and she was unsure how it would be received.
“But the enthusiastic and warm response from the public made my heart glad and I hope I have played a small part in introducing classical music to those who may not have heard it before. I hope I can come back to Nigeria in the near future as I would like to do more,” she said.
Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the US Consulate in Lagos, Jennifer Foltz, who represented the Ambassador, said that as part of their cultural programming, they often bring different American artists to Nigeria to speak to audiences. different and for different purposes.
Foltz said Yang meets with music students across the country and talks about the importance of music education as well as a series of concerts open to the general public.
“I believe that Nigerians enjoy different types of music and it’s great to introduce something different from what people normally hear, but the aim is to encourage young people on the importance of pursuing their passions, l music education and education as a whole. Yang is in Nigeria on an 11-day tour which sees her perform and lead workshops in Abuja, Lagos and Ibadan.
The classical pianist won her first international competition at the age of seven and has a master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Southern California (USC) and a degree in international relations from the Fletcher School. of Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University.