Wednesday Noon Hours: Patricia Hoy mixes contemporary with classical

On March 16, at 12 p.m. at the Chan Centre's Chan Shun Concert Hall, Dr. Patricia Hoy walked on the colourfully-lit stage with a confident stride. According to the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts website, the Wednesday Noon Hours features “world class musicians,” and Hoy definitely lives up to the hype. She is a UBC faculty member who has been performing from a young age around Canada and the US (and recently has been invited to Asia).

In her performance, she brought together the contemporary with the classical by playing Chatman, Chopin and Schumann. Chatman is one of Canada’s most frequently-performed composers — and also the professor and head of composition at UBC school of Music — while Chopin and Schumann are widely known as composers from the Romantic era.

After a short speech, Hoy promptly began with songs by Chatman, from Four Mazurkas, Op. 24 including "Maze," "Bash" and "Evolution," consisting of a cacophony of keys. Hoy’s performance was filled with gusto, coordinated with the pedal at key intervals, and playing rapidly so that the notes seemed to blend into one. The audience, consisting of both students and adults dispersed around the theatre, listened anxiously.

In the second quarter of the event, Hoy played Chopin’s Mazurkas Op. 24, drawing the audience to a nostalgic melody from the Romantic era as she wrung emotion into the complex keys. A baby cried around this time in the performance, but she went on with focus, commanding the room with her presence while the room replied with its attention.

The third quarter of the one-hour performance highlighted Hoy’s years of effort for mastery of the piano. She played Schumann’s Carnaval Op. 9 — a work of 21 short pieces representing, ironically, a masked festival at Carnival before the fasting season of Lent. As the word ‘masked’ entails, Schumann’s work contains musical cryptographs involving combinations of four notes, such as A, Eb, C and B signifying A-Es-C-H in German, for the German town of Asch where Schumann’s fiancée was born, and the notes Ab, C and B signifying As-C-H in German for Ash Wednesday.

Hoy was not merely playing the piano with her fingers, she was playing with her entire being, lifting her head along with the staccato beats and leaning forwards as if she were willing the keys to play her a song. To the end, Hoy displayed a climactic performance, closing with a powerful swoop of her hand.