Last night, floating across the stage like a 19th century apparition, our beloved Gaia Daniel, 11 years old, presented one of the most extraordinary concerto debuts in memory. As a result of winning First Place in the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum (MMTF) Mozart Concerto Competition - open to all pre-college pianists - Gaia performed the 1st movement of the magnificent Concerto in C minor, K. 491. She played to a packed house at Hamline University's Sundin Music Hall with the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra.
But Gaia is no apparition. She is for real. From her very first tone - a high G with resonant, bell-like qualities - Gaia took over the narrative from the orchestral exposition. In her young hands, this first note established the point of reference for the entire structure of the movement. Everything fell into place in beautiful proportion dictated by this single tone. This is an extraordinary achievement for any artist - let alone an 11-year-old. Gaia's performance had everything. Her exquisite tone carried effortlessly to the furthest reaches of the hall. Her passagework soared in a singing, operatic style, in which every note was part of a melodic string of pearls. It was a deeply emotional, and utterly convincing rendering of a tragic masterpiece. She led the listener on an incredibly poetic and powerful journey in a grand and romantic manner. Gaia is all music. Her stage presence is completely natural with all attention drawn to the music and not to herself.
She fulfilled in the most natural way our teacher's maxim that "If you want to serve oneself and others - serve the music first." Gaia is a golden talent. She is a golden girl. The hall erupted in a volcanic explosion.