Like grandfather, like grandson.
Even without forewarning, you might have guessed that the tall, broad-shouldered young cellist with the rangy carriage, making his local debut with the Concordia Orchestra in Japan America Theatre Saturday night, belonged in the Piatigorsky lineage.
He was Evan Drachman, 22-year-old grandson of the late, great cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. Drachman is a pupil of such star Piatigorsky pupils as Stephen Kates and Laurence Lesser, and is currently enrolled in the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Fittingly, the conductor of the Concordia Orchestra, Masatoshi Mitsumoto, was also a Piatigorsky pupil.
While Drachman cannot yet quite be acclaimed as another Piatigorsky, he still does honor to his ancestry. It took him time to limber up and impart some warmth and color to his rather small tone. But once at ease, he played Saint-Saens’ A-minor Concerto fluently, accurately, with good intonation and considerable sensitivity and expressive nuance. He seems to be headed in the right direction.
The status of the Concordia Orchestra was not made clear in the program. One would gather from its performance that the first-desk players are well-equipped professionals. The ensemble is not highly polished, but it played honestly and acceptably.
Weber’s “Freischuetz” Overture was a bit too much for the 44 players, but the winds played agreeably in Richard Strauss’ Serenade for 13 Instruments. Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony was well within the group’s powers and, like other works represented, did credit to Mitsumoto’s gentle, musically conventional conducting.