When Benjamin Grosvenor won the keyboard award at the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2004, he was all of 11 years old. Grosvenor has gone on to give recitals and concerto appearances, and he had the distinction of opening the Proms in London last summer. Local listeners had their chance to hear him Saturday afternoon, when he became one of the youngest performers on Washington Performing Arts Society’s Hayes Piano Series, at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.
It was a prodigious debut, marked in equal parts by Grosvenor’s outstanding technical accomplishment and his interpretive depth. One could quibble about his approach, but he had strong ideas and he stuck to them. Bach’s Fourth Partita was exhilarating in the fast movements, especially the rushed contrapuntal section of the overture and a precise, even fussy gigue. The allemande oozed along, with a heavy foot on the pedal and little wisps of pastel in the fast-note decoration, while the sarabande did not seem as slow.