Archive for May, 2010

Lincoln Center dress rehearsal

Within a twenty-four hour window on May 8th and 9th, David and Wu Han’s performing careers merged with both the Schubert trio ensemble (with Philip Setzer) and the Emerson Quartet, in performances at Duke University and on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series at Alice Tully Hall.

in David’s words…

Saturday evening’s concert for the Chamber Arts Society of Durham marked our final performance this season of the two Schubert piano trios with Philip Setzer. It was an unforgettable journey during which we never tired of rehearsing and re-examining the myriad of musical details whose intelligent execution, or neglect, can result in either a magical or mundane performance.

The trio at the University of Richmond

Beginning in last November, the Schubert Trio season took us to an astonishing selection of chamber music venues across the United States.  We are thrilled and honored that so many had faith in our basically unknown ensemble to have invited us, and I’d like to share their names with you here to give you a sense of what we experienced:  South Mountain Concerts, Pittsfield, Mass; Stony Brook University; Asheville, North Carolina; Chamber Music Columbus; University Musical Society, Ann Arbor; University of Chicago; University of Richmond; Celebrity Series Boston; Spivey Hall, Atlanta; Society of the Four Arts, West Palm Beach; Savannah Music Festival; Cleveland Chamber Music Society; Chamber Music Northwest; Orange County Performing Arts Center; Coleman Chamber Music Association, Pasadena.

Before the blizzard (and the concert) in Asheville

Wu Han and I cannot thank Phil enough for the tireless devotion, the enormous artistry, and the selfless good will he has contributed to this project, beginning with the strenuous recording sessions of the Schuberts for ArtistLed more than two years ago.  We now cannot imagine hearing these works without the presence of his magical sound and his deep sensitivity to the music.

Post-performance champagne at Tully Hall

Sadly, family circumstances prevented our close colleague, pianist Jeffrey Kahane, from joining us on Sunday afternoon to inaugurate the Emerson’s Czech series at Lincoln Center.  Fortunately, Wu Han, who has played with us many times (including the Schumann Quintet at the Hartt School, our first concert together) was able to step in, to the relief of the group and to Lincoln Center.  She helped us close the program with the ever-beloved Dvorak Quintet, which was preceded on the first half by a selection of Dvorak’s Cypresses, the Op. 51 Quartet, and Janacek’s 1st Quartet. The series includes two more concerts this month.

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In April, artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, including Wu Han, traveled to Korea for the second annual residency initiative at the LG Chamber Music School, a series of intensive training workshops for highly gifted young musicians sponsored by the LG Corporation. The objective of the program is to enhance the quality of chamber music performance in Korea, and to increase awareness of chamber music as a powerfully communicative art form. Joined by Wu Han were violinist Ani Kavafian, violist Paul Neubauer, and cellist Andrés Díaz.

in Wu Han’s words…

Last month, my colleagues and I spent over two weeks in the Far East on behalf of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Ani Kavafian, Paul Neubauer, Andrés Díaz, and Wu Han doing some sightseeing

The first stop was Seoul, where the second annual LG Chamber Music School was taking place.

Founded through the generous support of the LG Corporation, the school is an immensely inspiring project for many reasons. The first is the importance of celebrating chamber music in the Far East, where the art form is still not universally appreciated and valued, especially within the education system. Chamber music training is essential to building the complete musician, because to be a good chamber musician, you need to understand the full score, not just your solo parts. You need to have the skills to play a melody as beautifully as a solo, and play accompaniments as imaginatively and supportively as possible. You need to make constructive suggestions and be an inspiring force as a leader, as well as being part of a team.

The LG Chamber Music School is the first of its kind that I’m aware of in the Far East. It is extraordinarily exciting to witness the vast improvements that the students have already made from the first year to the second. Suddenly, they are studying the score rigorously, they know how to give a wonderful cue, to look at each other, and where in the phrase to build to the same climax together. We must continue to feed their hunger for chamber music, and in 10 years, I’m sure that we will see a significant impact in Korea’s culture and in the musicians’ lives. I only wish there were more people like the team in Korea, and more corporations like LG who would devote their energy and resources into improving the cultural life of their society, and I hope our work with this school will resonate with the rest of the musical community there. It’s worth the entire trip just to see the bright shining eyes of the young students, to see the tearful farewells, and to witness the two incredibly successful concerts that happened in the LG Center.

Presenter, Jeehyun Kim, and CMS musician Andrés Díaz, enjoy a special plum wine

On our way back to the United States, we stopped at the ms Amsterdam, a Holland American Cruise Ship, to play a concert in Yokohama, Japan.

The stop took us less than 24 hours, and even this short time was worth it to hear my colleagues Ani and Paul play the virtuosic violin and viola repertoire and see the standing ovation from the audience.

The boat did not sail, and I was secretly happy, because I was able to avoid learning what seasickness is about. I guess I’ll find out on my Greece cruise in June with the Chamber Music Society!

One of the student groups in rehearsal.

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