California, Christian Baldini, Concerto, Experimental, Judy Kang, Korea, Uncategorized, violin

Judy Kang in Conversation with Christian Baldini

After a long pandemic pause, the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra will finally return to Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center in Davis California on October 15, 2021. Our opening program will be a short noon concert featuring a new work by Iranian composer Aida Shirazi, as well as Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with the extraordinary Judy Kang. I had the pleasure of asking Judy some questions, and below are her very thoughtful answers:

Christian Baldini: Judy, welcome, I am so excited to be performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto with you as our wonderful soloist. You and I have known each other virtually for a long time, we have connected, interviewed, even performed remotely, but this is our first “in person” performance. Are you excited about this? What are some of the things you look forward to the most?

Judy Kang: Thanks so much for inviting me to perform this masterpiece. I’m so excited about it and working/meeting in person with you as well!
I look forward to getting back to the stage after the long “break”, getting back into the groove and having the privilege to play one of my all time favourites, I’m very grateful.
It’s exciting to play for a live audience again, “getting lost” and being in the moment, letting go, and embracing the unknown. The exchange of energy in the room and inspiration  pulled from the audience will be magical and something I realize that I miss deeply. One thing during the pandemic that really struck me was the realization and challenge to feel those things alone in a room recording in front of a camera even if there is an audience on the other side. The collaborations werent the same either though absolutely grateful it was possible to have. It will be wonderful to collaborate in the same room!

CB: What are some of the aspects of the Sibelius Violin Concerto that you like the most? What is so special about it in your view? What would you recommend to people who don’t know the piece, what should they listen for?

JK: I love the overall vibe of the work; the emotion that it provokes and displays. I love how it’s orchestrated and the way it’s structured. The virtuosity and passion the composer has allowed for both the soloist and orchestra. It’s so fun to play. What I find special about this work is that it has such richness and depth to it but it really penetrates to our emotion which doesnt necessarily require a type of intellectual understanding. The piece has a lot of tension underneath the surface. It’s cool and icy but hot and intense below. Listen for the way it builds to climax and how it moves away from the tension to warmer and more passionate places.
Listen to how the rhythm of the orchestra in the last movement is foundational to keeping up a consistency of excitement and intensity and how the violin plays and reacts to it and also in a way is improvisatory in essence over that rhythmic base. Let the music take you to where ever your mind and spirit wants.

CB: Tell me about your training as a violinist. You have been mentored by some of the foremost violinists of our time, and you’ve also developed a remarkable career as a soloist. What are some aspects of different “schools” of violin playing that you have incorporated and/or rejected? How did it all come into place for you?

JK: I was mostly exposed to a lot of the old Russian school of playing. I had very interesting training growing up. My professors from childhood gave me much freedom to express and allowed me to express myself. I felt free to do so. It felt very natural and organic. My first professor when I was at The Curtis Institute was extremely strict in contrast and I felt for the first time a loss of that freedom. The silver lining is that I adapted to learning things very quickly.

CB: You have also played the violin with Lady Gaga all over the world. You are allegedly the only living musician (according to the New York Times) to have played under both Pierre Boulez and Lady Gaga. How does this type of flexibility, desire and willingness to participate in crossover classical/pop music performances come into being?

JK: I’ve always felt a sense of fun and creativity in making up melodies as a kid. Instead of playing scales I would make up random tunes or would imitate a song or piece I heard that I wanted to learn eventually. I grew up listening to pop and top40. It was a type of therapeutic “easy” listening for me. My love for improv and collaborations opened opportunities to jam and work with all types of artists. I never thought or had planned to make a “career” outside of classical to be honest. It was more so an outlet for me to be spontaneous, and for self creativity and expression. Again, a form of therapy perhaps.

CB: If you had to name four or five of your favorite violinists (from any era), who would they be?

JK: I grew up listening to Heifetz Milstein Elman  Rabin Kreisler… they were and are a huge influence.

CB: Are there any dream/impossible performances you’d like to be a part of? (this could be playing in a string quartet with Mozart, or in a jazz combo with Miles Davis)

JK: any of the above mentioned violinists, Jacqueline dupre, Glenn Gould, Eddie hazel, Paganini, Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Mozart, Schostakovich, Debussy, Gershwin, Kurt Cobain, Bob Marley, Elliott Smith, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Thom Yorke, Sarah Mclachlan.

CB: If you had an unlimited budget to put together a summer festival, what would you do? You could invite artists, orchestras, chamber music groups, dancers, from all over the world. A whole month of events all curated by you. What would this look like?

Jk: the possibilities are endless. When you get artists together it becomes a conglomerate of unknown possibilities. And without a budget, it’s about utilizing the means to re-create and build from authenticity and from what’s within. Somehow I feel that the lack of creates more a sense of raw creativity and I find beauty in it. It’s about balancing the two things I suppose. I would love an environment that allows for freedom without rules within boundaries. For collaborations and a space to freely express and another space that challenges one another to expand and go to the unknown places without judgement or a sense of pressure. An atmosphere where we are allowed and inspired to discover and embrace the deep parts of ourselves and where vulnerability is a warm and welcoming thing. A space to be unsafe. It would be a world, if you will, for us, as individuals, creators, and a community via relationships, to create and utilize art as a means of understanding ourselves, one another, allowing growth and ultimately, healing.

Judy Kang, courtesy photo

The New York Times hailed, “Judy Kang, a Canadian violinist and most likely the only musician to have worked with both Pierre Boulez and Lady Gaga, was featured in Brahms’s Violin Concerto. Ms. Kang, who drew whoops from the audience before playing a single note, offered a lean, focused sound, pinpoint intonation and expressively molded phrasing. Every line seemed to mean something personal in what amounted to an amorous serenade.” 

Judy Kang is not your quintessential artist. She has established herself internationally as a solo violinist and chamber musician in the classical world as well as featured guest artist and prominent collaborator in the world of pop, indie, jazz, and hip hop. A multi faceted artist evolving outside of her formal classical training, Judy has set herself apart from others through her work as a singer/songwriter, producer, composer, and arranger. Born a rebel to tradition, rules, and conformity, she discovered an artistic freedom and a sense of individuality through creation and improv at about the age of 7. Judy continues to defy and break the constraints of boundaries improvising, jamming, co-writing, producing, and performing with bands and artists from Alaskan prog rock band Portugal.The Man to such powerhouses as Lady Gaga. 
 
Born and raised in Canada to a single mother, her career in violin began at the age of four, winning competitions and performing publicly in recitals. Judy’s unusual gift was recognized immediately having instantly learned and memorized a piece at her first lesson. By age six, she made her solo orchestral debut and at age ten, she burst onto the classical music scene in a nationally acclaimed televised performance as soloist with the National Arts Center Orchestra. The Ottawa Citizen proclaimed, “If there was a star tonight, it was Judy Kang. Blessed with a gift for the violin that is exceptional, she moves about the instrument at her disposal with an ease that is awe-inspiring.” A year later and with a fractured wrist at the time (from a volleyball game), Judy auditioned and subsequently accepted a full scholarship to attend the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music. At 17, she graduated with a bachelor in music as the youngest graduate in Curtis’ history. Shortly after graduation, she captured the grand prize as well as the “Best Interpretation” award at the CBC Competition for Young Performers, Canada’s most esteemed competition. At the age of 19, Judy was granted the Lily Foldes Scholarship from the Juilliard School where she earned her master’s degree with high honors. Additionally, she was the first recipient on full scholarship of the Artist Diploma from the Manhattan School of Music, which holds the distinction as the highest level of education, above all other programs.

Since her first solo appearance at age four in her native Edmonton, Canada, Judy has toured six continents across North and South America, Europe, the Soviet Union, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Caribbean Islands. She has performed with all the major orchestras and ensembles of Canada and those of US, Europe and Asia. Further, she performed in recital and chamber music to diverse audiences in prestigious venues including Tokyo Suntory Hall, Lincoln Center, Royal Festival Hall, Schubert Hall in Vienna as well as at the Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums in New York, to name a few. Judy made her critically acclaimed debut to a sold out audience in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Having achieved a level of pop culture status as “Lady Gaga’s violinist/nurse Judy,” she was personally selected by the iconic sensation as her solo violinist on the “MonsterBall” world tour in 2010-11, the biggest selling debut tour in history. Judy performed in sold out venues for millions worldwide. In the midst of touring Europe, she flew to NYC for less than 30 hours to perform as soloist of Brahms’ Violin Concerto at Stern Hall at Carnegie Hall, garnering rave reviews from the New York Times as well as other publications. She appeared on the Emmy award winning HBO special “Lady Gaga Presents: The MonsterBall World Tour Live from Madison Square Garden.” Judy was also featured alongside Lady Gaga on American Idol playing the violin solo of her hit single, “Alejandro.” 

A member of the acoustic trio of Academy award winning film composer and groundbreaker of electronic music, Ryuichi Sakamoto, they have toured Europe and Asia in sold out shows and have released two albums on the Decca label to much celebration. As a producer and writer for diverse artists, she co-wrote, produced, and arranged a song for singer Antoniette Costa whose music video garnered over 65,000 views in the first 48 hours following its premiere. She has also toured in collaboration with pianist Chad Lawson for a project entitled “Chopin Variations” which consists of revisiting his piano masterpieces in modern trio form.

Judy frequently collaborates with esteemed composers and has worked closely with Leon Kirchner, Richard Danielpour, Alexander Goehr, and Pierre Boulez. In response to her well-received performance and collaboration with Pierre Boulez and IRCAM, The New York times wrote, “violinist Judy Kang, who played with assurance and imagination, became the wizardly master of an entire sound environment.

Young people whose only experience of electronic music comes from deafening rock clubs should have heard this performance.” As a student at Juilliard, Judy became well versed in the New York club scene having played to sold out audiences in venues such as Le Poisson Rouge, The Bitter End, Irving Plaza, Mercury Lounge, Pianos, The Living Room, and Bowery Ballroom, among others.

She has performed in front of numerous diplomats and leaders including U.S. President Bill Clinton. Her extensive collaborations include distinguished members of the Guarneri and Emerson Quartets, Beaux Arts Trio, Olafur Arnalds, Lenny Kravitz, Richard Goode, Lynn Harrell, Andre Previn, Claude Frank, Miriam Fried, Emmanuel Ax, and David Geringas, among many others. Her mentors include Sylvia Rosenberg, Robert Mann, Aaron Rosand, Felix Galimir, Lorand Fenyves, James Keene, and Yoko Wong.

Judy has performed at major festivals such as Marlboro, Ravinia, Banff, Orford, Bargemusic, Manchester, Aspen, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Lenaudiere, and the Pablo Casals Festival, as well as at various jazz and pop festivals like Lollapalooza and the Festival Internacional Jazz Barcelona, to name a few. She was also featured in one of three chamber groups selected for the 60th Anniversary Disc from a live performance on Musicians from Marlboro. She is an original founding member of piano quartet “Made in Canada” having toured throughout Canada and was concertmaster and a frequent featured soloist with string ensemble “Sejong”.

Judy’s achievements have garnered her much media attention, frequently appearing on CNN and MTV as well as in myriad print publications including being featured in Chatelaine magazine’s 80 women to watch. Her release of two critically acclaimed CDs have been nominated for the Opus award and the Gemini award in her native Canada. She has won top prizes at prestigious international competitions such as Kreisler, Naumburg, Dong-A, and Carl Nielsen, as well as grand prize several years in a row at the Canadian Music Competition. Having graduated high school at age 15, she was selected as an All American Scholar, honouring the top academically talented students in America as well as being nominated for the United States National Mathematics Award (USNMA).

Judy is frequently heard live and through broadcasts on national and international radio stations such as CBC (Canada), BBC (London) and on WQXR (New York).

Humbled and thankful to have received numerous and continuous support through scholarships and grants from numerous foundations, Judy won the ‘Sylva Gelber’ prize given to the most talented musician under 30. Further, and in recognition of her outstanding achievement and contribution to the arts, she is featured as an accomplished artist and inspiration in a book entitled “Korea and Canada: A Shared History.” The sole artist to be awarded the longest use of an instrument from the Canada Council Instrument Bank, Judy won the use the 1689 “Baumgartner” Stradivarius, through a generous donor.

She frequently donates her time and talents towards charity, benefits, nursing/retirement homes, hospitals, schools, arts education, ministry, and missions. Judy is artistic director for EnoB, a community based nonprofit organization that reaches out to people who are disabled, hospitalized, or suffer from socio-economic disadvantages. She is also an artist ambassador for WorldVision.

Inspired by a deep yearning to delve within and to express pure and raw emotion on her own terms, Judy released a self-titled debut record of original songs on March 5, 2013, fully self written, produced, and recorded. The album takes the listener on her evolving personal journey as an artist, from past to present, through an exploration and experiment of sound, featuring the violin primarily, as well as vocals, and other instruments. The first of many more to come, her record garnered much praise and accolades from the press and artists alike, including MidWest Record saying, “Moving from Juilliard to Lady Gaga as easily as she moves from ambient to a Stradivarius, Kang blows open the stereotypical tiger mom progeny being a hot chick that masters classical violin before puberty. For all the pop chops she has under her young belt, this is a shining example of a wonderful record that many will not know what to make of.” Bob Boilen, host and creator of NPR’s online music show All Songs Considered, describes it as “diverse, unbelievably beautiful, and eclectic.” 

She continues to stretch her artistic boundaries through various projects of her own as well as with her collaborations with other artists.

California, Christian Baldini, Concerto, Experimental, Lutoslawski, Symphony Orchestra, Uncategorized, violin

Max Haft in Conversation with Christian Baldini

Anibal Troilo, Buenos Aires, California, Christian Baldini, Claudio Barile, Concert Hall, Concerto, Music, Piccolo, Symphony Orchestra, Tango, Teatro Colón, Uncategorized, violin

Claudio Barile en diálogo con Christian Baldini

Christian Baldini: Querido Claudio, es un verdadero gusto poder hacerte algunas preguntas acerca del concierto que vamos a tocar juntos junto a la Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires en el Teatro Colón, y también poder conocer un poco más acerca de tu formación musical, tu experiencia, tu filosofía de vida y tu visión como músico de mundo y poseedor de un gran refinamiento. Contame por favor, qué significado tiene para vos este hermoso Concierto para Flauta, Cembalo y Cuerdas en Re menor de Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach? Cuál fue tu primer contacto con esta obra, y que te inspiró a tocarla en este concierto con la OFBA?

Claudio Barile: Curiosamente han existido en mí obras que me han impactado a través de haberlas escuchado desde chico como los conciertos y sonatas barrocas ejecutadas por Jean- Pierre Rampal o Sir James Galway. Las he dejado en mi hermoso “rincón de escucha”, de auditor, o de agradecido espectador auditivo” por el encanto que han producido y producen el escucharlas nuevamente por esos intérpretes, sin decidirme estudiarlas yo mismo por el mero disfrutar de escucha para no romper el encanto. Acaso procrastinando la decisión de hacerlo. Podría decir que esta es una de esas obras. La he conservado en mi biblioteca por años. Hasta que un día decido “meterme en la vida privada del autor” y por ende del intérprete de mis recuerdos y decido modificar algo… Con ello quiero decir que comienzo a sentir de algún modo algo nuevo que no se dijo aún en esa obra y que puede decirse todavía, interpretativamente hablando. Es así como formará luego parte de mi vida o como que se dice comúnmente: “La sumo al repertorio.”

Esta es una obra exigente al día de hoy a pesar de que fue escrita para otro tipo de instrumento más limitado en su velocidad como lo eran las flautas del siglo XVII. Carl Phillip escribió para el instrumento de una manera Magistral. Como te digo es muy virtuosa la obra y difícil para hacerle justicia al día de hoy.

Baldini: Tu repertorio ha sido muy vasto. Has tocado obras de todos los períodos, tanto en el ámbito orquestal como en el repertorio solístico y de cámara. Cómo le explicarías a alguien que no conoce (o que cree que no gusta de) este repertorio la relevancia y la importancia que tiene tocar este enigmático concierto de CPE Bach, habiendo tocado piezas de Robert Dick, Dutilleux, Mozart y tantos otros?

Barile: J. S. Bach ha sido y es ruta en mi vida. Así como Esquilo refirió que toda su obra la había realizado con “migajas del banquete homérico”, podría decirse de algún modo que las obras de los hijos de Juan Sebastián han sido creadas bajo su influencia directa e indirecta de su padre. Se frecuenta poco el nombre de Bach en la Filarmónica y es cierto que en mi caso luego de haber sugerido u ofrecido tocar obras de Mauricio Kagel, Penderecki , Dick, Nielsen, Ibert, Khachaturian, Messiaen, es hermoso y enriquecedor para los oyentes de este concierto escuchar que los pasajes de virtuosismo (que los hay y muchos!) en este concierto luzcan con esta estética armónica y melódica.

Pero además te diré que me he encontrado en mi vida con gran cantidad de público nacional así como en el extranjero que está hambriento de escuchar más asiduamente en las armonías del periodo clásico. Quizás sea una estética más trabajosa y puntillosa, lo se… No se puede sofisticar o “mentir” virtuosismo con los autores refinados del periodo clásico. En tanto que lucir desmañado pero con visos de “apasionamiento” en la ejecución de otros autores y periodos puede pasar más desapercibido. Quizás sea por ello que no se escuche de modo más frecuente a los clásicos? No lo sé…

Baldini: Cómo comenzó tu formación musical? Cómo fue tu infancia? Y cuáles fueron los pasos que te llevaron a ser eventualmente integrante, y luego el solista de flauta de la Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires?

Barile: Allá por mis once años, recuerdo que mi padre había comprado su nuevo auto y le había agregado un reproductor de lo que se llamaba entonces “magazines“ (el antecesor de la cassette). Uno de sus preferidas adquisiciones había sido comprar un magazine con música de Tango, más precisamente de Troilo-Fiorentino. Me fascinaba escuchar a Troilo acompañando el refinamiento de Fiorentino! Muy musical! Así comencé estudiando bandoneón en mi barrio de Lugano por unos pocos meses hasta que una tía hermana de mi madre y mi tío flautista al parecer lo estaban convenciendo a este de que me impartiera clases de flauta.

Este tío materno no era nada menos que Domingo Rulio -gran virtuoso de la flauta!- y quien era solista en ese entonces de la Filarmónica de Buenos Aires.

Al principio se mostraba renuente con la idea, pero luego a instancias e insistencias de su hermana (siempre hay una tía en la familia, al decir de Cortázar) me prestó un instrumento que tenía guardado. Quedé fascinado con todo! Era para mí una maravilla y una reliquia y un placer que jamás se separó de mí!

Pasaron unos días y comenzó a escucharme lo que ya había empezado a impartirme como primeras lecciones anotadas en un cuaderno pentagramado. A partir de ese entonces comenzó la relación con mi tío materno. Me infundió mucha confianza en mí mismo. A mi tío Rulio le debo el haberme descubierto en mi condición de músico además de las grandiosas enseñanzas desde el punto de vista técnico con el instrumento.

En abril de 1972 comencé el conservatorio Manuel de Falla donde Rulio impartía sus clases de flauta. Avanzaba a pasos agigantados con la flauta y con felicidad. Rulio no hacía sino ponerse orgulloso de su sobrino.

Él me presentaba por doquier para tocar lo que me pidieran tocar y yo asentía feliz
Poco después me facilitó un flautín (flauta piccolo) y la fascinación mía y la de él creció aún más! Comencé a estudiar el flautín…

No hacía más que presentarme ante los directores y músicos para que escucharán tocar a su sobrino. Orgulloso el tío. Orgulloso yo por mi nueva etapa! Contaba yo mis trece años en ese entonces.

Waldo de los Ríos se presentaba por última vez en el Luna Park el 9 de septiembre de 1973. Hacía falta una flauta en el plantel y Rulio me llevo para ir a tocar con él. Yo estaba más que feliz. A decir verdad mi debut en orquesta sinfónica fue el 9-9-73 con Waldo de los Ríos.

Al año siguiente hubo la posibilidad de agrandar el plantel de la Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires, y habida cuenta de todas las audiciones realizadas por mí ante El Mtro. Calderón, el Mtro. Sivieri y cuanto músico profesor de orquesta se pusiera delante, fuí incluido en la Orquesta como miembro interino.

No se hicieron esperar títulos de obras donde yo participaba como solista con el flautín. Allí podía lucirme como solista. Me encantaba hacerlo. Nunca el piccolo deja de ser solista en un puesto de esa naturaleza: Daphnis y Chloé de Ravel, Copellia, de Delibes, Tchaikovsky 4ta. sinfonía, etc. son títulos que frecuentábamos. Estaba Feliz.

Estuve seis años en la OFBA hasta que gane por concurso una beca para ir a Berlín a estudiar en la Fundación Karajan en 1980-1981.

Terminado ese periodo volví para casarme con quién había sido mi novia antes de salir de Buenos Aires y la madre mi hijo mayor. Luego volvimos al país
Pero hete aquí que casado necesitaba estabilidad económica…que aún no tenia.

La orquesta Estable del Teatro Colón me ofreció tocar como flauta solista en el cargo que acababa de dejar el maestro Iannelli y allí estuve tocando como solista suplente desde 1982 a 1983.

Es allí en 1983 cuando me presenté a la orquesta sinfónica nacional y quede en el puesto de suplente solista por un año y medio.

Se abrió luego la posibilidad de presentarme al puesto de Solista B en la orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires. Así lo hice donde me presenté y donde hasta el día de hoy me encuentro tocando.

Baldini: Imagino que has tenido a lo largo de los años varios discípulos, seguidores, alumnos en varias diferentes etapas de sus vidas. Qué consejo le darías a alguien que es prometedor, pero que necesita ese empuje para convertirse realmente en un gran intérprete?

Barile: Quizás parezca fuera de tema mi respuesta pero cada vez qué pasa más el tiempo me voy dando cuenta de que nuestras hormonas son las mejores directores de orquesta de nuestro cuerpo. Y hay que desarrollar más sensibilidad para con ellas. No se equivocan. Quiero decir: Las veces que he emprendido actividades por “cálculo “ no han salido bien. El designio de una idea vale más que la idea misma. Si esta idea resulta “ventajosa“ o no, no importa. El estar feliz con la elección que se tiene es lo mas importante. Es como la madera con la cual uno hace una casa. Ya no es madera solamente cuando el designio fue hacer una casa y ellas la constituyen. Pasado ese periodo cuando la casa esta construida tampoco ES una casa si no contiene espacio hueco dentro para habitarla! ¿De qué sirve?

Vale decir: la “carrera” es una consecuencia de hacer lo que nos gusta. Lo que amamos. Cuidarlo. Protegerlo y enriquecerlo del deterioro es nuestro deber. Pero será un deber con mucho agrado si nuestra elección fue la correcta. Caso contrario una tortura frustrante. Como decirlo? “La carrera” nunca la entendí sino como un “ side effect“, algo que vendrá como un regalo o un premio.

Mi felicidad es mi lujo de estudiar por haber elegido bien lo que me gusta hacer y viendo como solucionar problemas que la música me demanda.

Si abordamos una tarea con el deseo de aplauso exterior será tan débil y agotadora la vida como pobre el resultado: la agónica infelicidad mendiga de un aplauso.
La aprobación exterior será por supuesto bienvenida pero no como una demanda interior que impele a reptar en lugar de caminar para lograr aprobación externa.

Baldini: Qué palabras tan sabias! Y… si tuvieras una máquina del tiempo, cambiarías algo de cómo ha sido tu exitosísima trayectoria profesional? Preguntado de otra manera: qué consejo le darías al Claudio Barile en sus años de adolescencia? Qué debería hacer distinto o mejor?

Barile: Haber confiado más aún en mis instintos. La razón consciente ciertamente nos sirve siempre para trazar todo método a llevar a cabo. Muchas veces el método por mí elegido me ha seducido grandemente. Perdiendo yo la mira del objetivo. En mi cabeza lucía bien. Pero en la práctica no. Valía lo que empíricamente me demostraban los malos resultados. Y entonces confundí el método elegido por mí con el “para qué“ seguir en esto o lo otro. Lo hacía de modo experimental sabiendo que si no funcionaba volvía para atrás. Pero a veces me he detenido más de la cuenta en esas pruebas. Hablo tanto de mi técnica instrumental, de mi alimentación y de mi modo de vida, etc

Baldini: Han habido personas, ya sean maestros, colegas, artistas con los que has trabajado que te han inspirado de manera particularmente especial? Quienes son esas personas que te han definido como artista?

Barile: Luego de que la música me impacte de modo superlativo los pensadores son los que más generaron en mí una conducta o la estética a seguir. Me ayudaron a perseguir mi alquimia. También diría a poder ser crítico y a tener fuerzas morales para no flaquear a la hora de abrirme yo mismo de determinados dogmas en la enseñanza sea del Conservatorio o de quiénes fueron mis Maestros posteriores. A partir de ellos es que nunca hube de sentirme solo en la búsqueda. A poder saber frustrarme con los experimentos, con el amor o con la gente que conocía.

Dejamos de sentirnos solos al conocer el desenlace que tuvo en su vida Kierkegaard, los desencantos no correspondidos de Nietzsche, saber algún detalle picante e intratable de Jantipa (la esposa de Sócrates) o el fatal desenlace de Werther… Leer ha sido y es mi salvación y mi liberación. No para asentir en todo lo que he leído (repito) sino para ser aún más crítico. Sabido es ya y curioso que nos vamos quedando más ajustados en cuanto a felicidad se refiera luego de ser más conscientes de un hecho. Pero no podemos ya dar un paso para atrás al despejarse el camino. “Ya no somos la misma persona tan luego haber terminado un libro“ decía Sabato… y con justa razón .

El lenguaje ha formado parte de mí estéticamente hablando. Y no todo concluye en las palabras que uno cubiletea en el cerebro y elige al hablar sino también en el énfasis colocado al decirlas. Me fascina ver la similitud que existe con la música respecto a este punto. Puedo aseverar que leer para asimilar el talento ajeno y el propio ha sido en mí una puerta a la felicidad. Pasado el tiempo aprendemos a creer en nosotros y comenzamos a despegarnos de esas ideas y también sentimos que hubiéramos deseado conocerlos en vida para debatir o intercambiar pareceres.

José Ingenieros (de quien tuve la dicha y honra de ser amigo de una de sus hijas, Amalia) ha sido una visages en mi vida desde mi adolescencia. Nietzsche, Borges, Descartes con su “Discurso” y sus “ Reglas” y su epígono, Spinoza con su “Ética demostrada…”, fueron y son siempre pensadores compañeros de ruta en mi vida.

Karajan fue el director que asimilé desde chico y como instrumentista Rampal, James Galway, Maurice Andre, Heinz Holliger, David Oistrach. En pintura podría decir van Gogh, Bosch, Dalí, Velasquez, Murillo.

Baldini: En tu opinión, cuál es la importancia de la música sinfónica en la actualidad? En muchas oportunidades escuchamos quejas o lamentos acerca del público que va declinando. Te parece que esto tiene relación con la apreciación de la cultura, con el dinero, con la calidad del producto ofrecido, o quizás con otra cosa, y que se debería hacer para remediarlo?

Barile: Hoy día se necesita VER además de escuchar. No alcanza solamente con escuchar. Ha perdido encanto el solo acto de escuchar. ¿Por qué? Acaso porque es más demandante para la concentración. Es más fácil y accesible el poder ver además de escuchar. Y no me refiero solo a la “escena” con la música al tocar sino a la gran herramienta que resultó ser YouTube. Existe una suerte de “comunismo” con la educación y los celulares. Gente rica o de menor condición económica cuenta con idéntica posibilidad de un aparato y acceso al conocimiento. Esto sin duda influye en la cultura y obviamente en la asistencia a los conciertos.

La gente va al concierto promovida a recibir la excitación ya por ver a su ídolo en vivo. No para “conocer” o escuchar la obra. Es otra la curiosidad. Por otro lado a su vez Gracias a esta posibilidad el oyente argentino está más “aggiornado “ que hace pocos años en reconocer y NO decepcionarse más ante la posibilidad de escuchar en vivo un concierto. O sea de ver realmente el sudar y pifiar a un grande o que la orquesta lo tape a tal cantante o que hubiera de haber tenido algún furcio durante el concierto. Esto hoy día no ocurre y cada vez es es más común “la mugre“ permitida durante las performances. Digamos que Hoy es más culto el oyente gracias al vivo grabado del YouTube y el fácil acceso a ver/ oír. Y lo desmañado está en boga hace años y va creciendo. Antes el fotógrafo y la familia se preparaban horas antes para una buena foto. Hoy día eso es menos común. Casi en menor escala o no existe.

Baldini: Muchas gracias, Claudio. Desde ya, es un verdadero gusto poder tratar estos temas tan profundos con vos, y me da mucho placer poder ser el vehículo de transmisión para realizar tu visión con este hermoso concierto de Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach junto a la querida Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires y vos. Nuestro público estará seguramente muy agradecido!

Barile: el agradecido soy yo y más aún saber que contaré con todo tu probado refinamiento en los autores clásicos y así trabajáremos juntos para lograr lo que esta obra requiere. Muchas Gracias a vos, Maestro!

6602 CLAUDIO BARILE Foto Carlos Furman SMOKING SONRIENTE
Claudio Barile – Copyright Carlos Furman

 

Claudio Barile

Flauta

Nació en Buenos Aires y ha desarrollado una extensa y exitosa carrera en Sudamérica, Europa y Estados Unidos como uno de los mayores exponentes del medio musical argentino.

Sus profesores han sido Domingo Rulio en Argentina, Karlheinz Zöller en Alemania, y Nadine Asin y Sir James Galway en Estados Unidos.

Desde 1984 es flauta solista principal de la Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires, que integra desde 1974. En reiteradas oportunidades se ha presentado en actuaciones como solista dentro del ciclo de abono que la orquesta realiza en el Teatro Colón.

Sus actuaciones como solista con la Camerata Bariloche han incluido escenarios de Sudamérica, Europa y Estados Unidos -donde se presentó en el histórico Carnegie Hall en Nueva York-. Con dicho conjunto ha grabado Impresiones de la Puna de Alberto Ginastera para el sello Dorian en Nueva York.

Activo intérprete de música de cámara, ha sido miembro fundador del “Quadro Barroco” (donde ejecuta flauta barroca), del Quinteto Filarmónico de Buenos Aires y del Ensamble Instrumental de Buenos Aires.

Ha sido merecedor en tres oportunidades del Premio Konex: en 1999 con el Diploma al Mérito en la categoría Instrumentista de Madera; en 2009 con el Diploma al Mérito en la categoría Conjunto de Cámara con el Quinteto Filarmónico de Buenos Aires, y en 2009 con el Konex de Platino como Instrumentista de Viento.

Realizó recitales en la “Sir James Galway International Flute Convention & Masterclass” en Weggis (Suiza) y en la convención anual National Flute Association en Charlotte (Carolina del Norte, EE.UU.)

En 2012 combinó una invitación para dictar una clase magistral en la Trinity Chamber Concerts (San Francisco), con una semana de clases magistrales de Piazzolla, dos conciertos en la Texas Tech University y otra presentación junto a la Orquesta Sinfónica de Ridgewood (Nueva Jersey), ejecutando el Concierto para flauta de Khachaturian.

Fue galardonado con el Premio Carlos Gardel, “Mejor Álbum de Música Clásica” 2012, por sus grabaciones de Seis Estudios para flauta sola e Historia del Tango -ambas obras de Ástor Piazzolla- y París desde aquí de Daniel Binelli.

En 2013 fue invitado por The National Flute Association para la 41º Convención de Flautistas desarrollada en Nueva Orleans. En 2018 por la Convención de la Asociación de Flautistas de España en Valencia.

Concerto, Experimental, folklore, Music, Symphony Orchestra, Tango, Uncategorized, violin

Composer Profile: Esteban Benzecry in Conversation with Christian Baldini

On May 4, 2019, I will have the pleasure of conducting the symphonic triptych “Rituales Amerindios” by Argentinean composer Esteban Benzecry, with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra in the beautiful Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. On the same program we will include the Double Concerto for violin, cello and orchestra by Johannes Brahms, with violinist Stephanie Zyzak and cellist Eunghee Cho, and the work “phôsphors (. . . of ether)” by Irish composer Ann Cleare.

Christian Baldini: Esteban, first of all, it is a pleasure for me as an Argentine to be conducting your beautiful and captivating music in the US. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions. Tell me, how were your first few steps in music? You have been living in Paris for many, many years, but your path started in Argentina. How was your childhood, and when did you first feel attracted to music composition? 

Esteban Benzecry: I am the one who is grateful, and I am delighted to know that my music will be heard in Davis, and that it is in such great hands. 

I became close to music when I was already a teenager. Before then, I was always more attracted to painting. When I was 10 I had an attempt to learn the piano, but I quit after a few months because I found it boring, perhaps because I was not mature enough for it at the time.

While I was attending elementary school and high school, I also went to the Fine Arts Institute Manuel José de Labardén (Instituto Vocacional de Arte Manuel José de Labardén) in Buenos Aires, where we were taught fine arts, theatre, photography, theatre, indigenous instruments and folkloric dances.  It was then that in a self-taught fashion, and kind of ‘playing’ I became closer to music. When I was 15 I started playing the guitar and learning songs. My first private teacher was María Concepción Patrón. I loved improvising and I wanted to learn to write what I improvised. 

After a few months she urged me to learn the piano and composition, so I continued my studies with Sergio Hualpa and with Haydee Gerardi, all of this simultaneously while I was studying Fine Arts at University, at the Prilidiano Pueyrredón.

There was a very important moment in my life which was when the Argentine violinist Alberto Lysy listened to a piece that I had written for violin and piano. He got very excited and encouraged me to write a piece for solo violin, a capriccio. He told me that if he liked it, upon his return from Switzerland he would play it as an encore in one of his concerts for the youth. My big surprise came when, upon his return, he got so excited and liked it so much that he decided it to include it on a concert but not as an encore, but as part of the program, and in no other place than in the Main Hall of the Teatro Colón. This was in May 1991, when I was 21. 

My piece received very good reviews and other musicians and orchestras started to ask me for new works. It was all rather strange, but it seemed very natural, because I was not looking for musicians, they were rather looking for me for new works. 

That is how specific projects made me spend more and more time with music and I then felt that I no longer needed to express myself through painting. On the other hand, in 1994 the National Symphony Orchestra of Argentina premiered my first symphony “El compendio de la vida” under the leadership of their Music Director Pedro Ignacio Calderón. In this piece I tried to fuse these two worlds: each of the four movements was inspired in paintings of mine that were exhibited in the foyer of the Auditorio de Belgrano.

My becoming close to music was very intuitive, and something that took place as a necessity. I started writing for orchestra without having received lessons in music theory or orchestration, I loved looking at scores and following them with recordings, and that was a big learning moment for me. 

After the first few works of mine had been premiered, when my career choice was already defined by music, I went to Paris, in 1997, to study composition with Jacques Charpentier and “musical civilization” at the National Conservatory of the Paris Region, and I received my degree “Premier prix à l’unanimité”, then I continued my studies in courses with Paul Mefano, and although I was older than the age limit, he encouraged me to attend his classes at the National Conservatory of Paris as an auditing student. 

CB: Your father is one of the most influential orchestra conductors of Argentina. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but I know that he has taught and educated many generations of conductors and orchestra musicians through his wonderful (which he founded) National Youth Orchestra of Argentina (Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil Nacional José de San Martín), which has been an incredible “barn of talent” in Buenos Aires. How was it for you growing up in such a musical family? Did you ever consider following your father’s footsteps as a conductor?

EB: Musical interpretation is a different world from the creation. I was fortunate enough to be born with a family that loves art, and who always supported me and stimulated me with a blind faith in everything that I was set out to do. The pressure of having a father that is renowned in the musical environment in the country where I grew up could have nullified me due to the high expectations that some people might have had, to see if it is true that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, and the pressure to have to develop my own merits regardless of those expectations…. but luckily it was not like that: I continue to do what I love the most and I am very grateful of the childhood I had where I was never pressured into becoming a musician, but rather I alone, like in a game, chose it.

As a little boy it was very common for me to come to rehearsals and concerts, so I absorbed a lot of things like a sponge. 

Curiously so far I am not interested in being a performer, I don’t know if I have the charisma, the capacity to communicate something that I do in such an intuitive manner as a creator. 

CB: Which are the composers that have influenced you the most? Stravinsky seems to have had an obvious influence on you, but perhaps there are others that have equally had a great influence in your music? 

EB: Also the music by Latin American composers that have integrated into their musical language folklore, such as Ginastera, Villalobos, Revueltas.

The colorful orchestral palette of French composers, as much the impressionists as that by Dutilleux and Messiaen, and the timbres in contemporary spectral French music, my brief passage with electroacoustic music as a student in Paris were very influential. Even if I ended up as a symphonist, electroacoustic music opened my ears to look for other sonorities with the orchestra. 

My past with fine arts, somehow left a mark in my music in the sense that it is very visual and based in colors, it is as if I was coloring with my music, like building sonic sceneries. 

CB: What is the most important goal for you as a composer? What do you try to communicate with every new piece? 

EB: I suppose with my musical language I exteriorize my internal world. I don’t know if I attempt to do anything, it simply flows without being able to explain why I do it, I don’t know if it belongs to me. 

One can theorize about the musical grammar but once can’t have the answer about where that image came from (that image that covered the empty canvas), or where those notes came from within the silence. 

There is no autopsy or scientist who could give an explanation about where the art we create comes from, or whether we simply communicate it, or whether it already existed in a different dimension of the universe. 

Michelangelo Buonarroti said something like “The sculpture already existed, I only took the excess out of the block of marble.”

CB: In your opinion, what is the role of symphonic music (and/or art in general) in the world we live in nowadays?

EB: Art is like a force of nature that must be allowed to flow, we are only a vehicle of its transmission, it contributes to the universal collective memory, it is the hieroglyphs which will live on as opposed to our physical body, which will disappear; it is the “black box” which will reflect in the future what the human of the past felt. 

There is a role of current entertainment and also that of eternity. 

I always have the impression of that I am planting trees that will remain here for the future generations, as opposed to the performers that live in them now. 

There is much art that is created with new technologies, which contributes to its evolution, but with time it turns obsolete or not very practical, while symphonic music is a classic that will last just like oil on a canvas, where what evolves is the language itself, the image, the sound that one stamps on it, but using the same matter.  

The symphony orchestra is also the highest expression of the result of collective work, an example of a society. 

With these topics nobody “owns the truth”, it is just a viewpoint. 

CB: Please tell me, what was the initial seed behind the genesis of your work “Rituales Amerindios”? Was it your own initiative, or due to the commission that you received? Is the musical material ever influenced by commissions that you receive?

EB: Very few times I have received commissions in which a theme had been imposed upon me, normally it is me who chooses a theme. 

This piece was a commission by the Gothenburg Symphony (National Symphony of Sweden), whose music director was Gustavo Dudamel. It was premiered by this orchestra in Gothenburg in January 2010, and that same week it was taken on a tour to the Festival Internacional de Música de las Islas Canarias in Las Palmas de Gran Canarias and in Tenerife. This symphonic triptych is dedicated to Gustavo Dudamel, which motivated me to write a work that, in my humble way, could be a musical homage to Latin America through its three main pre-columbian cultures, which are the Aztecs (Mexico), Mayas (south of Mexico and central America), and Incas (South America, primarily in Peru).  

Each of the movements, then, carries the name of a divinity from each of those cultures:  I  – Ehécatl (Aztec God of Wind) II  – Chaac (Maya God of Water) III – Illapa (Inca God of Thunder)

Gustavo Dudamel has subsequently programmed it with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in subscriptions at Walt Disney Concert Hall and on tour to San Francisco in Davies Symphony Hall on the Centennial of the San Francisco Symphony. He also conducted it in Carnegie Hall in New York with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra from Venezuela, and he took it on tour to Berkeley, Royal Festival Hall in Londo y the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Other orchestras such as the Philharmonique de Radio France and the Buenos Aires Philharmonic (Teatro Colon) have programmed this work as well.

CB: With regards to the musical materials, it is incredible how you can accomplish such memorable and simple motives like that one that starts “Rituales Amerindios.” How do you find such a subtle balance between complex elements (of which there is a lot in your work as well) and simple elements? Do you have a constant quest to find something memorable and transcendent? 

EB: If I said I’m on a constant quest to create something memorable and transcendent it would sound too pretentious. How does one find that? 

I thank you for your point of view about my music, and it is very difficult to describe with words what I do with my music in a very intuitive way.

When I compose I like to create themes that can be melodic or rhythmic motives which pop up in my music like characters that come in and out of a musical scenery. My music is very pictorial, as if it was about sonic sceneries that serve as a background to those characters which at different moments reappear with variations, thus giving unity to the work. 

Rituales amerindios is a symphonic “mural” (a large painting that has been painted onto a wall, like a fresco) which is loaded with simple and recognizable elements that call your attention, on top of complex textures that serve as background. 

CB: Rhythmic force, evocations to nature, moments of a very beautiful lyricism are a very natural part of “Rituales Amerindios” (and maybe a signature of you as a composer). Have you looked for inspiration in the concept of a neo-nationalism or a sort of imaginary folklore, to call it by some name? (I personally imagine that Alberto Ginastera would have liked your music very much) 

EB: I thank you for your comment. 

Defining my music is very difficult because I would run the risk of labeling myself with the description that I might do and I do not have any strict dogmas.
In works like “Rituales Amerindios” I feel a bit in line with Latin American composers such as Revueltas, Villa-Lobos and Ginastera of the “imaginary folklore”, what I mean is that I do not attempt to do ethnomusicology, but rather, in many of my works I have taken roots, rhythms, mythology or melodic turns of our continent as the source of inspiration, but in order to develop my own language, which could be described as a fusion of these roots and the new techniques of the contemporary western music.
Even if I have things in common with the aforementioned composers (we use these same roots as a source of inspiration), since I am a composer of the 21st Century my aesthetic influences are different.
In my first few works this happened unconsciously, maybe due to the contact that I had since a young age with folklore and indigenous instruments in the arts institute “Labarden” in Buenos Aires, and also due to my passion for certain South American composers. Today, I think that this has been vindicated and I do it more consciously with a very exploratory attitude, even though not all the works in my catalogue have this thematic material.
In my works I like to recreate the sonorities of indigenous instruments such as the “quena” or the “sikus” but utilizing instruments from the traditional orchestra, through contemporary procedures such as the use of multiphonics, harmonics, different kinds of air blows, extended techniques in the wind instruments, and I try to recreate the sound of the strummed “charango” through the use of pizzicato with arpeggios in the violins, etc.

 

I also love sounds of nature, the singing of imaginary birds, the sounds of mineral elements, vegetables, woods, water ambiences, the fauna: “Rituales Amerindios” is also a chant to nature in the Americas. 

CB: Esteban, I thank you so very much for your time and wonderful answers. We are truly honored to share your beautiful music with your audience. 

EB: I am the one who is grateful, to count on performers as enthusiastic as you who bring life to my music. The work that you are doing with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra making so much music of our time known through your concerts is truly remarkable. 

Esteban Benzecry 2019 Alita Baldi 12
Esteban Benzecry – Photo by Alita Baldi (2019)

 

Argentinean composer born in 1970. Esteban Benzecry is one of South America’s most renowned young composers. His music is programmed by the world’s leading conductors, performing organisations and festivals. Interpreters and commissions include the Carnegie Hall, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Hamburg Philharmoniker Orchester, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, Sydney Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, Tampere Philharmonic, Stavanger Symfoniorkester, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orquestra Gulbenkian, Orquesta Nacional de España, ORCAM Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid, Orquesta Sinfonica de RTVE. His most recent works attempt a fusion between rhythms with Latin American roots and the diverse aesthetic currents of European contemporary music creating, a personal language, an imaginary folklore. Benzecry lives in Paris since 1997.

Cello, Concerto, Music, Symphony Orchestra, Uncategorized, violin

Soloist Profile: Eunghee Cho in Conversation with Christian Baldini

As we get ready to perform Brahms’s Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, it is my pleasure to ask our soloist Eunghee Cho some questions about this piece, about music in general, and about his role as Artistic Director of the recently founded Mellon Music Festival in Davis, California.

Christian Baldini: Eunghee, it is a pleasure to welcome you back to your hometown to showcase you as our soloist for this marvelous piece of music. Tell us why you chose to perform this piece? What is so special to you about it? 

Eunghee Cho: I’ve found that collaborating with inspiring musicians on an incredible piece of music motivates new dimensions in my perception of sound and musicality. The double concerto allows for the creation of a sonic über-instrument from the cello-violin combo simultaneously manifesting alongside their unfolding conquest with the full orchestra. I can’t wait!

CB: And tell us about your soloist partner, violinist Stephanie Zyzak. How did the two of you meet, and would you say you have much in common with regards to music making?

EC: We first met in the context of a conductorless chamber orchestra. During our first cycle, we were both principals for Shostakovich’s C minor Chamber Symphony – a transcription of his 8th string quartet for string orchestra. I was absolutely floored by the anguish she vocalized in that opening movement solo. Within those first few minutes, I knew that it could only ever be a privilege to work with such a powerful artist.


CB: Tell us about how you decided to found the Mellon Music Festival in Davis. I had the pleasure of attending some of your events, and it gives me great comfort to see so many talented young people working together and offering high quality music performances. How did you come up with this idea, and where would you like to go with it?

EC: In a nutshell, Davis was missing an international chamber music festival and I had some buddies who loved performing chamber music! More specifically though, so much of the current climate of classical music appreciation is predicated on a snobby, elitist stereotype of the genre when in fact it can be one of the most inclusive and accessible media of expression. To combat the stigmas, our programming and outreach efforts actively exploit the inherent beauty and expressive potential of the classical genre. Beyond nurturing a community around dedicated festival engagement, we’ll make classical music in vogue once again!

CB: What are your choices for programming music? I noticed that in future concerts you will be performing more recent repertoire (works by Ligeti and Golijov), which seems like a welcome development. Are you planning on commissioning works in the future perhaps too?


EC: Of course you can’t go wrong when programming the classics, but we are also advocates of an evolving music tradition that embraces musical innovation, especially when we have the chance to pick the brains of living composers. I can only imagine how bummed I’d be if I found out after I died that I could’ve asked the 21st century edition Beethoven how to perform precisely his hugely varying dynamic and articulation varieties. In the past, we commissioned, with support from a Boston-based grant, two new works for the festival in our Spring 2018 preview concerts with the Holes in the Floor cello quartet. Commissions are certainly in our future!

CB: What is your ideal job? Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?


EC: My ideal job would be spending my weeks alternating between intensive musical collaborations and work as a professional dog walker.

CB: If you had to give advice to a very young musician starting out, what would you say to them? What should they do in order to become a successful musician?


EC: A lot of the time it will feel like the music is kicking your butt, but if you can push through the temporary grind, the product is one of the greatest imaginable rewards. Also, find inspiration in as many of the oldies (i.e. Kreisler, Piatigorsky, Szigeti, Casals, Tertis) as your 24-hr days will allow.

CB: Do you enjoy reading? Sports? What other activities do you enjoy outside music (and besides dogs!)?


EC: Mostly resulting from a general paranoia, I tend to arrive at airports hours before my flight’s scheduled departure so I’ve adopted another hobby that can aptly be described as “people watching.” Also, I have hardly ever said no to a game of pick-up soccer.

CB: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions. We look forward to a beautiful performance together! And maybe we’ll play soccer together someday (another passion of mine!)
EC: Absolutely my pleasure! See you soon!

eunghee Cho2W
Born in Davis, California, Korean-American cellist Eunghee Cho was awarded Second Prize and the special award for Outstanding Chinese New Piece Performance at the Alice & Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition in Harbin, China. He has also earned First Prize in the USC Solo Bach Competition, the Borromeo String Quartet Guest Artist Award, New England Conservatory’s Honors Ensemble Competition, Sacramento Philharmonic League JAMMIES Concerto Competition, and was awarded top prize in the Classical Soloist category by Downbeat Student Music Awards.
He has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras around the country including the Sacramento Philharmonic, Cape Symphony, Atlantic Symphony, Symphony by the Sea, Davis Symphony, and Sacramento State Symphony Orchestras. He currently holds the Joyce & Donald Steele Chair as Principal Cello of the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and frequently performs as Principal Cello with Cape Symphony, Unitas Ensemble, and Symphony by the Sea. Eunghee has actively participated in classes at the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival and Académie Musicale de Villecroze in France and has worked closely with distinguished professors such as Steven Doane, Colin Carr, Myung-Wha Chung, Jean-Guihen Queyras, and members of the Guarneri, Emerson, Tokyo, Orion, Brentano, Borromeo, and Shanghai Quartets. 

 

As an avid chamber musician, Eunghee has collaborated in performances with artists such as Midori Goto, David Shifrin, Elton John, François Salque, and the Borromeo String Quartet, and has performed as a guest artist with A Far Cry, Da Camera Society, and the Chamber Music Society of Sacramento. Previous festival engagements include the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Taos School of Music, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Festival International d’Echternach, and Rencontres Franco Américaines de Musique Chambre in Missillac, France. He is Artistic Director and Founder of the Mellon Music Festival in Davis, CA.

Eunghee graduated magna cum laude and as a Steven & Kathryn Sample Renaissance Scholar from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance and a Minor in Biology. Following his completion of a Master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music he is currently enrolled in the conservatory’s Doctor of Musical Arts Program under the tutelage of distinguished pedagogue Laurence Lesser. His previous instructors include Paul Katz, Andrew Shulman, Andrew Luchansky, Richard Andaya, and Julie Hochman. He plays on a 1930 Anselmo Gotti cello on generous loan by Colburn Foundation. Away from the cello, Eunghee enjoys neighborhood pick-up soccer, everything about dogs, and dawdling in local coffee shops.