Piano Duo Recital (Gainesville)
A native of Seoul, South Korea, Joanna Kim began her piano studies at age four. Immediately advancing in her abilities, Dr. Kim presented her first recital at age seven and won first prize for the National Young Artists’ Competition at age nine. She was accepted to study voice and piano at Sun-Hwa Music Conservatory, a highly selective preparatory school for middle and high school musicians in Seoul. Dr. Kim moved to Sydney, Australia in 1994 and attended prestigious St. Scholarstica’s where she studied with Elizabeth Powell at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the University of Sydney. The same year, Joanna was chosen as the winner of the Chopin Division of the McDonald’s Young Artist Festival in Sydney. Shortly thereafter, she received an Honorable Mention and was selected as a National Finalist for the Yamaha High School Performance Competition. Upon receiving a prestigious Herman Godes scholarship from West Virginia University, Dr. Kim moved to the United States to continue her piano studies under the guidance of Dr. James Miltenberger. While at WVU, she was named a state winner for three consecutive years and received an Honorary Performance Diploma from the West Virginia University Division of Community Music. She then continued her musical education at the University of Georgian where she studied with Dr. Evgeny Rivkin. At UGA, Dr. Kim has served as a graduate teaching assistance where she taught class piano classes and accompanied the various choral/ vocal ensembles. Dr. Kim received her Master’s & Doctoral degree from the University of Georgia, majoring in Piano Performance, minoring in Collaborative Musical Art. Throughout her study she has performed in Korea, France, Austria, Germany, Australia, and the United States, both as a soloist and a chamber musician. She has appeared with many orchestras including the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, UGA Symphony Orchestra, WVU Symphony Orchestra, Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra (Korea), and North Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Australia).
Dr. Kim currently teaches at the University of North Georgia. She also taught at Gainesville State College serving as the director of Keyboard Studies. She is also a senior level faculty at the Atlanta Music Academy in Suwannee, GA. She maintains an active private piano studio and her students have won numerous awards on regional and state level.
Soohyun Yun, Korean born pianist, is Assistant Professor of Music and Coordinator of the piano area at Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Georgia. Dr. Yun has explored solo and chamber music from baroque to contemporary and performed in venues in Germany, Korea and the US. New York Concert Review said “Yun unleashed much passion and color along the way..” at her solo debut recital at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall, NY in 2008. Dr. Yun was again invited to perform at the same hall in April, 2009 upon winning First Prize in the 2009 American Protégé International Piano Competition. Other awards include the Pro-Mozart Scholarship Competition Award, Artists International’s Special Presentation Award, 21st Century Piano Commission Award, NY Dorothy MacKenzie Award and prizes of Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition. Yun’s enthusiasm for contemporary music brought her to perform a piano solo, Cloches d’adieu, et un sourire… in memoriam Olivier Messiaen by Tristan Murail, who was a pupil of Messiaen, at the composer’s presence at Krannert Center for Performing Arts
From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Yun received her D.M.A. piano degree and two master degrees (piano pedagogy and piano performance) working with professors Ian Hobson and Reid Alexander. Her BM in Piano Performance was under Myung-Won Shin at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. Additional summer study includes the International Keyboard Institution and Festival at the Mannes School of Music (NY) and the Hochschule “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy,” in Leipzig, Germany.
As an educator and clinician, Dr. Yun is a devoted teacher who has been actively involved with Music Teachers National Association State and Local Associations throughout her career. Prior to her appointment at KSU, she taught at the University of Idaho at Moscow, Millikin University in Decatur, IL, and also served as Coordinator for the UIUC School of Music Piano Laboratory Program. At KSU, she teaches applied piano lessons to majors, piano literature and piano pedagogy, small chamber groups and accompanying classes, and oversees undergraduate group piano instruction.
Program Notes By Joanna Kim
Ma Mere l’Oye
Ravel composed Mother Goose as a suite of five pieces for piano duet between 1908 and 1910.
Mother Goose is one of Ravel’s most exquisite creations. “The idea of evoking the poetry of childhood in these pieces,” Ravel later explained, “naturally led me to simplify my style and to refine my means of expression.” Even when he orchestrated and enlarged the suite into a ballet score in 1911, he managed to heighten the music’s sense of fantasy and adventure without taking away its grace and innocence. Drawing on the fairy tales of Charles Perrault and others, each miniature is a touching musical representation of childlike wonder. The lovely Mother Goose Suite (literally, “My Mother, the Goose”) was originally written to be played by two children on the piano. The first performance was given by children aged 6 and 10. The following year Ravel prepared an orchestral version for a ballet production in Paris in 1912. The five movements depict fairy tales well-known to children of that time. Movement One, Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty, is very short but solemn and thoughtful, like a tableaux of the silent castle. Movement Two is Tom Thumb, one of many deluded characters who scattered bread crumbs, in order to find his way back out of the woods. But birds came behind him and ate them all. Ravel cleverly uses solo oboe above wavering strings to convey the winding paths. You can also hear happy birds chirping over their feast of crumbs from a distance. Movement Three is Laideronnette (Little Ugly One), Empress of the Pagodas. This is a story called “The Green Serpent.” Laideronnette, formerly a beautiful princess, was magically disfigured by an evil witch. The princess lives in a faraway castle and meets The Green Serpent, who has been similarly cursed, out in the woods. They have various adventures together, including visiting living pagodas made of crystal, diamonds, and emeralds, which nevertheless sing and play for the couple. Movement Four is The Conversations of Beauty and the Beast, written in waltz time. A solo clarinet conveys Beauty’s part of the conversation, and the bassoon represents The Beast. Beauty’s voice is later found in flute and oboe. After The Beast’s transformation back to a prince, Beauty becomes a solo violin, and The Beast becomes a solo cello. A clash of cymbals announces the end of the wicked witch’s spell. Movement Five The Fairy Garden is an account of Sleeping Beauty’s awakening by Prince Charming. The celeste has the role of the enchanted princess, as she slowly opens her eyes in the sun-flooded room. A joyous fanfare sounds at the end as the storybook characters gather about her, and the Good Fairy bestows her blessing on the happy pair.
Slavonic Dances Opus 72
It was Antonín Dvořák’s first set of Slavonic Dances (Op. 46) that established the composer’s international reputation. Dvořák composed his second set of eight Slavonic Dances for piano duet in the summer of 1886. Dvořák’s style reflects the influence of Bohemian folk music that was prevalent during his life. He loved to walk around the spruce forests close to his rural home some 40 miles south of Prague. His music features wonderful melodies, free use of national folk themes, and all types of native sounds with convincing harmonies and rhythmic variety. His music has a natural freshness supported by fine craftsmanship and an engaging spontaneity. The Slavonic Dances take their name from Slovakia, a region of the Czech Republic. The dances were originally composed for piano duet, and Dvořák later adapted them for orchestra. These dances have several characteristics that provide variety, lyricism and rhythmic energy. Dvořák treats dynamics impulsively with extreme changes, such as a crescendo from pp to f. Tempo changes are used to delineate sections and thematic material. No. 1 , this wiild and exuberant dance is a Slovakian odzemek which is performed by Slavic shepherds (men only) holding hands in pairs and danced in 2/4 meter. It contains many acrobatic figures that require the dancers to have considerable strength and power. It was originally performed with bagpipe accompaniment. This dance was very popular in Poland during the 16th century. No. 2 is a Ukrainian dumka (a melancholy lament) in the minor-key sections and a mazurka-sousedska in the major-key sections. The sousedska is a Czech waltz, which alternates with the mazurka during the lively sections. No. 7 is a Serbian kolo, a circle dance where couples hold hands or hold around the waist. This dance originally came from Celtic tribes who settled in the Balkans (in the second or third century BC) with elements of the Bulgarian choro. Dvořák is very fond of shifting modes from major to minor and the reverse.
Ballet from Orphée et Eurydice
Orfeo ed Euridice is the first of Gluck’s “reform” operas, in which he attempted to replace the abstruse plots and overly complex music of opera seria with a “noble simplicity” in both the music and the drama. The opera tells the poetically tragic story of Orpheus’ attempt to retrieve his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld after she dies on their wedding day. Orpheus vows not to look back at Eurydice while guilding her from the underworld, but he is overcome by anxiety and yearning; he gives in, turns and look back, and Eurydice slips away to die a second time. Act 2, scene 2, takes place in the Elysian Fields and opens with a four part ballet known as the “Dance of the Blessed Spirit,” which features music exclusive to the French version of the opera. This arrangement is based on one section of this dance. This small scene from the opera has taken on a life of its own; audiences today are more likely to recognize the tune from its countless arrangements for various instruments than for its part in the original opera. These adaptations, however, are typically known by other names. Giovanni Sgambati first published his famed version for solo piano in 1878 and titled the piece “Melody by Gluck.” The “Melody” designation seems to have struck in subsequent arrangements, notably those of Fritz Kreisler, Alexander Siloti, and Abram Chasins.
Tambourin Chinois (Chinese Drum)
Regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time, Fritz Kreisler composed dozens of short works for violin and piano to perform on his recitals. Many of these musical delicatessens evoke sentiment for the cozy lifestyles of pre-war Vienna; others venture to imitate the style of composers such as Gaetano Pugnani, Giuseppe Tartini, and Antonio Vivaldi. Audiences of the day likely heard Tamboutin Chinois, composed in 1910, as avant-garde new music by a composer experimenting with exotic musical forms. But other than its use of the pentatonic scale or occasional parallel fifths, Tambourin Chinois has little to do with actual Chinese music – not surprising, considering Kriesler had such limited exposure to genuine exmaples of the country’s culture and traditions. The piece is a joyous and delightful musical gem, a celebration of imagined worlds and faraway lands, and a reminder that we all perceive differently the world around us. The excitement of violinists’ wildfire tempos is replaced with increased complexity as the pianists exchange in a musical – and physical- banter. This is an acrobatic arrangement, where the pianists are asked to recreate the playfulness of the music through dance-like interaction.
Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (“Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”)
Completed in 1894, Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune was inspired by the poem “L’après-midi d’un faun” (“Afternoon of a Faun”) by the Symbolist poet Stephane Mallarmé. In verses notorious as much for their languid eroticism as for their allusive, at times obscure, imagery, Mallarmé describes what may or may not be the daydreams of a young faun, a mythical creature half man and half goat. On a warm afternoon, this satyr encounters — or perhaps only imagines — woodland nymphs, whom he caresses and kisses but cannot possess, for they always slip away from him. Nowhere else in music has anyone so deftly synthesized the heat and silence, sensuality and gentle melancholy of an afternoon’s golden hours as in Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun”). In contrast to the large orchestra, the piece was originally scored for three flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, a cor anglais, two toothings-stone, two crotales (ancient cymbals) and a string quintet. His intention was to emphasize the wonderful instrumental colour and timbre. Debussy own comment about the piece is, “The music of this prelude is a very free illustration of Mallarmé’s beautiful poem. By no means does it claim to be a synthesis of it, rather there is a succession of scenes through which pass the desires and dreams of the faun in the heat of the afternoon. Then, tired of pursuing the timorous flight of nymphs and naiads, he succumbs to intoxicating sleep, in which he can finally realize his dreams of possession in universal nature.” Following its first performance in Paris on December 23, 1894, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune immediately became Debussy’s most popular work. Yet its musical techniques were absolutely revolutionary.
The heat haze that envelops the lascivious faun as he drifts in and out of sleep is invoked by a ceaselessly flowing line that travels through continuous tonal shifts. Debussy’s short motives materialize and then almost immediately dissolve, evaporating or shifting seamlessly into others. The work begins very softly with the exotic flute line (heard in piano primo); travels through a second contrasting section that represents the crest of the faun’s amorous dreams; and returns to quieter reiterations of the dream theme. The work ends with an eloquent twist that sounds almost like a nod to American blues. From the perspective of both the French public and the critical musical establishment of his day, with this one work Debussy launched a decadent musical revolution. From our 21st century vantage point, Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune is a masterpiece of imaginative poetry in tones, a musical work of flawless, albeit groundbreaking, beauty.
Khachaturian: “Sabre Dance” from Gayaneh
“The Sabre Dance” from the ballet suite Gayne [GUY-nuh] by Aram Khachaturian is by far this 20th Century Armenian composer’s most famous work. The “Sabre Dance” has been used in numerous films, animated films, TV series, video games and commercials over the years. The folk ballet Gayne (Happiness — 1942) from which the Sabre Dance is excerpted is about life on a collective farm in Armenia and has strong elements of Armenian and Russian folklore. The plot centers around Gayne, a loyal Armenian worker. Her tyrannical husband Giko betrays the Soviet government, turns arsonist and smuggler, and is finally captured by the heroic commander of the local militia. The Sabre Dance itself is based upon a Kurdish folk dance. Much of Khachaturian’s music reflects his Armenian ancestry. The traditions of romantic Russian music and the Soviet concern that music appeals to large, diverse groups of people and feature folk styles. Due to its exceptionally exciting rhythm, the “Sabre Dance” established a place for itself in common concert practice. Its recognizable ostinato and popular melodies have made it a popular concert piece. The steady pulse and the melodies which move chromatically around a repeated note suggest the influence of Armenian folk music. The form of the Sabre Dance is ABA. The steady pulse, the excitement of displaced accents, and the incessant repetition of short melodic motives and simple progressions make the music interesting and enjoyable.