Tag Archives: sarah kwak

it’s the people, stupid

This past week I’ve been rehearsing and performing at the Portland Piano International Festival as part of the Festival String Quartet.

The quartet is quite a collection of people to play with! Violinists Alex Kerr, concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony and professor of violin at Indiana University, Sarah Kwak, concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony, and Nancy Ives, principal cellist of the Oregon Symphony. What I love about working with people of that caliber is that they are usually always wonderful people to work with. So professional, true, but also easy going, confident, and pleasant. I often suffer from a major case of imposter syndrome, so having such amazing musicians being such supportive chamber music partners made me feel right at home.

IMG_6947

Sarah Kwak rehearsing Sarasate with Arnaldo Cohen.

The first concert, on Friday, June 17, was with pianist Justin Bartlett, featured JS Bach’s Concerto No. 1, BWV 1052, and Franz Liszt’s Malediction, S. 121. Both were done with the accompaniment of the Festival String Quartet and double bassist Jason Schooler (Liszt).

The second concert, on Saturday, June 18, was a chamber music soirée with festival artistic director and pianist Arnaldo Cohen. Each of the members of the quartet played a piece from the Golden Age of Piano (1870-1930), which is the theme of this year’s festival. I opened the program with Liszt’s only work for viola, Romance oubliée (Forgotten romance), followed by Sarah playing Sarasate’s Introduction and Tarantelle, Nancy playing Chopin’s Introduction and Polonaise Brilliante, and Alex with Brahm’s FAE Scherzo. Arnaldo played a Brazilian solo piece that I wasn’t able to get the name of, and then we all joined together for the first movement of Brahms’ great Piano Quintet, Op. 34.

Nancy Ives plays Chopin with Arnaldo Cohen.

Nancy Ives plays Chopin with Arnaldo Cohen.

Tonight, Sunday, June 19, we join pianists Charlie Albright and Alexander Kobrin for an all-Chopin concert. With Charlie, we’ll be doing the Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise, and with Alexander, the Piano Concerto No. 1. It’s quite tricky work, managing all of the rubato and the thick filigree of ornamentation that Chopin throws at us, but it should be a wonderful show. Tickets are available here.

last minute fun with meow meow, and more

Meow Meow

Meow Meow

If you’re looking for a great way to spend a late summer Saturday evening, you should click on over to the Oregon Symphony website and get some tickets to tonight’s show featuring the fabulous chanteuse Meow Meow and the Oregon Symphony, along with Pink Martini front man Thomas Lauderdale and other special guests. It will be an evening of really great singing and some delightful hijinks along the way. I highly encourage you to come! You can purchase tickets at the concert hall two hours before the show, too.
Click here for tickets and information.

 

 

 

Sarah Kwak

Sarah Kwak

On this Sunday, September 15th, 45th Parallel presents Oregon Symphony concertmaster Sarah Kwak in recital with pianist Cary Lewis at the Old Church in downtown Portland. The program will feature the stunning and grand sonata of Richard Strauss, and is a chance to hear our wonderful concertmaster up close and personal in one of the city’s most intimate venues.
Click here for tickets and information.

astoria music festival – week one report

It was a fast-paced and busy first week of the Astoria Music Festival. Saturday’s concert fulfilled one of my long time dreams to play at least part of Wagner’s epic Ring cycle of operas. This came in the opening night performance of Act I of Die Walküre, with a trio of superb singers from the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, and San Francisco Opera companies. Truly in this music the orchestra is an additional character, almost like the chorus of Greek tragedy, commenting upon the proceedings and offering psychological underpinnings to the action on stage. It was also a pleasure to play one of Wagner’s rare small scale pieces, his Siegfried Idyll, written for his wife Cosima’s birthday and performed in their home by 13 musicians on Christmas morning 1870. Continue reading