The Evnin Rising Stars program began in 1992 and has been led since 2008 by violinist Pamela Frank. Distinguished artist/mentors work alongside a new generation of outstanding young instrumentalists on the great masterworks of the chamber music repertoire. The
culmination of this week of intense collaboration and musical discovery is an opportunity for the public to witness musicians on their way to becoming legends themselves.
Pamela Frank, violin
Atar Arad, viola
Gary Hoffman, cello
Evnin Rising Stars
Ben Baker, violin
Eunice Kim, violin
In Mo Yang, violin
Sung Jin Lee, viola
Zhanbo Zheng, viola
Alexander Hersh, cello
Coleman Itzkoff, cello
Haydn String Quartet in F Major, Op. 50, No. 5, Hob. III:48
Mozart String Quartet No. 20 in D Major, K. 499
Prokofiev Toccata (arr. by Atar Arad)
Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4
Evnin Rising Stars
Ben Baker, violin
Benjamin Baker, a New Zealand native, has moved audiences around the world with his musicianship. His playing has been described as having “expressive colour” and “sonorous presence” (Beethoven Society of Europe).After winning First Prize and additional performances prizes at the 2016 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Benjamin Baker claimed
After winning First Prize and additional performances prizes at the 2016 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Benjamin Baker claimed third prize at the 2017 Michael Hill International Violin Competition. This season marks his first tour in the United States with debut recitals on the 2017-2018 Young Concert Artists Series at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall.
Mr. Baker establishes his US presence with performances on the Evnin Rising Stars program at Caramoor, which features outstanding young instrumentalists. His 2017-2018 tour continues with recitals at the Port Washington Library, Haydn’s Ferry Chamber Music Series, Jewish Community Alliance and at the Levine School of Music, where he will also give master classes. Benjamin Baker frequently partners with YCA pianist Daniel Lebhardt, with whom he also tours South America this season. Other engagements abroad include concerts in the UK, China and in Germany’s Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, as well as concerto performances with The Wimbledon Symphony Orchestra, the Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra, and the Salomon Orchestra.
In 2016, Mr. Baker was a Fellow at the Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. In 2015, he made his first CD for Champs Hill Records, which includes Beethoven’s Sonata No. 2 in A major, Kreisler’s Three Old Viennese Dances, and Strauss’ Sonata in E flat, Op. 18. The CD was featured on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM, as well as reaching #22 on the charts in the week of release. He won representation with London’s Young Classical Artists Trust in 2013 and First Prize at the Windsor Festival International String Competition.
Mr. Baker has appeared as soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Salisbury Festival, the Royal Northern Sinfonia at Sage Gateshead, Wales’ Sinfonia Cymru, the Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese L’Aquila in Italy, the Maui Pops Orchestra, and the Auckland Philharmonia. He has taken part in festivals across Europe and the United Kingdom as well.
By popular demand, Benjamin has returned to New Zealand to play concerts and appear on radio and TV. For his devotion to charities for children, Mr. Baker is grateful to be an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Port Nicholson.
Currently a resident of London, Benjamin studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and at the Royal College of Music with Natasha Boyarsky and Felix Andrievsky, the latter at which he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Rose Bowl graduation prize. Benjamin plays on a Tononi violin (1709) on generous loan.
Eunice Kim, violin
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, violinist Eunice Kim has been proclaimed “just superb” (The New York Times) and “a born performer” (Epoch Times). Ms. Kim is the newest artist on the roster of Jonathan Wentworth Associates roster, and she recently made solo appearances with Philadelphia Orchestra, Bakersfield Symphony, Louisville Symphony, Seongnam Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Jersey City Philharmonic. Ms. Kim made her solo debut at the age of seven with the Korean Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, Korea. She was invited to perform on the 2017 Ravinia Women’s Board Danube River Cruise this past spring, and her NAXOS recording of George Tsontakis’s Unforgettable with the Albany Symphony Orchestra was released on August 11, 2017. This summer, she was featured as the concerto soloist on San Jose Youth Symphony’s 2017 European tour and performed as a guest artist at the Chamber Music Festival of Black Hills as well as the Chestnut Hill concert series.Ms. Kim’s past performances include playing for the United Nations and Secretary General at Bohemian National Hall and the Henry Kissinger Prize Ceremony at the American Academy in Berlin. Performing for the first season of Tippet Rise Arts Center in 2016, she continues to appear as a frequent guest artist. She was featured as a soloist at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall as a part of the Curtis Chamber Orchestra’s residency with Krzysztof Penderecki performing his Duo Concertante. She has appeared multiple times at the Kennedy Center as a performer for the Millennium Stage Series, representing the Curtis Institute of Music and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As a guest artist for Curtis on Tour, she has performed across the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Germany with Roberto Diaz. She was invited to perform on the “Ward” Stradivarius violin at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Kim has performed at festivals such as Marlboro Music School and Festival, Ravinia’s Steans Institute of Music, Music@Menlo, Music From Angel Fire, Taos School of Music, Aspen Music Festival, Great Mountains Music Festival, amongst others. She has collaborated with prominent artists including Miriam Fried, Nobuko Imai, Peter Wiley, Gary Hoffman, Ralph Kirshbaum, Cynthia Raim, and Eighth Blackbird. She is the former violinist of Ensemble39, a contemporary mixed string and wind quintet devoted to commissioning new music and pushing the boundaries of the concert experience. As a member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, she just recently performed a European tour across Italy, Germany, and Austria. She performed at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts as an artist in the 2016 Evnin Rising Stars
Ms. Kim’s past performances include playing for the United Nations and Secretary General at Bohemian National Hall and the Henry Kissinger Prize Ceremony at the American Academy in Berlin. Performing for the first season of Tippet Rise Arts Center in 2016, she continues to appear as a frequent guest artist. She was featured as a soloist at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall as a part of the Curtis Chamber Orchestra’s residency with Krzysztof Penderecki performing his Duo Concertante. She has appeared multiple times at the Kennedy Center as a performer for the Millennium Stage Series, representing the Curtis Institute of Music and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As a guest artist for Curtis on Tour, she has performed across the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Germany with Roberto Diaz. She was invited to perform on the “Ward” Stradivarius violin at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.An avid chamber musician, Ms. Kim has performed at festivals such as Marlboro Music School and Festival, Ravinia’s Steans Institute of Music, Music@Menlo, Music From Angel Fire, Taos School of Music, Aspen Music Festival, Great Mountains Music Festival, amongst others. She has collaborated with prominent artists including Miriam Fried, Nobuko Imai, Peter Wiley, Gary Hoffman, Ralph Kirshbaum, Cynthia Raim, and Eighth Blackbird. She is the former violinist of Ensemble39, a contemporary mixed string and wind quintet devoted to commissioning new music and pushing the boundaries of the concert experience. As a member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, she just recently performed a European tour across Italy, Germany, and Austria. She performed at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts as an artist in the 2016 Evnin Rising Stars
An avid chamber musician, Ms. Kim has performed at festivals such as Marlboro Music School and Festival, Ravinia’s Steans Institute of Music, Music@Menlo, Music From Angel Fire, Taos School of Music, Aspen Music Festival, Great Mountains Music Festival, amongst others. She has collaborated with prominent artists including Miriam Fried, Nobuko Imai, Peter Wiley, Gary Hoffman, Ralph Kirshbaum, Cynthia Raim, and Eighth Blackbird. She is the former violinist of Ensemble39, a contemporary mixed string and wind quintet devoted to commissioning new music and pushing the boundaries of the concert experience. As a member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, she just recently performed a European tour across Italy, Germany, and Austria. She performed at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts as an artist in the 2016 Evnin Rising Stars series and has been invited back to perform in the 2017 series.
A winner of Astral Artists 2012 audition, she has been partnered with the Philadelphia Orchestra Department of Education to perform outreach series and has also been invited to be a teaching artist for the William Penn Residency at schools in the Philadelphia area. Ms. Kim has been invited to perform and teach at numerous international music festivals, the latest ones including Teatro Del Lago Festival in Chile and Valdres Music Academy in Norway.
Ms. Kim graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree at the Curtis Institute of Music with Ida Kavafian, where she was the recipient of the Rose Paul Fellowship. She won the concertmaster position of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, participated as a mentor in the Curtis Community Engagement program, and was awarded the prestigious Milka Violin Artist Prize upon graduation. She started the violin at age six and formerly studied with Wei He at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
In Mo Yang, violin
Korean violinist In Mo Yang, First Prize Winner of the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition, has been hailed by the Boston Globe for his “…seamless technique and a tender warmth of tone,” combined with “…an ability to project an engaging sense of inner sincerity through his playing.” In March 2015, he won the 54th International Violin Competition “Premio Paganini” in Genoa, Italy, marking the first time since 2006 that the Paganini Competition jury has awarded the First Prize. He also garnered the following special prizes: Youngest finalist; Best performance of the contemporary original piece; and Performance most appreciated by the audience, confirming The Violin Channel’s praise of In Mo as “one of the new generation’s most talented young string virtuosi.”
These impressive First Prize honors have resulted in numerous performance prizes for In Mo with prestigious orchestras and at renowned recital venues worldwide, including his recent Carnegie Hall recital debut at Weill Recital Hall, a concerto engagement with the Danish National Symphony conducted by Fabio Luisi, and a special recital in Genoa using Paganini’s own Guarneri Del Gesu violin, among many others.
Concerto highlights of his 2016-17 concert season include European engagements with Philharmonia Zurich and the Baden Baden Philharmonic (Germany), in Korea with the Seoul Philharmonic, and in the US with the Fairfax Symphony, DuPage (IL) Symphony and the Dream Orchestra of Los Angeles at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Back home in Boston, In Mo opens the season for The Bach, Beethoven & Brahms Society (formerly the Boston Classical Orchestra) and he also makes his Symphony Hall debut with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Benjamin Zander.
Featured North American recitals in 2016-17 include New York’s Merkin Concert Hall, Ravinia’s Gordon Hall series near Chicago, Toronto’s Mooredale Concerts, and Florida’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. In Europe, he performs at the Dresden Music Festival and the Yehudi Menuhin Gstaad Festival, following other recent international recitals throughout Italy, as well as in China and Korea. As a chamber musician, In Mo will play at Caramoor in fall 2017 as part of their Rising Stars series.
In Mo has performed as concerto soloist with the NDR Radiophilharmonie, Russian Symphony Orchestra, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Boston Classical Orchestra, Longwood Symphony Orchestra, Central Aichi Symphony Orchestra, KBS Symphony Orchestra, and the Korean Symphony Orchestra. Festival appearances include Ravinia, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, New Hampshire Music Festival, Ishikawa Music Academy, Great Mountains International Music Festival, Japan-Korea Concert for Young Musicians, and Public Concert Academie de Music in Sion. Among his many earlier competition awards are Second Prize in the 2014 Yehudi Menuhin International Competition, and top honors at the 2013 Munetsugu Angel Violin Competition and the 2012 Joachim International Violin Competition.
Born in Asia to a Korean family in 1995, In Mo Yang gave his debut recital at age 11 on the Ewon Prodigy Series in Seoul, followed by his concerto debut at age 15 with the KBS Symphony Orchestra. He graduated from the Korean National Institute for the Gifted in Arts in February 2011 and was then admitted into the Korean National University of Arts as a prodigy in music. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at New England Conservatory, where he studies with Miriam Fried as a recipient of the Laurence Lesser Presidential Scholarship.
In Mo plays on an Antonio Stradivari violin (composite c.1705/1718), courtesy of an anonymous donor, with a loan generously arranged by Reuning & Sons, Boston.
Sung Jin Lee, viola
Violist Sungjin Lee, of South Korea, currently studies at the Juilliard School with renowned pedagogues Heidi Castleman and Hsin-yun Huang. Recently graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music where she served as principal violist, her previous teachers also include Michael Tree, Roberto Diaz, and Joseph de Pasquale. Lee plays as a substitute violist for the Philadelphia Orchestra and Symphony in C. She has performed as soloist with many orchestras, including the Baden-baden Philharmonic, Korean Symphony Orchestra, and Academic Ensemble.
Lee has also received prizes from many competitions including the Lionel Tertis Viola Competition, Just Viola Festival Competition, and Seoul Youth Chamber Music Competition, among others. Lee is an avid chamber musician, having collaborated with artists including Gidon Kremer, Steven Isserlis, Christian Tetzlaff, Peter Wiley, Ida Kavafian, Ani Kavafian, and Philip Setzer, and also performs in many solo recitals across Korea. She has participated in various festivals and concerts including Caramoor Evnin Rising stars, Chamber Music Connects the World (Kronberg Academy), Verbier Academy, Perlman Music Program, Music from Angel Fire, International Musicians seminar, Music@Menlo, Heifetz International Music Institute, Carl Flesch Academy, New York String Orchestra Seminar, and Great Mountain International Music Festival. She is a member of chamber music player of Jupiter Symphony, Traveling Sounds and Ensemble Blank.
Zhanbo Zheng, viola
Violist Zhanbo Zheng is known as the first Chinese violist to win the Primrose International Viola Competition. He also got the second prize and the Pablo Casals Prize for Best Performance of Solo Bach in Irving M. Klein International String Competition.
As a soloist, Zhanbo has performed with many orchestras, such as Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, China Broadcasting Performing Arts Orchestra, EOS Repertoire Orchestra, Four Season Chamber Orchestra of CCOM, etc. In 2014, sent by the Ministry of Culture, he was selected for an exchange activity between China and Germany, hosted by China Education Association for International Exchange. In 2013, he participated in the recording program of “My Concert Hall – The Classical Music Appreciation,” which was proposed by Li Lanqing, the former Premier of the State Council of China.
Zhanbo’s music festival experiences include Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Verbier Festival Academy, Cleveland ChamberFest, Krzyzowa-Music Festival, and Morningside Music Bridge.
A graduate of the middle school attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing under Professor Shaowu Wang, Zhanbo is now pursuing his Bachelor of Music degree in the New England Conservatory, where he continues his viola studies with Kim Kashkashian. He is also a member of the Ravos Quartet which was an Honor Ensembles 2016-17 in NEC.
Alexander Hersh, cello
Since making his Symphony Hall debut with the Boston Pops in 2015, cellist Alexander Hersh has quickly established himself as a rising young talent. Upcoming season highlights include a Carnegie Weill Hall debut, a “Three-generation” Hersh Trio performance of the Beethoven Triple Concerto for the opening night of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s 40th anniversary season, and a performance of the Brahms Double Concerto with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra.
Alexander Hersh performs frequently throughout the US, Canada, and across Europe. He has received numerous awards both as a soloist and as a chamber musician, including first prizes at the: 2017 New York International Artists Association Competition, 2017 Luminarts Classical Music Fellowship, the 2016 Schadt String Competition, 2016 Jefferson Symphony International Young Artists Competition, the 2016 Hellam Young Artist Competition, 2015 Boston Pops/New England Conservatory Competition, Society of American Musicians, the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition, the Jules M. Laser National Chamber Music Competition, the Chicago National Chamber Music Competition, and is a three time winner of the New England Conservatory Honors Competition.
The Musiq’3 critics of the RTBF Belgian Radio company gave Hersh’s performance at the inaugural Queen Elisabeth Cello Competition in Belgium in 2017 a rave review: “The evening session allowed us to hear the American Alexander Hersh (23 years old) on the already well-filled list. With his scenic presence so spontaneous and good boils, Hersh has everything to become the darling of the public. Add to that a powerful sound mixed with a varied palette, and you get a certain semi-finalist, or even more.”
A passionate chamber musician, Hersh has performed the complete string quartets of Béla Bartok and Alban Berg and much of the rest of the chamber music canon in music festivals worldwide including: Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Music@Menlo, Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, Amsterdam Cello Biennale, Kronberg Academy Cello Masterclasses, Olympic Music Festival, Kneisel Hall, Domaine Forget, New York String Orchestra Seminar, National Arts Centre Young Artists Programme, and the Meadowmount School of Music. In the Summer of 2014, he served as principal cellist of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Lucerne, Switzerland.
In March of 2017, Hersh won the Borromeo String Quartet Guest Artist Award and subsequently performed with the ensemble in Jordan Hall. In June of 2017, he curated his very own chamber music concert at the 53rd Street New York Public Library, “Alexander Hersh and Friends” featuring great masterpieces performed alongside other rising young artists.
A 4th generation string player, Alexander’s parents, Stefan and Roberta, are both active professional violinists. His grandfather, Paul Hersh, is a professor of viola and piano at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and his great grandfather, Ralph Hersh, was a member of the WQXR and Stuyvesant String Quartets, and principal violist of the Dallas and Atlanta Symphony Orchestras.
Raised in Chicago, Alexander Hersh began playing the cello at the age of 5. He studied with Steve Balderston and Hans Jørgen Jensen, and attended the Academy at the Music Institute of Chicago. As a high school student, Hersh was heard twice on NPR’s “From the Top,” and performed as soloist with the Chicago Youth Concert Orchestra, and the Oak Park River River Forest Symphony Orchestra. Hersh received his B.M. from New England Conservatory with academic honors where he was a student of Laurence Lesser and recipient of the Clara M. Friedlaender Scholarship. In May of 2017, he received his M.M. from New England Conservatory where he studied under the tutelage of Paul Katz and Kim Kashkashian. Hersh is a recipient of the Frank Huntington Beebe fund for studies in Europe during the 2017-2018 academic year. He plays a G.B. Rogeri cello on generous loan from a sponsor through Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins in Chicago, IL.
Coleman Itzkoff, cello
Hailed by The Los Angeles Times for his “astonishing prowess,” cellist Coleman Itzkoff enjoys a diverse career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. Coleman has been a featured artist-in-residence at APM’s Performance Today, has been a prize winner at multiple national and international competitions, the most recent of which was a gold medal award at the 1st International Berliner Competition, and has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras across the country, the most recent of which was his Walt Disney Hall Concerto debut. Coleman is also dedicated to the music of the present and recently joined as cellist the interdisciplinary ensemble AMOC, the American Modern Opera Company.
An avid chamber musician, Coleman has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Midori, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Cho-Liang Lin, David Finckel, Johannes Moser, James Dunham, John O’Connor, and Peter Frankl. Coleman is a regular performer at the Brooklyn concert series Bargemusic and has performed at festivals around the country, including Aspen Music Festival and School, La Jolla SummerFest, Music@Menlo, and YellowBarn. Coleman also recently forged a duo partnership with pianist Alin Melik-Adamyan, and the two have already competed successfully in several competitions and have a busy schedule of performing recitals around the country.
Aside from his performing career, Coleman is a gifted educator and communicator, teaching and performing outreach concerts in schools, community centers, and hospitals around the country. Through this work, Coleman was recently awarded the Cleveland Clinic Arts and Medicine Award in recognition of his contribution and performances for patients in the clinic.
Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Coleman was born into a family of musicians and began playing cello at the age of 4. His primary teachers have been Eric Kim, Desmond Hoebig, and Ralph Kirshbaum, and he holds a BM from Rice University and an MM from the University of Southern California. Coleman’s cello ‘Bonnie’ was made in 1740 by Carlo Antonio Testore and is being generously loaned to him by the Newman family of Los Angeles.
Evnin Rising Stars
Pamela Frank, violin
American violinist Pamela Frank has established an outstanding international reputation across an unusually varied range of performing activity. In addition to her extensive schedule of engagements with prestigious orchestras throughout the world and her recitals on the leading concert stages, she is regularly sought after as a chamber music partner by today’s most distinguished soloists and ensembles. The breadth of this accomplishment and her consistently high level of musicianship were recognized in 1999 with the Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists.
Ms. Frank has appeared with such orchestras as the Baltimore Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Orchestre National de France, the Houston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Vienna Symphony. She has performed under many esteemed conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Bernard Haitink, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Leonard Slatkin and, most regularly, Yuri Temirkanov and David Zinman. She appears often at numerous festivals in Europe and the United States, including Aldeburgh, Berlin, Blossom, Bravo! Vail Valley, Caramoor, the Hollywood Bowl, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Salzburg, Tanglewood, and Verbier.
Her passion for chamber music continues to find a variety of outlets. Her frequent collaborators, drawn from a large group of chamber music colleagues, include Yo-Yo Ma and Tabea Zimmermann. For many years she took part in the Marlboro Festival in Vermont as well as the subsequent Music from Marlboro tours. Ms. Frank has also participated in several of the Isaac Stern chamber music seminars at Carnegie Hall and the Jerusalem Music Centre as part of a group of performer-colleagues assisting Mr. Stern. Ms. Frank also took part in the Leon Fleisher classes at Carnegie Hall, as well as her own, when they were ongoing.
In the recording studio, Pamela Frank has made two discs for London/Decca: the Dvorak Concerto with the Czech Philharmonic and the Brahms Sonatas with Peter Serkin. She has also recorded the complete Mozart Violin Concertos with David Zinman and the Tonhalle Orchestra (Arte Nova), a Schubert album with Claude Frank (Arte Nova), and the Beethoven sonata cycle, also with Claude Frank (MusicMasters), now available as a complete set on three discs. For Sony Classical, she has recorded the Chopin Piano Trio with Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma, the “Trout” Quintet, and is featured on the soundtrack to the film Immortal Beloved.
While committed to the standard repertoire, Ms. Frank also has an affinity for contemporary music, often including works by today’s composers on her programs. In March 1998 she gave the world premiere of a new concerto by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich commissioned for her by Carnegie Hall with Hugh Wolff and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. In 1997, as part of her annual visit to Japan, Ms. Frank joined Peter Serkin, Yo-Yo Ma, and Richard Stoltzman at Toru Takemitsu’s Tokyo Opera City, playing works of Takemitsu and others. She has also premiered and recorded two works by Aaron Jay Kernis, a piano quartet (Still Movement with Hymn) and a piece for violin and orchestra (Lament and Prayer). A noted pedagogue, Pamela Frank presents master classes and adjudicates major competitions throughout the world. She is also on the faculties of Curtis Institute of Music and the Peabody Conservatory and teaches and coaches annually at the Tanglewood, Aspen, Ravinia, and Verbier Festivals as well as at several festivals in Europe. Pamela Frank frequents major festivals throughout North America and Europe, collaborating with artists that include Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, Christian Tetzlaff, Nobuko Imai, Antoine Tamestit, Stephen Isserlis, and Peter Wiley.
Born in New York City, Pamela Frank is the daughter of noted pianists Claude Frank and Lilian Kallir. She began her violin studies at age 5 and after 11 years as a pupil of Shirley Givens continued her musical education with Szymon Goldberg and Jaime Laredo. In 1985 she formally launched her career with the first of her four appearances with Alexander Schneider and the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. A recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1988, she graduated the following year from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
Pamela Frank is married to Howard Nelson, a physical therapist, and they make their home in the New York area.
Atar Arad, viola
Israeli-born violist and composer Atar Arad is a faculty member at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington. His summer activities include teaching at Keshet Eilon, Israel, Domaine Forget, Canada, Heifetz Institute, and the Steans Music Institute (where he is serving as faculty since 1991).
A Cum Laude First Prize winner at the Geneva International Music Competition (1972), he has performed worldwide in recitals and as a soloist with major orchestras and, for seven years, as a member of the celebrated Cleveland Quartet. His recordings with the quartet and as a soloist for labels such as Teldec, Telarc, RCA, and RIAX are widely acclaimed. His performance of Paganini’s Sonata Per La Grand’ Viola e Orchestra, in particular, is considered by many as a landmark in the history of the viola.
A “late bloomer” composer, Arad’s compositions include a Solo Sonata for Viola, two String Quartets, a Viola Concerto (which he premiered in Bloomington, Brussels, and Stockholm) and more. His Tikvah for Viola Solo was commissioned for the 2008 Munich International Viola Competition by the ARD. His Listen (three poems by W.S. Merwin) for tenor, clarinet, viola, cello, and bass was written for the International Musicians Seminar’s concert tour in England with singer Mark Padmore. Epitaph for cello and string orchestra was written for cellist Gary Hoffman who premiered it in Kronberg, Germany, with the Kremerata Baltica Orchestra (Arad performed the viola version of this piece at the International Viola Congress in Rochester, NY). Arad performed and presented his Twelve Caprices for Viola on several USA, Canada, Israel, and European concert tours. The Caprices are published by Hofmeister Musikverlag, Leipzig.
Recent performances include the Primrose Memorial Concert at BYU and, as a part of his services as the Lorand Fenyves Distinguished Visitor, in Toronto.
Gary Hoffman, cello
Gary Hoffman is one of the outstanding cellists of our time, combining instrumental mastery, great beauty of sound, and a poetic sensibility. He gained international renown upon his victory as the first North American to win the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris in 1986.
A frequent soloist with the world’s most noted orchestras, he has appeared with the Chicago, London, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Baltimore, and National symphony orchestras as well as the English, Moscow, and Los Angeles chamber orchestras, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Netherlands and Rotterdam Philharmonics, the Cleveland Orchestra for the Blossom Festival, and Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Hoffman has collaborated with such celebrated conductors as André Previn, Charles Dutoit, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, Andrew Davis, Herbert Blomstedt, Kent Nagano, Jesús López-Cobos, and James Levine. He performs in major recital and chamber music series throughout the world, as well as at such prestigious festivals as Ravinia, Marlboro, Aspen, Bath, Evian, Helsinki, Verbier, Mostly Mozart, Schleswig-Holstein, Stresa, Festival International de Colmar, and Festival de Toulon. He is a frequent guest of string quartets including the Emerson, Tokyo, Borromeo, Brentano, and Ysaye. In 2011, Mr. Hoffman was appointed Maître en Résidence for cello at the prestigious La Chapelle de Musique Reine Elisabeth in Brussels.
His recording devoted to Mendelssohn on the La Dolce Volta label (distributed by Harmonia Mundi) was released in 2012. He performs on a 1662 Nicolo Amati, the “ex-Leonard Rose.”
About the Music.
Program at a Glance
Haydn’s first mature string quartets – the sets of six each published as Op. 20 and Op. 33 – made a terrific stir among composers, most especially Haydn’s young friend Mozart; 24 years younger, but from the time they met in person in 1781 until Mozart’s early death 10 years later, they were the closest of comrades and the greatest admirers of one another’s work. Mozart’s own string quartet writing matured greatly after the publication of Haydn’s Op.33; it inspired him to turn out six quartets dedicated to Haydn, showing all he had learned from the older master. Haydn, in turn, composed his Op. 50 quartets in response to Mozart’s. And Mozart wrote his last quartet under the influence of Haydn’s.
Later composers in the 19th and 20th centuries treated the string quartet as the most serious of chamber music genres. Arnold Schoenberg began his composing career with an early string quartet, then proceeded by enlarging his scope to write a sextet, one with a narrative program based on a recent poem, the structure and narrative of which Schoenberg miraculously retained in shaping his extraordinary work. Prokofiev wrote two string quartets, but the work to be heard here is a transcription showing how the sonority of the piano can be manipulated into that of the string quartet.
String Quartet in F Major, Op. 50, No. 5, Hob. III: 48
About the Composer
The 18th century was a great age of civilized conversation in homes and cultured salons, in coffee shops and congresses. The fine art of give-and-take that is fundamental to a successful conversation – no one hogging the agenda, no one getting left out – was also characteristic of the late 18th-century string quartet in the hands of Joseph Haydn. Titles like “father of the string quartet” usually exude the air of press agent puffery, but Haydn deserves such a title as much as anyone for his creative contribution in two different revolutions in the string quartet: one musical, the other social. First, he took a musical medium — two violins, viola, and cello — that had operated as a genial dictatorship (the first violinist got all the good parts) and recast it as a partnership of near‑equals, each instrument having a vital and indispensable role to play, a more democratic system with the first violin functioning as chief executive. The second revolution came relatively late in his career after he had accomplished the first. Chamber music came out of the intimate surroundings of private households and moved to the public stage to be performed before a paying audience. This change was largely accomplished with Haydn’s late string quartets composed during and after his English visits, and it made new musical demands on the medium as well.
Opus 50, published in 1787, finds Haydn at the brink of that second revolution. He had created in his Opus 20 a set of six quartets with a new richness of interaction among the four parts, symbolized by several in which the final movement was an elaborate fugue. This was followed by the six quartets of Opus 33, which are especially striking for the daring variety of results that grow out of short, pregnant themes. Opus 33 was published in 1782, just in time to exercise a potent influence on Mozart’s first mature quartets, the six that were eventually published with a dedication to Haydn. The latter, in his turn, was influenced by Mozart’s six, which he admired enormously, in producing his Opus 50, a conflation of all the previous elements and a newly intense exploration of monothematic first movements.
A Deeper Listen
The wide range of textures in this quartet shows Haydn playing with this aspect of composition in new and pleasurable ways. The opening of the first movement plays with duets (at first the two violins against viola and cello – which enter with a surprising note (C#) outside the home key, that will play an important part throughout. Later the pairs change frequently (violin and cello paired against the inner parts, for example). The second theme is marked by rapid arpeggios in sextuplets given to all the voices at one time or another. In the second half of the movement, Haydn plays with all of these elements still generally maintaining structure in pairs.
The slow movement unfolds in a series of figures starting with a long-held note that resolves itself into a rising scale in the first violin, while the three lower voices move together, often in a slower contrary motion.
The Minuet and Trio both play with the same sort of musical idea, a neighboring note figure, but in the Minuet it is in F major, and in the Trio in F minor. This monothematicism is a common element in Haydn’s late symphonies but is less frequently encountered in the chamber music.
The Finale is the last movement that Haydn composed for the Opus 50 quartets. Its lively 6/8 time suggests a galloping rhythm, while the main thematic materials are driving repeated notes and 16th-note scales. The harmonic surprises found in some of the other quartets of the set (and other parts of this one) mostly occur when the cello is sustaining a dominant pedal (a long-held note, or a series of repeated notes on a single pitch) to anchor the tonality in the dominant or the tonic key for the close of the exposition or the firm arrival at home to close.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
String Quartet No. 20 in D Major, K. 499
About the Composer
Mozart wrote a total of twenty-three string quartets. The first baker’s dozen of these are juvenile works (insofar as anything by Mozart is juvenile!), composed before he was fourteen. That leaves what are sometimes known as the “ten famous quartets.” Of these, the first six, written between 1782 and 1785, were published with a dedication to Mozart’s dear older friend Haydn. It was in response to a performance of one of these quartets that Haydn made his famous statement to Mozart’s father: “Before God, and as an honest man, I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me in person or by name. He has taste and, what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition.”
The last three string quartets were written for the King of Prussia, who was an amateur cellist (so Mozart made the cello part particularly suitable for the king to play – which is to say, not too difficult), in 1789 and 1790.
The one quartet left was composed in the gap between the creation of the “Haydn” quartets and the “Prussian” quartets. It has been nicknamed the “Hoffmeister” (though not by Mozart himself) in order to distinguish it from the other quartet in D major that is part of the Prussian group. Hoffmeister was a Viennese music publisher who might very well have commissioned the work as he had done with the First Piano Quartet. Mozart completed it on August 19, 1786.
A Deeper Listen
The quartet epitomizes the great importance of conversation in the late 18th century. The ability to carry one’s own part in an intelligent and witty conversation was an essential skill for social success. And from the time of Haydn’s Opus 33 quartets, at least, the string quartet became a model “conversation” for four musical instruments.
In this quartet, for example, each of the participants is allowed the chance to say something, and each is given a hearing by the others. The opening seems entirely serene and well-behaved, but there are surprising, and slightly disquieting, sequences of keys in the first part to suggest emotional undercurrents. Once all of the material has been presented to us, Mozart sets up two of the instruments at a time in a kind of “ticking clock” texture, against which the other two move through a wide sequence of keys, finally returning home. The “ticking” recurs at the end of the movement.
The Minuet offers an elegant dance theme with rich harmonies from the chromatic passages in the middle parts. The Trio is in the minor, and racing triplets in the melody give the sense of faster motion.
The mood of the slow movement is more restrained, as of poignant emotions barely glimpsed. These are not deeply tragic emotions, but feeling conveyed sweetly with a certain elegance. Only at the very ending does a momentary harmonic clash suggest a deep pain that cannot be spoken of.
The Finale is filled with sudden pauses and broken phrases – playful gestures that Mozart may well have learned from Haydn. Normally a racing finale with the feeling of 6/8 (Mozart actually wrote it in 2/4, but divided the beats mostly into triplets) is license for high good humor and energy. There is plenty of that here, to be sure, but still there are moments that suggests more pensive emotions. Mozart was the great master of theatrical expression on the stage, limning every changing detail of a character’s emotion in his music. Here, too, in the supposedly “abstract” realm of the string quartet, he takes the listener on a changing emotional path that asks as many questions as it answers. His mastery of the constantly changing expression of human feeling in its full range makes this quartet – a fascinating study in ambivalence – a unique example of Mozart’s art.
Prokoviev was a brilliant virtuoso at the piano, and, like many such pianists, he wrote extraordinarily difficult works with which to show off his ability. The Toccata was written in 1911, about the time the young composer was experimenting with a wide range of styles, including the unfinished opera Maddalena, which is thoroughly romantic, and its opposite, the anti-romantic First Piano Concerto. For the solo piano he ranged from the dance forms of his Twelve Pieces for Piano, Op. 12 (prefiguring his later fame as a composer of ballets), and the four-minute Toccata, a rhythmic exercise that avoids any flavor of romanticism and remains bitter and harsh throughout.
For the piano, this is especially an etude in rapidly repeated notes, non-stop. In an arrangement for string quartet, it gives a somewhat less percussive effect, but the rapidly repeated notes (which come more “naturally” to the strings) create a sense of vigor while projecting the modernist harmonies that Prokoviev especially loved to play with in the early stages of his career.
1874 – 1951
Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4
About the Composer
Arnold Schoenberg, a giant among 20th‑century composers, wrote his most popular score, Verklärte Nacht, at the very end of the 19th century. Its popularity certainly has something to do with the work’s palpable links to the era that was ending, but it is at the same time remarkably forward‑looking, anticipating the composer that Schoenberg became.
Throughout the 1890s Schoenberg had composed string quartets, the medium he knew best as a performer (he played the cello). Most of these he destroyed, but one score, an enormously assured quartet in D, dating from 1897, shows how much he had learned in his self‑directed study and his few formal lessons with his friend Alexander von Zemlinsky. Yet even this could scarcely prepare us for the artistic maturity of the string sextet he was to create two years later.
Like so many Schoenberg scores, Verklärte Nacht (“Transfigured Night”) was composed at a furious pace. He completed the bulk of the work in just three weeks in September 1899, though he was not ready to sign and date his score until December 1. The overt inspiration was a poem by the German writer Richard Dehmel (1863‑1920), whose Weib und Welt (“Woman and World”) had made something of a stir at its publication in 1896 when government censors found some of the poems offensive for their explicit treatment of sexual situations. Schoenberg had set texts from Dehmel’s book almost at once in some of his earliest songs (Opus 2 and 3).
Verklärte Nacht was a natural choice as an inspiration for a musical setting, since Dehmel’s poem is laid out in a surprisingly musical way. The last line, for example, is a transformed echo of the opening line, a device that Schoenberg brilliantly mirrors in the music.
The poem is laid out in five short sections, of which the first, third, and fifth are impersonal narration describing an unnamed man and woman walking along on a moonlit night. At first the natural surroundings seem cold and bare. The second section is a speech by the woman, who confesses that she carries another man’s child. Before she met her companion, she explains, she had felt that motherhood would provide her with purpose. Now she has fallen in love with him and must confess her fault. A brief narrative interlude describes her faltering step and the moonlight flooding down upon them. The man is understanding and magnanimous. The radiance of the natural world convinces him that the love they feel will draw them together and make the child his as well. The poem closes with another description of the moonlit night – now bright with hope.
 Zwei Menschen gehn durch kahlen, kalten Hain;
der Mond läuft mit, sie schaun hinein.
Der Mond läuft über hohen Eichen,
kein Wölkchen trübt das Himmelslicht,
in das die schwarzen Zacken reichen.
Die Stimme eines Weibes spricht:
 Ich trag ein Kind, und nit von Dir,
Ich geh in Sünde neben Dir.
Ich habe mich schwer an mir vergangen.
Ich glaubte nicht mehr an ein Glück
und hatte doch ein schwer Verlangen nach
Lebensinhalt, nach Mutterglück
und Pflicht; da hab ich mich erfrecht,
da liess ich schaudernd mein Geschlecht
von einem fremden Mann umfangen,
und hab mich noch dafür gesegnet.
Nun hat das Leben sich gerächt:
nun bin ich Dir, o Dir begegnet.
 Sie geht mit ungelenkem Schritt.
Sie schaut empor; der Mond läuft mit.
Ihr dunkler Blick ertrinkt in Licht.
Die Stimme eines Mannes spricht:
 Das Kind, das Du empfangen hast,
sei Deiner Seele keine
Last, o sieh, wie klar das Weltall schimmert!
Es ist ein Glanz um Alles her,
Du treibst mit mir auf kaltem Meer,
doch eine eigne Wärme flimmert
von Dir in mich, von mir in Dich,
Die wird das fremde Kind verklären,
Du wirst es mir, von mir gebären.
Du hast den Glanz in mich gebracht,
Du hast mich selbst zum Kind gemacht.
 Er fasst sie um die starken Hüften.
Ihr Atem küsst sich in den Lüften.
Zwei Menschen gehn durch hohe, helle Nacht.
– Richard Dehmel
 Two people move through the bare, cold grove;
The moon runs alongside, they look into her.
The moon glides over high oaks,
no bit of cloud darkens the sky’s light,
toward which the black branches reach.
The voice of a woman speaks:
 “I bear a child that is not yours,
I walk in sin beside you.
I have grievously offended.
I believed no more in good fortune
and yet had a deep longing
for a meaning to my life, for maternal joy
and responsibility; so I grew shameless,
I allowed myself to yield, shuddering,
to the embrace of an unknown man,
and have been blessed in this way.
Now life has taken revenge:
for now I have met you—ah, you.”
 She walks with faltering step.
She looks up; the moon runs alongside.
Her dark gaze is flooded with light.
The voice of a man speaks:
 “May the child that you have conceived
be no burden to your soul.
Look how the universe glimmers!
There is a splendor all around,
you are sailing with me on a cold sea,
yet a special warmth flickers
from you to me, from me to you,
which will transfigure that child of another;
you will bear it to me, by me.
You have kindled the splendor within me,
you have turned even me into a child.”
 He catches her round her strong hips.
Their breaths kiss in the air.
Two people move through the high, bright night.
– Translation by Steven Ledbetter
A Deeper Listen
Perhaps the biggest surprise in the score is Schoenberg’s decision to write a piece of program music on this scale for a chamber ensemble, especially as the medium chosen—two each of violins, violas, and cellos—was one new to him. It had been used twice by Brahms, of whom Schoenberg was a great admirer. Yet the style reflects Schoenberg’s new absorption of Wagnerian chromaticism. (Indeed, one of the most notorious comments ever made about the piece came from one of the program reviewers of the Vienna Tonkünstlerverein charged with deciding whether to recommend new works for performance: it looked, he said, as if the score of Tristan had been smeared while the ink was still wet.)
For all its reflection of the original poem, though, Verklärte Nacht thoroughly transcends the usual point‑to‑point descriptiveness of run‑of‑the‑mill romantic program compositions and provides a thoroughly satisfying musical shape on its own terms. It is the first of several works – including the later Chamber Symphony and Pelleas und Melisande – that Schoenberg lays out as a large single‑movement sonata. This one is, in fact, a double sonata, strictly following the five sections of Dehmel’s poem. The “narrative” parts are quite brief, but the second and fourth, representing the words of the woman and the man respectively, are full‑scale sonata forms.
The first is in D minor, the second in D major (though it must be remembered that these keys are already stretched considerably in their tonal function). Moreover the second of them is built out of musical ideas that are expressive versions of themes heard more tentatively in the first. From the literary point of view, this can be seen as a reflection of the woman’s anguish on the one hand and the man’s generous confidence on the other. But it functions equally well from a purely musical point of view, with the second sonata section truly completing and “transfiguring” the first. Schoenberg is so prodigal in inventing gradual transformations of his themes that the listener can discover new relationships even after many hearings of the score.
The nocturnal scene with its two walking figures is represented by a soft march-like descending line, heard in bare, cold octaves at the outset, but transformed at the very end of the score into a passage shimmering with light.
The first sonata‑form section, in the minor mode, includes a split‑level theme, divided between the cello and upper parts. Later on this very Tristanesque material serves as a “second theme.” The second sonata‑form section opens with a characteristic figure in the cello (the man’s voice?), but it immediately develops thematic ideas heard earlier, but now mostly in the major. New sonorities and the major mode reinforce the melodic development to provide a rich, satisfying conclusion in which the “transfiguration” of the night is musically suggested by Schoenberg’s eloquent and shimmering transformation of the opening music.
– Steven Ledbetter