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 C Major, Op. 50, No. 2, Hob. III:45 Mendelssohn String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 44, No. 2 Brahms String Quintet in F Major, Op. 88
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.
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 image as the “father of the string quartet” is based not on his having been the first composer to write for four stringed instruments without continuo – that development had been happening gradually over the preceding decades. But he composed a large number of splendid works in the new genre, works that specifically inspired Mozart and Beethoven, who knew him, and later composers like Mendelssohn and Brahms, both of whom studied earlier music closely and learned from it. Of all 19th-century composers, Mendelssohn and Brahms fused the great musical ideas of the past which, for them, included Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven – all of whom had died before they were born—plus the new harmonic and textural ideas into their own work.
String Quartet in C Major, Op. 50, No. 2, Hob. III: 45
About the Composer
Whenever a composer as prolific as Haydn was in the realm of the symphony, the string quartet, the piano sonata, or the piano trio, there is the strong tendency to describe a given work as, say, a “typical Haydn string quartet.” But Haydn’s unfailing invention makes each work “typical” only in finding original solutions to musical issues posed by the thematic and harmonic ideas contained in the piece. Charles Rosen, in his splendid book The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, explicitly compares the opening movement of Haydn’s B-flat quartet, Opus 50, No. 1, with that of the last quartet in the set, Opus 50, No. 6, in a dramatic demonstration of how different two movements can be, even though they both fall into “typical” sonata form.
The most important structural feature of sonata form is a move away from the home key and the dramatic establishment of a new key, usually the dominant. In Opus 50, No. 1, Haydn seems to be unable to leave home; the tonic of B-flat appears in the cello, unaccompanied, for two full measures before anything else happens, and when the other instruments finally enter, they seem to get the composition underway only by dint of repeated exertions. On the other hand, the very next quartet in the set – the one to be performed here, seems not quite ever to be in the home key at all, but to be halfway to the dominant in the very first measure. What follows, then, is based on Haydn’s sense of balance and on his extraordinary musical wit. After an exposition that seemed rooted in the tonic, the recapitulation soars to distant harmonic realms and returns unexpectedly through a back door, so that the “first theme” is already partly over before we realize it has begun.
A Deeper Listen
In the case of the C-major quartet, No. 2, Haydn plays with both harmony (slipping chromatically through keys that suggest deeper emotions than the sunshine normally expected of C major) and with thematic ideas, moving easily from learned elements (fugal imitations, for example) and lighter elements (cheerful conversation among the four instruments).
The first violin at the opening plays a sustained rising theme, while the lower voices sound as if they are accompanying a simple waltz (with “oom-pah” accompaniment). These are but two of the different characters of thematic elements that intertwine and alternate through the movement. The second movement, Adagio cantabile, is filled with sustained lyricism from the two violins, with the first predominating, but the second sometimes echoing (or even prefiguring). Some of this thematic material suggests a variation on ideas from the first movement.
Both the Minuet proper and its Trio are constructed of argpeggiated triads, though each part suggests a quite different mood, the Minuet more lyrical and reaching for distant goals (especially in some large upward leaps of more than an octave), while the Trio is more playful, animated by the staccato eighth-note accompaniment of the viola and cello
The Finale is thoroughly playful, with short figures tossed back and forth among the instruments with sudden stops as if the work has come to an unexpected end, or the performers had lost their way. This aspect of Haydn’s art is something that we treasure today, though in his own time there were critics who found that it trivialized the work. Thank goodness Haydn didn’t listen to them!
String Quartet in E Minor, No. 2, Opus 44
About the Composer
Mendelssohn’s compositional activity during the 1830’s, when he was only in his twenties, was often sacrificed to his increasing fame and his undeniable talents as a conductor and administrator. He was always busy traveling to performances, writing to order for festivals, conducting, planning events, and directing educational activities. All the responsibilities took their toll in reduced opportunities to concentrate on artistic invention, with the result that for a time (until he managed to rid himself of some of the most demanding duties), his music sometimes took on the air of a well-tooled, factory-made product, which some find disappointing after the brilliant achievements of his teens.
The Opus 44 string quartets are not perhaps as original in their conception as Mendelssohn’s first two extraordinary contributions to the medium, published as Opus 12 and Opus 13, though they remain among his most frequently performed contributions to the quartet literature. The E-minor quartet, second of the three works in order of publication, was the first to be composed. The autograph bears the date June 18, 1837, which puts it in the halcyon period following Mendelssohn’s marriage to Cécile Jeanrenaud. Later in the same year it was performed by the quartet led by Mendelssohn’s friend, Ferdinand David, the concertmaster of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
A Deeper Listen
The combination of the violinist David and the quartet’s key of E minor gives grounds for speculation. In 1844 Mendelssohn completed his E-minor violin concerto, written expressly for David; the opening theme of the quartet reminds everyone of that concerto, which had not yet even been suggested by the composer. But, in fact, as early as July 30, 1838, Mendelssohn wrote to David to say, “I’d like to write a violin concerto for you next winter; one in E minor sticks in my head, the beginning of which will not leave me in peace.” It is entirely possible that David’s performance of the quartet in the preceding November stuck in the composer’s mind and gave rise to the key and the manner of the concerto’s main theme.
From beginning to end the quartet is filled with examples of Mendelssohn’s skill at scoring for the medium, providing varied colors by changing the ranges or inverting the instruments (so that the cello, for example, for a time plays the highest part late in the first movement, while the viola holds the bass line, and the two violin parts fill out the middle). The Scherzo of the second movement is prime Mendelssohn doing what he does most characteristically, while the Andante is a richly scored song without words that provides striking contrast with the energetic Presto agitato of the finale.
String Quintet No. 1 in F Major, Opus 88
About the Composer
The earliest chamber music that Brahms wrote for stringed instruments, at least the earliest that he published, was a sextet for pairs of violins, violas, and cellos. He seemed to revel in the luxury of six parts, and he apparently took special pleasure in the fact that for once he did not have to sense the footsteps of giants behind him: Beethoven never wrote a string sextet. Early on Brahms also attempted a string quintet, one with two cellos, on the model of Schubert’s great C‑major essay in the medium, but the work proved refractory, and after repeatedly recasting it, he finally published it in two very different versions – as a piano quintet and as a two‑piano work. Soon after that he composed his second (and last) string sextet. In between that Opus 36 sextet and the F‑major quintet of Opus 88, he had composed his three string quartets, Opus 51, works in which he seemed often to be struggling to contain the range and scope of his ideas within the more restricted medium of four instruments. Then he returned to a larger string ensemble again. Each movement of Opus 88 bears the date “Im Frühling [in the spring] 1882,” though Brahms probably did not finish any of them to his satisfaction before repairing to one of his favorite vacation spots, Ischl.
A Deeper Listen
Brahms’s early experience of larger‑than‑four string ensembles seems evident when we hear the opening bars, the first phrases of which hint at a new lyricism, as if the less constrained medium has allowed the composer to unbutton a bit. At the same time the quintet is extraordinarily terse for all its wealth of material. Now using two violas rather than the two cellos of his earlier abortive attempt, Brahms creates lavishly varied textures even between one phrase and the next (this is especially true in the A‑major secondary material of the first movement, where, in addition to indulging in his predilection for two‑versus‑three in rhythmic patterns, he also changes the character of the accompaniment every four bars). And what seemed, at the outset, charming and almost folk-like, comes back at the recapitulation fiery and sonorous.
The extraordinary middle movement, combining elements of the traditional slow movement and scherzo, is one of the composer’s most daring achievements. The opening section, Grave ed appassionato, is in C‑sharp minor, a pensive strain (made more so by seeming to begin in the major) closing in bleak emptiness. Brahms originally conceived the melody as a Sarabande for piano, an exercise in imitating the Baroque style, in 1855, nearly thirty years before it found its final home in this quintet. A contrasting section, Allegretto vivace, 6/8 time, presents a full binary statement in A major before it in turn dies away and returns to a more fully scored treatment of the C‑sharp minor material. As it fades away again, the A major material returns as a variation of itself, Presto. Again, it dies away, but this time the original material returns also in A major! An extended coda moves to C‑sharp, but the A‑major chord keeps interfering, reasserting itself through a D chord, which has a relationship to both. Finally, against all expectation, the mediating chord engineers a magical cadence to A major with the first violin floating aloft.
The surprising final chord of the middle movement has a unifying role to play: it recalls the importance of the key of A major in the first movement and foreshadows the major role the same key will play in the finale, which also brings in the secondary material in A an indulges in games of two‑versus‑three. The Finale combines fugal and sonata elements into a vigorous workout for all concerned.