Twelfth Annual Gala
Sejong’s 20th Anniversary
Honoring Artistic Director, Hyo Kang
So-Chung Shinn, Gala Chair
Paula Zahn, Master of Ceremonies
Sejong Soloists String Orchestra
On Violins: Gil Shaham, Adele Anthony, David Chan
Chee-Yun, Catherine Cho, Yura Lee
At Alice Tully Hall
Public Relations: Cheryl L. Duncan
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 28, 2014
E. Grieg: “Praeludium” from Holberg Suite, Op. 40
J.S. Bach: Double Concerto in D Minor for 2 Violins, BWV 1043
J. Hyun/C. Franzetti: Korean Song, Gentle Breeze
H. Leonard: Sérènade humoristique à l’espagnole
J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048
P. Tchaikovsky: Andante Cantabile, from String Quartet, Op.11
A. Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, “Winter”
P. Sarasate: Navarra for 2 Violins, Op. 33
The Sejong Soloists is a renowned string orchestra that travels the globe, performing in concerts, television and radio broadcasts, and philanthropic galas. This busy ensemble has also recorded seven albums including original compositions. The Sejong Soloists has also been named as an Honorary Ambassador of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. It was fitting that Gil Shaham, virtuoso violinist, performed Vivaldi’s “Winter” from The Four Seasons, with this ensemble tonight. This Gala event is organized as a 20th Anniversary celebration, as well as a 70th birthday anniversary for Artistic Director Hyo Kang. Prior to the concert, Master of Ceremonies, Paula Zahn, spoke eloquently about the valuable mission of Sejong Soloists, of which she is a member, on cello, and she recognized several executives, patrons, and Mr. Kang, during her introductory remarks, as well as during the presentation of recognition awards. So-Chung Shinn, Gala Chair, and Kyung Kang, Executive Director, were among those recognized. Following the concert, a Benefit Gala Dinner raised funds for the organization’s various teaching and mentorship programs.
The Sejong Soloists includes eight violinists, three violists, three cellists, one bassist, and one harpsichordist. In collaboration with this Gala, a roster of astounding musicians performed, six on violin, including Gil Shaham, Adele Anthony, David Chan, Chee-Yun, Catherine Cho, and Yura Lee, plus Toby Appel on viola. The Grieg Praeludium is the first of five movements of his 1884 Holberg Suite. It’s played in “Allegro Vivace”, and tonight, presented by the Sejong Soloists ensemble, without a conductor, as is their notable practice, it began the concert with dynamic fervor. I am quite familiar with Bach’s 1717-23 Double Concerto in D Minor for 2 Violins, as it’s the score for a Balanchine ballet, Concerto Barocco. Hearing this work solely for the listening experience was lovely, as the ensemble played with eloquent rhythms and colorful fluidity. The two Guest Soloists, David Chan and Catherine Cho, on violins, brought out the yearning soulfulness of the “Largo” movement, after the more robust fervor of the “Allegro”.
Hyun’s Gentle Breeze, arranged by Franzetti, exuded Asian tonalities in an enchanting, melodic, quasi-filmatic theme. Featured on violins were Guest Soloist, Chee-Yun, as well as Adam Barnett-Hart and Ji-In Yang. Ms. Zahn, tonight’s Host, expertly joined the ensemble on her cello. The 1876 Leonard Serenade…, featuring Guest Soloists, Chee-Yun and Yura Lee, as well as Paul Huang on violins, evoked mysterious, sensual tones, deepening as the piece unfolded. The featured trio played the textured theme, with the string ensemble infusing ambient exoticism. The Sejong Soloists performed the second two movements of Bach’s 1721 Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, with the “Adagio” and “Allegro” so reminiscent of Paul Taylor’s Brandenburgs modern dance. The ensemble was featured, and, once again, the exclusive listening experience was rapturous, with ebullient, energized momentum. Adele Anthony, a featured Guest Soloist, followed with the transporting 1871 Tchaikovsky Andante Cantabile from String Quartet. The ensemble cellists were especially resonant in their pizzicato ornamentations.
One of my favorite works, Vivaldi’s 1725 The Four Seasons, was featured in its three-movement “Winter”, with Gil Shaham, Guest Soloist. Mr. Shaham was so virtuosic in his performance, that I could barely take notes. He brought out nuanced, tender tones, along with instantaneous, vivacious phrases. He made eye contact with the ensemble in a nurturing, supportive manner, expressing joy in the audience’s obvious pleasure. The evening ended with Sarasate’s 1889 Navarra for Two Violins, with both Adele Anthony and Gil Shaham on featured solos. Their performance was astounding, bringing vocal accolades and numerous stage bows. Kudos to all.
Sejong Soloists performing "Winter"
from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
with Gil Shaham
Courtesy of Todd Pitt
Sejong Soloists - String Orchestra
Special Guest Soloists: Adele Anthony, Chee-Yun,
David Chan, Yura Lee, Catherine Cho, Gil Shaham,
Toby Appel, and Master of Ceremonies, Paula Zahn
Courtesy of Todd Pitt