My recent CD with enhake, entitled Prepárense: The Piazzolla Project, received a glowing review from the renowned classical music magazine, Gramophone. I, along with other members, had an opportunity to do a short interview about our recent endeavors as a new music ensemble few weeks ago, and it was also featured in Gramophone's November issue. Here is a short excerpt from the incredibly positive article:
I am thrilled to announce the release of enhake's newest CD entitled Prepaárense: The Piazzolla Project on MSR Classic. The recording already has received many positive reviews and turned out quite well, especially considering our highly compressed rehearsal and recording schedule last year.
We got the following review from Infodad,com with a very well received (++++) rating:
(++++) PROJECTS IN PROGRESS
Ástor Piazzolla: Transcriptions and arrangements by M. Brent Williams. enhakē (Wonkak Kim, clarinet; M. Brent Williams, violin; Katherine Decker, cello; Eun-Hee Park, piano). MSR Classics. $12.95.
The MSR Classics project undertaken by a fine chamber ensemble with a deliberately obscure name, enhakē – small first letter, whole word from the Seminole for “sound,” and, really, why? – is to present works by Argentine concert-tango master Ástor Piazzolla in the unusual instrumental combination of clarinet, violin, cello and piano. Violinist M. Brent Williams is responsible for arranging Piazzolla for this recording, and he does so with considerable skill. All nine works here come across with a pleasant mixture of exotic sound, concert-hall solemnity and a kind of “street smarts.” There are some very well-known pieces on the CD, including Primavera Porteña and Libertango, and they have a freshness here, thanks to the unexpected instrumentation, that shows them in a new light and further affirms the appropriateness of their place in “high” music despite the decidedly “low” origin of the tango itself. The Concerto para Quinteto comes across particularly well in this performance – these are musicians who are clearly comfortable with each other as well as with their individual instruments, and there is a relaxed, jazz-ensemble feeling to their performances despite the fact that these are not pieces played extemporaneously. All the works here are worth hearing – the others are Revirado, Escualo, Oblivion, Prepárense, Kicho and Buenos Aires Hora Cero. Williams’ arrangements sometimes try a bit too hard to make sure that each performer gets front-and-center attention and that, when the group plays together, everyone is balanced equally against everyone else. This is excellent camaraderie but can result in arrangements that are a bit too cautious not to overdo the sound of any specific instrument. This is a quibble, though, and some listeners will actually like the disc more because of the neat ensemble balance and the careful way the arrangements make just about equal room for everyone. The CD is short – 47 minutes – but long enough to give listeners a strong sense of the quality of Piazzolla’s music and the effectiveness of hearing it on instruments other than those for which it was originally composed.
Here is some quotes from another review on this CD by Fanfare Magazine:
The CD can be directly ordered at this site by visiting here.
Here is an interview I did with members of enhake and Libby Larsen for WFSQ 91.5FM in Tallahassee, FL in 2010. We discuss the creative process of commissioning and our collaborative endeavor on a piece Ms. Larsen wrote for our ensemble, Rodeo Queen of Heaven (2010). We later premiered the work at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall and performed the work in many important festivals and venues. We also recorded the work for Naxos, which was later selected as "Music US Choice" by BBC Music Magazine and MusicWeb International among other. The work was also the topic for my doctoral treatise entitled "Rodeo Queen Of Heaven (2010): Libby Larsen's Fusion Of Chants And Clarinet's Unique American Voice."
The final movement, Rondo, from my recording of Devienne's Clarinet Sonata No. 2 will be aired on Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Classical Drive today. This CD has been featured on ABC numerous times in the past and was even featured as CD of the week. They pick some really fantastic selections, and I am honored that they frequently have my work broadcasted.
For a limited time only, I am also sharing the entire sonata available for stream here. If you like them, please consider ordering a copy of the CD from my store.
The following article appeared on the official blog of the International ClarinetFest 2014 following my performance/lecture with enhakē at the ClarinetFest in Baton Rouge, LA. The article is written by my wonderful colleague Dr. Tim Phillips, clarinet professor at Troy University.
On Saturday at 10:00 AM in the Black Box Theater, clarinetist Wonkak Kim and his chamber ensemble enhakē presented a lecture entitled “Exploring New Opportunities with Mixed Chamber Ensembles.” The ensemble consisted of Kim, violinist M. Brent Williams, cellist Katherine Geeseman Decker, and pianist Grace Eunhye Choi. (It should be noted that Choi is not a regular member of the group, but was filling in for one member who had recently had a child.)
The lecture began with the group performing the Breakdown Tango by John Mackey. This work was originally composed for Antares (formerly Elm City Ensemble) and has been performed by them at least 100 times. After the performance, Kim presented some “trivia” information about the group. He indicated that they met when they were students at Florida State University, hence the name of the group. Enhakē actually means “sound” in the Seminole language. He then guided the lecture through a series of topics: Disclaimer — things don’t always work out as planned, working with each other, establishing short-term goals, taking advantage of each other, reaching out, taking tangos to Argentina and choros to Brazil, (re)investing in the future, commissions, and recording.
Kim stressed the importance of developing friendships with the members of your chamber group. Of course, as life evolves, it is likely that you will eventually encounter individual changes of location and family circumstances. Yet, these changes do not mean that the ensemble can no longer rehearse and perform. He suggested having a handful of pieces that you return to frequently, allowing the group to really get to know each other as musicians.
Violinist M. Brent Williams explained that he had done several arrangements for the group and they performed two of these arrangements, Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla and a Brazilian choro. They noted that all of these arrangements are available for purchase on their website www.enhake.com. The session ended with the group performing a section of a new piece they recently commissioned from well-known composer Libby Larsen.
Throughout the lecture, Wonkak Kim was engaging and jovial. The other members of the group chimed in occasionally, and their performances were of the highest quality. This session was an excellent contribution to the Clarinetist as Entrepreneur theme of this conference.
–Notes by Timothy Phillips
Timothy Phillips serves as Associate Professor of Clarinet at the John M. Long School of Music at Troy University in Troy, Alabama, and manages Clarinet Corner, weekly program on Troy University Public Radio.
Clarinets will focus attention on John M. Long School of Music
Posted: Wednesday, 26 March 2014
TROY - Clarinet students from the region will descend on Troy University Saturday for the John M. Long School of Music's Clarinet Day.
Designed to bring world-class clarinetists together for a day of teaching and performances, students will attend artist recitals, master classes and end the day by playing in a large clarinet choir.
"We do it to provide an additional inspiring learning experience for our clarinet students and to attract high school clarinet students to the Troy Campus that day," said Dr. Timothy Phillips, an assistant professor of clarinet who organizes the day.
Guest artists for the day are Jon Manasse, who instructs clarinet at Rochester, N.Y.-based Eastman School of Music; Bil Jackson, a professor of clarinet at Vanderbilt University; and Wonkak Kim, of Tennessee Tech University. They will be joined by pianist Eun-hye Grace Choi and Grammy-nominated Susan Grace.
Other Clarinet Day faculty are Katrina Phillips, clarinet instructor at Alabama State University, Jennifer Tinberg and Patricia Crispino, both adjunct clarinet instructors for the School of Music.
Recitals take place at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Choral Room of Long Hall on the Troy Campus, and the final concert will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Long Hall's Band Room. The concerts are free and open to the public.
Sponsors include the Buffet Group USA, Yamaha, Vandoren USA, Rico Reeds, Capitol Music, Art's Music, Sigma Alpha Iota, Kappa Kappa Psi, Troy Family Dentistry, Cupcakes Y'all in Enterprise, the John M. Long School of Music, and Troy University Bands.
Clarinet Day is one of several activities on the Troy Campus on Saturday, which is Spring Preview Day for prospective students. Also scheduled is the annual T-Day Game, other sporting events, an Alumni Reception, the Journalism Awards Banquet and the TROY Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Here is an article from The Greenville Sun published on February 23, 2013 about my student Sarah McMichen on her recent win at the Maryville College Concerto Competition. Sarah was featured as a soloist with the orchestra performing Weber's Concertino.
Sarah McMichen Featured Soloist In March 4 Concert
MARYVILLE - The Orchestra of Maryville College will present a "Showcase of Area Artists" on March 4, with Greeneville's Sarah McMichen to be one of eight soloists.
McMichen will perform Concertino for Clarinet in E flat Major, op. 26 by Carl Maria von Weber.
McMichen is the daughter of John McMichen and Cynthia Tannert and is a freshman at Tennessee Technological University, where she is studying clarinet under Dr. Wonkak Kim.
Previously, McMichen studied under Randall Misamore.
She is a member of the TTU Clarinet Society, the TTU Wind Ensemble, the TTU Marching Band and the TTU Clarinet Quartet.
She previously was a member of the Knoxville Youth Jazz Orchestra, the Symphony of the Mountains Youth Orchestra and the East Tennessee Youth Wind Ensemble.
In 2012, she attended the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and she participated in the Tennessee All-State Jazz Band and TTU Festival of Winds and Percussion.
In 2011, she attended the Governor's School for the Arts. She participated in the Tennessee All-State Concert Band in 2010 and 2011.
Conductor Bill Robinson will lead the orchestra in a performance of concerto works at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 4, in the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre of the Clayton Center for the Arts on the college campus.
The annual Showcase of Area Artists provides a performance opportunity for talented area musicians and features a wide variety of musical styles and instruments.
Artists are selected by a panel of judges during auditions held each December.
A college and community ensemble, the Orchestra at Maryville College brings live symphonic performances to the public stage four times per season.
"The Showcase Concert is the high water mark of what the college orchestra is all about," Robinson said in a press release. "We give young, extremely talented students the rare opportunity to perform as soloists with full symphonic accompaniment. It is the perfect blend of our educational mission, as well as our role of bringing live classical music to our community."
Tickets are available at the Clayton Center Box Office and are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (age 60 and older) and $5 for non-MC students. Tickets are free to MC faculty, staff and students with ID (although a printed ticket is required for admission).
For more information, contact the Division of Fine Arts at (865) 981-8150.
An Article from The Albany Herald, GA published on January 10, 2013
ALBANY, Ga. -- The second concert of a new chamber music series will feature the internationally acclaimed enhake, an ensemble consisting of violin, clarinet, cello and piano, at the Albany Museum of Art at 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Jane and Harry Willson Chamber Music Series is a collaboration of the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the art museum honoring Jane Willson and her late husband for their support of the arts in Southwest Georgia.
Enhake is composed of Korean-born clarinetist Wonkak Kim, cellist Katherine Geeseman, Korean pianist Eun-Hee Park and violinist M. Brent Williams.
The group's 2010 Carnegie Hall recital, Made in America, was lauded for its "rock solid rhythmic integrity ... strengths in balance, intonation and musicality" and described as a "polished, yet spontaneous performance" (The New York Concert Review).
The grand-prize winner of the Yellow Springs (Ohio) Chamber Music Competition (2009), gold medalist of the International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition at Carnegie Hall (2008) and laureate of the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition (2011), enhake regularly performs throughout the world.
A staunch advocate of new music, they collaborate with leading composers such as Libby Larsen, Peter Lieuwen and Edward Knight who have written for and dedicated music to the group. enhake has recorded extensively and can be heard on NPR stations across the country as well as from its CDs on the Emeritus and Naxos labels.
Williams is currently concertmaster of the Albany Symphony, assistant concertmaster of the Tallahassee Symphony and principal second violin of the Valdosta Symphony. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in many concerts in international locales. Williams has been a lecturer of Violin and World Music at Valdosta State University since 2008 where he performs with the Azalea String Quartet and is the director and founder of VSU's Pan-American Ensemble.
A laureate of the Presser Music Award, Kim received over a dozen international prizes and is frequently featured with orchestras and ensembles worldwide. Professor Kim joined the music faculty at Tennessee Technological University in 2011, where he performs as the principal clarinetist of the Bryan Symphony and the Cumberland Quintet. In addition, Kim serves as principal clarinet of the Albany Symphony.
Geeseman has performed extensively as a solo and chamber musician since 2001. She has performed in master classes with Zuill Bailey, Thomas Landschoot, the Miami String Quarter and Wesley Baldwin. Ms. Geeseman has studied under Daniel Morganstern and is now completing her doctoral degree at Florida State University where she studies with Gregory Sauer. Geeseman serves as a principal cellist of the Albany Symphony.
Park is frequently in demand as a soloist, chamber musician and collaborative pianist. Recently joining the faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi, she also teaches at the annual Chapel Hill (N.C.) International Chamber Music Workshop and Southern Miss Piano Institute. She holds her degrees from Florida State University (D.M.), Oklahoma City University (M.M.) and Colorado Mesa University (B.A.)
Enhake's album "Gulfstream" (Naxos) was selected as "Music US Choice" by the BBC Music Magazine (March 2012 issue), which also gave it a rave review.
Following the concert, there will be a reception and an opportunity to meet the musicians. Tickets for each individual concert are available for online purchase or at the door and are priced at $20 each with $10 tickets available for students with ID.
The article is from The Oak Ridge Today published on November 2, 2012
Award-winning string quartet plays Saturday
by John Huotari
The award-winning Tesla Quartet will play at Pollard Auditorium in Oak Ridge on Saturday.
The quartet will perform Gyorgy Ligeti’s “Andante and Allegretto” and Carter Pann’s “String Quartet No. 1: Love Letters.”
Korean-born clarinetist Wonkak Kim, a music faculty member at Tennessee Tech University, will join the quartet to play Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Quintet in A Major for Clarinet and Strings.”
It’s the second concert of the season in the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association’s 2012-13 Chamber Music Series. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
ORCMA said the young quartet won a gold medal at the 2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and third prize in the 2012 London International String Quartet Competition. A quartet-in-residence at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the group has performed in Austria, Canada, and England, as well as the United States.
The quartet formed at the Juilliard School in 2008, quickly establishing itself as one of the most promising young ensembles in New York, the press release said. Quartet members are violinists Ross Snyder and Michelle Lie, violist Megan Mason, and cellist Kimberly Patterson.
The Tesla Quartet’s performances have been praised as “technically superb,” “full of urgency, color and subtle dynamics,” and as “a master class in quartet technique,” the release said.
It said Kim has captivated audiences around the globe. He has received praise from reviewers for “excellent breath control and fine command of his instrument,” “lyrical musicality and supple tone,” and “impressive range.” Since his solo debut in 2007 with the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic, Kim has performed in hundreds of venues on four continents.
The Tennessee Arts Commission is a co-sponsor of this and other ORCMA Chamber Series concerts.
For ticket information, visit the ORCMA website at www.orcma.org or call the ORCMA office at (865) 483-5569. A reserved seat ticket costs $25 ($12 for students).
Becky Ball’s program notes for the concert are on the ORCMA website, and the Tesla’s website is www.teslaquartet.com.