Chamber Music in Santa Fe & CMS National Conference

This past weekend, I visited Santa Fe, NM for the first time for a concert with enhake as well as our performance/presentation at the College Music Society's National Conference. The town was truly beautiful, and the wonderful weather only made the trip even more pleasant. There were many elements of challenges, however, as it was our first time flying with our 5-month old daughter. Fortunately, she was an incredible baby all throughout, and we were able to survive some pretty hectic schedule. 

New Mexico Museum of the Art

CMS Conference Performance at St. Francis Auditorium at the Museum

Post Concert Picture with enhake

As a part of our presentation on Thursday, I performed enhake a program entitled "Mixed Quartet inspired by the American Southwest." It featured three compositions: Gulfstream by Peter Lieuwen, Red Vesper by David Biedenbender, and Rodeo Queen of Heaven by Libby Larsen. 

Another great perk about this trip was getting to hang out with my wonderful colleagues and friends. enhake boasts an increasingly growing family, and it was very special to see our babies all gathered together! We enjoyed some great sight-seeing, fine dining experience, and many shops all over the downtown. Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi was particularly impressive with its interesting history, many notable relics, etc.  

enhake family getting things together after a lunch

What a surprise to find this plaque at Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

Our evening recital at the Southwest Arts was quite satisfying, and we were thrilled to have Peter Lieuwen and David Biedenbender attend our concert. 

Post recital picture of enhake with David and Peter

Bargemusic - Tokyo to New York 2016 Series

Bargemusic overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge on a rainy afternoon

I had a great pleasure of being a part of the Tokyo to New York 2016 Series at Bargemusic, NYC. It was busy schedule catching up with some old friends, meeting with new colleagues and making some wonderful music. 

I collaborated with the clarinetist Thomas Piercy, and we only had few hours to put together a very challenging work called "Duo Capriccioso" by Hidemi Miaki. Despite the time constraint, I was very happy with the soundscape we created playing this wonderful work. 

A view from Tom's apartment never fails to inspire.

The performance at Bargemusic was very special for its wonderful view overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline along with the occasional turbulences that passing by boats through at the "floating concert hall." It was great to play for a full house of enthusiastic audience, and I was thrilled to see that so many people who genuinely support the creation/performance of new music. I certainly look forward to the opportunity to return to this wonderful venue in near future. 

Photo from the sound check at Bargemusic (credit: Junya)

A view of the Brooklyn Bridge right outside of Bargemusic

Messiaen in Korea

Playing Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time with Mirus Trio at IBK Hall's Sold-Out Recital

I had a great time working with the wonderful musicians and friends of Mirus Trio, a fabulous group based in Seoul. The cellist of the group, Jayoung, is my longtime friend and fellow founding member of enhake, and she has been teaching and performing in Seoul since she moved back to Korea several years ago. They kindly invited me to perform Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, and every minute of the rehearsel was much fun. 

Post Recital Picture with Mirus Trio 

We had our first run-through performance at TLI Hall in Seongnam City couple days ago before our important concert at Seoul Arts Center. I was amazed at the superior acoustics of the SAC's beautiful IBK Chamber Hall. The hall seats about 800 people, and our concert was completely sold-out and packed. It was not difficult to stay inspired throughout this grueling work, and I very much look forward to our upcoming collaborations.

Incidentally, this happened to be my 60th performance of this monumental work! 

Post Recital Picture with Mirus Trio 

Visiting Busan

Master Class at Silla University in Busan, South Korea

I had a brief but very memorable trip to Busan, thanks to my wonderful friend and colleague Dr. Useon Bryan Choi who organized a series of master classes for me. I have never visited this incredible city since when I lived in Korea in the 90s and things have changed completely since then. The nighttime scene of the port city was spectacular, and I very much enjoyed the view from my hotel!

A refreshing view from my hotel room

At a famous location for picture taking!

Students were dedicated and hard working. The younger students from the Busan Arts Middle and High schools uniformly had great technique and bought in highly technical works by composers such as Weber and Spohr. While it was impressive to see what these young students could do, I was a bit concerned with their lack of fundamentals and broader understanding of the music they practice so hard. My schedule was very compressed (with some of the most exhausting classes I've ever taught), and I hope the time we spent together was helpful. I was also grateful to many of the local clarinet instructors who came out and introduced themselves. I look forward to our future exchanges, and we already made a plan for me to return next summer. 

Dr. Choi's students at the Silla University also played very well, and I wish them my very best!

More Spohr... 

Silla University Student Master Class

Many thanks to Silverstein Works who sponsored my master class in Busan

A student's parents took me and some of the teachers out to dinner. Super fresh Korea-style sashimi is difficult to describe in words! I also enjoyed various delicacies in Busan with a great company.

Hwal-uh-Hoeh (Korean-style Sashimi)

Mil-myun (flour noodles served cold)

Desert with Ice Coffee

Desert with Ice Coffee

2016 Troy University Clarinet Day

With Guest Artists of the 2016 Troy University Clarinet Day

Attending Troy University Clarinet Day has become an annual tradition for me and Grace since we were first invited as guest artists two years ago. I love seeing my wonderful colleague and friend Tim as well as his family. It is also a great perk to meet some amazing clarinetists who travel much farther distances than us (we certainly should not complain about our 6-hour drive when we have someone traveling from South Africa!). This year, it was particularly nice to catch up with Raphael Sanders from SUNY Potsdam and Maria Du Toit, the clarinetist from South Africa who now resides in Netherlands. I also had a great pleasure of finally meeting the renowned studio artist and master mouthpiece craftsman, James Kanter! It was very humbling to hear some very nice compliments from Jim, and I got a very precious mouthpiece that he recently crafted. 

Many thanks to Dr. Phillips for inviting me to play Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto with Troy University Clarinet Choir, which was actually the North American Premiere of this particular arrangement by Guy Dangain. Thanks to Dr. Benjamin Fraley for his fabulous drum solo in the concerto and making the performance so much fun!

Matt Vance, a wonderful friend, from Buffet Crampon

With Jim Kanter

University of Northern Iowa Reed Day

I had my first visit to Iowa, being a part of the University of Northern Iowa Reed Day. Kudos to Dr. Amanda McCandless and her wonderful students for organizing such excellent event. I enjoyed working with her clarinet studio and playing a guest recital with my wonderful pianist friend, Esther Park, who jumped in at the last minute, playing some Verdi/Bassi, Debussy, and Cahuzac with me. What an impressive facilities they have! It was also great pleasure to meet guests for other studios and their teachers. Returning home much inspired!

UNI Music Building

Post Recital Dinner with other Guest Artists

Studio Trip to NYC

TTU Clarinet Studio at Lincoln Center

I worked very hard with some of my exceptional students and officers of the TTU Clarinet Studio to plan for our 3-day trip to New York City during the spring break of 2015. Our proposal for TTU's URECA Grant was approved, and we received $5,000 to cover our students' airfare, hotel lodging and other expenses. In addition, our students successfully carried out various successful fund-raising campaigns, virtually making the trip fully funded. In the end, twelve students from TTU Clarinet Studio joined in the trip, made of whom have never been to NYC. Thanks to additional sponsorship and support by my colleagues at Buffet Crampon and Vandoren, our students had some tremendous musical opportunities during their stay. 

Freshman Clarinet Quartet performing at the Buffet Showroom NYC

Boris Allakhverdyan Master Class

Listening to a presentation by David Gould

Vandoren Musician's Advisory Studio

Boris Allakhverdyan, the principal clarinetist of Met Opera and newly appointed principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, spent two hours with several of our students giving master classes and coaching at the Buffet Crampon Showroom NYC. Not only we enjoyed many insights Boris shared with us, our students were thrilled to hear him later that evening at Met Opera's production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. I also took the studio to Vandoren's Studio on the 54th St., where students got to learn a great deal about the production process of reeds and mouthpieces and try them out. The final evening was spent on attending NY Philharmonic concert where they performed Brahms's German Requiem. What a musically enriching spring break for everyone it was!

A short stop by at Carnegie Hall

Students getting ready to see Mozart's Marriage of Figaro at Met

Our students after NY Phil Concert at David Geffen Hall

In numerous occasions, I served as a tour guide to our students, taking them to various landmarks of NYC and fun. More importantly, we ventured into some of my favorite stops to eat in Manhattan, including Shake Shack and Totto Ramen. 

Being happy at Shake Shack!

Some struggle in using chopsticks at Totto Ramen where they don't have forks, etc.

TTU Clarinet Studio's last minute lunch together in NYC before heading back to La Guardia

Colorado and Utah Tour with Enhake

I just came back from a very much anticipated tour of Colorado and Utah with the enhake family! Since starting as a graduate chamber ensemble eight years ago, we have grown into an entourage of wonderful family and friends (three enhake babies as of now and two more coming very soon!). For this trip, All our spouses and babies were traveling with us except for Katie's. We first met up in Durango, Co, where our violinist Brent is the Professor of Violin at Fort Lewis College. We got to spend wonderful winter break here last time around, everything was a bit more familiar. Our concert and master class all went very well, and we really enjoyed some remarkable restaurants and shops in downtown Durango. 

enhake at St. Mark's Recital Series

Post Recital Dinner

Post Recital Dinner

After our Durango residency, we drove up through the beautiful Colorado River to north. We made a stop at Arches National Park (although we did not have enough time to see the famous Arch, especially with couple of infants and my pregnant wife!) on our way to Grand Junction, CO. Everything was out of this world to me, and I was much refreshed despite long drives and tight schedule.

enhake at Arches National Park, CO

With my family!

We were greeted with beautiful weather when we arrived in Grand Junction. Enhake actually was invited here many years ago when the university was called Mesa State College, and returning here with our new cellist Katie and families was quite special. The incredibly scenic view of the Monument throughout this small town was still very impressive. We met our old friends and some fantastic new faculty members at school and had lots of fun playing the recital, etc.

Colorado Mesa University's Performing Arts Center

We were advertised on the baseball field screen!

Colorado Mesa University's Colorful Hall

We drove through Salt Lake City to finally arrive in our final destination, Logan, UT. The weather was not good, and the driving was rather perilous. We arrived in Logan very late and was much relieved to settle in. Our host and friend Nick Morrison and Lesley showed around the impressive campus surrounded my the mountains, and we presented our workshop called "Entrepreneurship in Arts and Music" to Utah State University's students. Our recital was presented by Chamber Music Society of Logan, a prestigious series boasting some of the great chamber music ensembles of our time. A great privilege for us, indeed! It was one of my favorite performing venues that I've played recently, and I was glad to see a fantastic Fazioli at the hall. 

Another successful tour with enhake, and now it is time to go back to teaching.

enhake at Chamber Music Society of Logan

enhake at Utah State University

Our instruments for tonight

Post concert picture

TAMU Residency - September 2015

TAMU Department of Performance Studies

Kim-Choi Duo spent a wonderful weekend of September in College Station, TX, giving a recital, lecture and masterclasses to highly energetic group of Aggies! We brought with us some of our newly learned repertoire including Peter Lieuwen's Bright River and Bernstein Sonata as well as our old favorites such as Devienne's Sonata and Martinu's Sonatina. It was great to play Bright River for Peter at his own university. 

Kim-Choi Duo performing at the Rudder Theatre

The following day, both of us gave master classes for clarinet and piano students. I particularly enjoyed collaborating with the TAMU Department of Anthropology for my lecture entitled "The Influence of Traditional Korean Music on Contemporary Music." I have had a number of opportunities since graduate school to explore this particular topic and felt both comfortable and sufficiently informed to give a short lecture. Since the majority of the audience did not have formal musical background, I focused on two particular examples where the Traditional Korean Music and Western Contemporary music intersect: the musical borrowing of famous (and very pleasant) Korean traditional melodies such as Arirang, and more intricate but subtle adaptation by composers such as Isang Yun (mainly through the concept of "Hauptton"). I was able to give some demonstration showcasing various unfamiliar but fascinating musical practices in Korean tradition. I am intrigued by the potential in this fusion and look forward to investigating this topic further. 

Brown Bag Lunch Lecture 

Parallel between the Eastern calligraphy and the concept of Korean music

Taoist principles in Korean traditional music

Demonstrating modern techniques that emulate practices in Korean traditional music 

Our friend Peter was such a gracious host and invited us for the evening at his incredible estate. We had marvelous time enjoying his beautiful lake and talked about some more collaborative projects to come!

Our friend Peter had this beautiful private lake behind his house. The dock floats around!

Our friend Peter had this beautiful private lake behind his house. The dock floats around!

Some high-speed exploration!

Some high-speed exploration!

ICA ClarinetFest 2015 Madrid, Spain

It was a great privilege to be invited to perform at the 2015 ClarinetFest in Madrid, Spain. I spent a week of July in this beautiful city, meeting some amazing clarinetists and friends, playing great music, and enjoying plenty of sightseeing. My recital featured two American works for clarinet and piano: Leonard Bernstein's Clarinet Sonata and Peter Lieuwen's new work, Bright River (2014), with this performance being the official European Premiere. I was thrilled to be joined by my friend Sasha from London. 

After the recital with pianist Sasha

Excerpts from my ClarinetFest recital prepared by Silverstein Works

Grand Entrance to Conde Duque

I was also delighted that Peter (the composer) flew all the way with his wonderful wife attended our concert with his nephew who happened to be living in Madrid. It was the first time Peter heard Bright River being performed. I am looking forward to see him again during my residency at Texas A&M University in College Station, TN in September where I will perform this work again. 

Post recital dinner at a local restaurant, where I had a kangaroo burger!

Despite my unfamiliarity with this part of Europe, there was something very elegant yet approachable in this city. A great deal of vibrancy and wonderful foods...

View from my room in Madrid

Due to a last-minute absence by a clarinetist in KoMo Clarinet Quartet, I was invited to fill in the spot for their concert at the end of the week. I not only got to play some fun music, but was very fortunate to become good friends with Useon, Geonju and Maxine, all wonderful musicians and people!

@Madrid Conservatory with the members of Komo Quartet

Dinner at an extremely fancy restaurant in downtown with my friends from Silverstein Works, Calvin and BK (CEO and President) 

with Karl Leister

Among many other things I got to do in Madrid, the visit to Muso Prado singularly stands out. The museum houses some of the greatest works that are familiar to us. I was more impressed by its unique organization and distinct taste of the Spanish monarchs who curated the selections throughout past many centuries.

Muso Nacional del Prado

Special 10-piece Picasso Exhibit @ Museo Prado