I first met Attacca Quartet back in 2011 at the finalist/winner reception of the Osaka International Competition & Festa. I was a participant with enhake in the Festa division, and I remember meeting Attacca who was the 1st prize winner of the chamber music competition. It is a small world, because I then got to see them again and play together at Norfolk Summer Music Festival only few months later. This time, I invited them over to my university's Center Stage Series, where we collaborated on Mozart Clarinet Quintet. I was only to happy to play this all-time favorite with such exciting group of musicians and friends. Playing this for the first time on basset clarinet was an added bonus. Here is a brief clip from our run-through, and I hope to post the performance video here soon:
The incredibly busy week is almost over. Now I am headed to NYC for a performance at Bargemusic and take care of few businesses and back for the Bryan Symphony Concert on Sunday...
Spending the first week of June each year in Chapel Hill with chamber music enthusiasts from various parts of the country (and around the world!) has long become an essential part of my summer. Catching up with the phenomenal faculty colleagues as well as exploring a vast number of chamber music literature with highly dedicated participants are among the most inspiring moments I get to enjoy. It was also fun to be joined by the Larchmere String Quartet, this year's young artists ensemble, and we had great time performing Mozart's Clarinet Quintet for an incredible group of audience on the first evening of the workshop.
Each year, I am both amazed and invigorated by what our participants manage to achieve. Mostly comprised of highly successful individuals in their own fields (and many who are retired), they display not only an impressive degree of technical and musical proficiency but a true understanding of the intrinsic communication through chamber music. The long hours of coaching, rehearsals, and of course our famous "marathon" concerts are exhausting, but I always end up wishing that the week did not end.
Working with adult amateur musicians poses many different challenges than what I normally encounter with my own students. Serving past six years as a faculty member at the workshop enlightened me various ways to articulate musical ideas without being too technical and creative means to overcome problems and mediate differences. My aspiration of helping our participants (many of them now good friends) through musical journey is always realized by their hard-work and positive feedback. Below is an excerpt from a truly gratifying email I received a few days ago from one of the participants whom I share a great deal of mutual respect:
"I have always enjoyed both listening to you – your extraordinary musicianship is complemented by a beautiful sound that truly exemplifies the “open inner embouchure” Don [Oehler, also my formal teacher] is fond of talking about – and your coaching. You always wish to get the most out of the players you work with (even when constrained by the most rudimentary of performance problems such as those I have been plaque with, certainly in past years) yet you never give up trying to make everyone do their best. You apologized one day for not wanting to make the sessions like a conservatory, but that is exactly what makes you so effective: you just have only one high standard."
More than ever, I am fully convinced at the immense power of chamber music to connect people and bring the best out of our collective mind. I am thrilled at the prospect of continue sharing this experience with many people I will meet through performing, teaching, and listening.
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.