Buffet-Crampon Artist

My own Buffet Artist poster!

I am excited to announce that for the first time in my career, I officially became an "artist" of some sort! Partnering with Buffet Group USA, the North American Division of the famous Buffet-Crampon Paris, I am invited to join a handful of remarkable clarinetists and colleagues in the company's artist roster. It is a great privilege to be associated with this prestigious company dating back to 1825.

A letter from the CEO of Buffet Group USA (and the good old Buffet swap) - some more goodies came in, and the pictures are posted below.

My first clarinet was Buffet B-12, a friendly horn made of plastic (or ABS resin, to be more precise) purchased by my parents when we were in Korea. Those were the times when I used to leave the instrument on top of my shelf fully assembled until the next time I had to use it. Each time I picked it up, I could see a clear circle on the shelf free from dust accumulated over many weeks. That instrument served me well for years to come all the way through the marching band years in high school. After graduating high school, it went to a friend of our family whose son just began to learn the clarinet. I wish I still had it...

When I came to the US with my family, I started playing in a public high school band program with great enthusiasm. I soon met my first teacher, Ken Lee, renowned for his successful private studio in Northern Virginia. With the clarinet becoming increasingly important part of my life, we both agreed that I needed a professional level instrument. Under Lee's guidance, I ended up getting a Buffet Festival and soon purchased an A clarinet, too (also Festival). Those remarkable horns made it so easy for me to explore clarinet's incredible range of dynamic and color and helped me to discover my life-long passion for music. While it took many more years until I decided to pursue a musical career, they certainly provided the foundation for my future path.

The back cover of my Rose 32 Etudes with the "Clarinet Family Tree" inscription by Don Oehler

When I came to the UNC-Chapel Hill as a Freshman, one of the first things that my teacher Donald Oehler did for me was to draw the "Clarinet Family Tree" (shown above). Oehler explained that our modern clarinet came into existence as a result of the collaboration among Theobald Boehm, Hyacinth Klosé, and Louis-Auguste Buffet. We (like the vast majority of American clarinetists) use the "Boehm" system, study Klosé's Méthod, and play Buffet clarinets everyday (Ironically Oehler plays Selmer clarinets). This left me with a deep impression, and my faith in Buffet's legacy and instruments was permanently engraved. 

There are extensive resources about the early endeavors and patents available now, and I wanted to share the following excerpts from Eric Hoeprich's The Clarinet (p. 172):

"Here Buffet allows us an insight into the concerns of a modern instrument-maker, reflecting the needs of clarinet players at the mid-nineteenth century. An absolute evenness of scale, perfect intonation, and a lack of technical difficulties were the qualities sought after by the modern instrument makers and clarinetists by the 1840s. There can be no doubt this is exactly what Buffet achieved. In creating his clarinet á annex mobiles Buffet vastly improved Müller's instrument, and it was not without a certain, possibly justifiable, arrogance, that he wrote:

"This invention does not consist only of the addition of rings but also of the manner and orderliness of the design, for a small change is enough to create an instrument that is superior to the old one, but it would still be inferior to mine."

Buffet Artist mug and folder

And some more goodies...

A fancy Buffet banner now hangs on my office wall

I now play exclusively on one of Buffet's newest inventions, Tosca Green Line. I purchased the set while at graduate school studying with Frank Kowalsky. At certain point, I knew this is what I really wanted to do, and I spontaneously drove to Jacksonville Buffet Factory to choose my new instruments out of about 15 pairs. The improved key work, intonation, and durable material base makes the instrument an ideal companion for my daily musical adventures. I feel completely dependable and feel a degree of pride in carrying out this great tradition since the time of Buffet and Klosé. 

I host the Clarinet Day at Tech each year with a strong presence from Buffet Group USA. Among pictured above are my former teacher Donald Oehler, Buffet Southeast Representative Donnie Todd, and the fellow Buffet Artist Todd Waldecker. 

QEP Excellence Award in Innovative Instruction

with TTU Provost Ghorashi 

I am very honored to be a recipient of the QEP Excellence Award for Innovative Instruction for my project during 2013-14. I first came across the QEP during my first year at Tennessee Tech when I attended the new faculty orientation. This program was implemented in early 2000s by TN Board of Regents and provides a significant amount of funding to encourage innovative instructional projects. The goal is to help students cultivate critical thinking, real-world problem solving, and communication skills. I have received funding from QEP for the past three consecutive years (over $10,000) that made several dream projects come into reality. Here are some examples, and you can read more about them here:

  • "Cultivating Musical Entrepreneurship through Chamber Music Ensembles"
  • "Reed-Making Workshop"
  • "How to Develop and Maintain Successful Private Studios" (to be implemented during 2014-15)

My foremost goal as a teacher is to help students develop the highest standards of musicianship and proficiency. But I also strongly believe that we need to do more:

  • Providing opportunities and seed projects for students to become self-driven 
  • Teaching all aspects of music entrepreneurship, including programming, publicity, fund-raising, soliciting, development, etc.
  • Giving students exposure to all available resources, technology, and cutting-edge ideas
  • Helping students develop specific goals for the next decade and long-term vision for the future
  • Instilling a sense of responsibility and vocation for their lives as musicians, educators, and entrepreneurs
  • Helping them to build their professional network early on 
  • The list is endless and is keep growing...

I feel very fortunate that my own teachers showed me many great examples back in school. I hope I can do the same. There are many challenges ahead for students pursuing musical career, but I am also genuinely excited for the tremendous opportunities awaiting them. 

Who doesn't like being given a plaque (and a $1,000 cash incentive)?

Reubin O'D Askew Young Alumni Award

Pictured at the 2014 Young Alumni Awards Dinner (left to right): Shayne Mifsud, Kevin Garvey, Wonkak Kim, Donna Lou Askew, Layla Dowdy, Carisa Champion-Lippmann and FSU Interim President Garnett Stokes.

I feel both incredibly honored and humbled to be one of the six recipients of the Florida State University's Reubin O'D Askew Young Alumni Award:

"The Florida State University Alumni Association’s Thirty Under 30 Award was created to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of FSU’s young alumni. Each recipient must show exceptional achievement and significant contributions to his or her profession, community/society or university. The recipient must exemplify outstanding professional and personal development either through traditional channels or innovative approaches.

"Up to six honorees may be chosen to also receive the Reubin O'D. Askew Young Alumni Award by members of the FSU Alumni Association National Board of Directors' Awards Committee. The Askew Award, presented for the first time in the spring of 2012, is the highest honor bestowed upon young alumni by the Alumni Association. "


The most exciting part was to meet with and get to know the fellow awardees and other Thirty under 30 inductees. They all had amazing stories to share, and the reception dinner was one inspiring evening! I look forward to continue making the best out of my career for many decades to come. I also feel immensely proud to be a Nole!

FSU Grads Made Good at FSU Alumni Center

Since I was in Tallahassee, I drove by the old apartment I used to live while in grad school. Nostalgia...

Alumni Dinner Reception. Nice food, isn't it?

Some goodies I get to keep!

A student named Tennessee state winner of the MTNA Young Artist Woodwind Competition!

Sarah McMichen, a freshman clarinet performance major in my studio, was named the winner of the 2014 MTNA Young Artist Competition in Tennessee. Her program included Weber's Clarinet Concerto No. 2, Poulenc's Clarinet Sonata, Sutermeister's Capriccio for Solo Clarinet, and Saint-Saëns' Clarinet Sonata. She competed among 12 undergraduate and graduate students from all over the state of Tennessee. She is set to perform at the Southern Division Competition in Louisville, KY in January 2014.    

Source: http://www.tnmta.org/admin/resources/mtna-...

A student to be featured as a soloist with Maryville Orchestra

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.

Source: http://www.greenevillesun.com/news/sarah-m...

[Press Clipping] Fanfare Magazine Interview - WONKAK KIM PLAYS THE MUSIC OF FRANÇOIS DEVIENNE

Issue 35:6 July/August 2012 Fanfare


by Maria Nockin

Wonkak Kim is clarinet professor at Tennessee Technological University; when he speaks you can tell how much he loves teaching. He plays numerous solo engagements with various orchestras and holds the position of principal clarinet in a symphony orchestra, and he plays with a chamber group called Enhake. I spoke with him on a Saturday when he was not teaching but was working in his office. For a musician, there are no weekends off.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I was born in Seoul, Korea. I grew up there and briefly moved to Paris before coming to the States in 2000. I came here as a ninth grader and spent a couple of years in northern Virginia. That was a time of learning for me in a great many ways. I was learning English and I started to study clarinet at that time with an incredible teacher and mentor, Kenneth Lee. Like many children in Korea, I had begun my musical education with piano when I was very young. My mother is quite artistic, so she saw to that aspect of my education. I was exposed to a great deal of classical music at home in Seoul, but I did not have any serious musical training until I came to the United States. After I came here, I very seldom listened to anything but classical music. Although it may not be a totally good thing, I simply cannot listen to non-classical music for pleasure. The music I listen to now is often very abstract or by Bach. I love his suites and partitas. I also love to listen to piano sonatas. Actually, there are times when I force myself to listen to some mainstream popular music that I think I need to be aware of, but for enjoyment, it’s strictly classical music for me.

Q: Why did you choose clarinet?

A: I did not choose it myself. My mother suggested it to me and I was very fortunate to be able to study with the best teacher in my area when I moved to northern Virginia.

Q: How old were you when you first played in public?

A: Since my first teacher, Kenneth Lee, had many opportunities for his students to play, I took advantage of that. I played competitions and recitals at the regional and state levels. After one year of instruction, when I was 16, I played in public for the first time. If I inherited any talent, it is probably from my mother. She is very artistic. For one thing, she is a visual artist. She contributed her original paintings for both my Naxos CDs. For the Devienne, she had to mentally create the period costumes and furniture and then paint the likenesses of Eun-hye Grace Choi and myself into the picture. She told me that it was quite a difficult task. I look forward to more collaborations with her. She loves the fact that I play clarinet and it really is the best thing I’ve ever done. When an instrument is right for you, you tend to progress quickly. When you are very young, your parents or teachers might have to make sure you practice even if it is not enjoyable, but that is only while you are developing preliminary skills. It is much more difficult to obtain those skills when you are older. However, if you always have to be pushed by your parents, you will not get very far in music. It’s really a balance that parent and child have to achieve. By the time youngsters reach college age, the age I teach, they should already have strong motivation and a good bit of self-discipline. I help my students to continually set the highest standards. Successful students use every available time and every possible resource to achieve their goals. I do think that people who have a genuine love for music and a reasonable amount of determination will find a way to contribute to the musical world, no matter what their backgrounds. They will catch up if they have to. Since I did not have extensive training before the age of 15, I later put all my available time into working on fundamental clarinet skills. I still do that every day.

Q: Are you ever concerned with the possibility of physical problems due to repetitive muscle use?

A: Most instruments require very unnatural postures. As wind players, we constantly use our embouchures as well as our fingers. Even if we try to minimize the tension and relax after a few hours of playing, we have to be very careful. I consult a therapist or physician whenever I am involved in an extensive project, such as a recording, which will require a great deal of repetition. That kind of work can be both mentally and physically exhausting. A stress injury is one of the most fearsome problems a musician can confront because it can keep him from playing. It’s important to pay the utmost attention to anything that can cause it. We always have to look toward the long term. As a young player, I look forward to many decades of playing.

Q: Who were your most important teachers?

A: I had three really great teachers and mentors who prepared me for my career: Kenneth Lee, with whom I studied in Virginia; Donald Oehler at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Frank Kowalsky at Florida State University. I did my master’s degree and my doctorate at Florida State University. I also studied with well-known clarinetists, such as David Schifrin and Richard Stoltzman. One of the most rewarding experiences for me was to work with members of the great ensembles, such as the Artis, Brentano, and Tokyo string quartets and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. All of them have influenced my music.

Q: How did you start your solo career?

A: I’ve entered a great many competitions, and they have worked out very well for me. They were one of the best motivations for my work ethic. When I did not have a clear idea of what I wanted to do in music, competitions provided me with a specific list of things to assemble. I believe the process of preparation and participation is the greatest reward that comes from competing. While everyone looks forward to the prizes, the result is simply not in the contestant’s control, even on the best day. Players who end up in the later rounds of competitions are all incredibly good. All of them, I believe, deserve awards. The more competitions I entered, the better chance I had of winning prizes. I entered everything in which I could possibly compete and was sometimes extremely fortunate.

I’ve really been blown away with the talent of my generation. With the availability of websites like YouTube, we can all see the level of talent that is out there. Every day I find a new player with extraordinary talent. I often look to see what the current level of artistry is. That way I get an idea of how much there is to learn. That can be depressing at times, but my only valid comparison is with myself, and my goal is to play better today than I did yesterday. As long as you are open to learning from all the finest players, you are getting better. There is always something new that you can learn from each and every player. That keeps me continuing my career. It really amazes me how good clarinetists are these days.

Q: What will most of your students do when they graduate?

A: Most of them will teach music in elementary and high schools. A few of them will go on to graduate school and become either college instructors or performers. The majority of my students definitely go into education. I worry about the future of classical music because the current trend is not in our favor. I think one of the best ways of reversing that trend is by producing excellent teachers. The easiest way for the general public as a whole to be exposed to classical music is by means of classes in the public schools. That is the way the average person becomes aware of concerts and the enjoyment they can bring. When they enjoy classical music they will want music lessons for their children. Today, the whole trend is to cut back on the arts. All my energy as an educator is dedicated to reversing that trend. I don’t expect many of the children my students teach to become professional musicians. I just want them to be aware of the great works of classical music. With the help of fine music educators in the early grades, it would be possible for the majority of our children to develop an appreciation of it and enjoy it. My aim is to produce great music teachers. While it is true that musical organizations can help fill the gaps left by the schools, my hope is that the public will eventually realize the importance of the arts and put greater emphasis on teaching music. Music is absolutely necessary core education. We can easily show that with empirical data. I do believe we can look forward to a brighter future for classical music if we are diligent and passionate in showing the benefits of music education. We need good courses and fine teachers in all the arts in the public schools.

Q: Where did the members of Enhake get together?

A: We formed the ensemble while we were studying at Florida State. I’ve been playing with them for more than four years now. Competitions were the main force driving us at the beginning. They gave us our goals, and we were very successful in achieving them. The prizes we won gave us recognition and a starting ground. We went on tour to Central America, South America, and the Pacific. We played in Costa Rica, Brazil, Korea, and Japan. Because we are an unusual group of instruments, we play mostly modern music. There is not that much music written for that instrumentation. We actually got together for the first time to play Messaien’s Quartet for the End of Time. Since then, we’ve been exploring little-known music and commissioning new works.

Q: How is air travel with a clarinet?

A: It’s actually quite good. Almost everyone seems to recognize the clarinet case. It is amusing to see that some Transportation Security Administration officers actually want to show off that they know what it is. That makes my life a lot easier. Only once in Japan did some of them think it was a questionable device. They made me take it out and explain each part. On the whole I’ve not had nearly as much trouble as other players I know. Cellists, whose instruments get their own seats, have the most trouble, I think. Cellos need odometers on their cases so they can record their frequent flyer miles. At least I don’t have to buy a seat for my clarinet. I do have to be very careful of it, however. It is a wooden instrument and it can easily crack.

Q: What can you tell us about the music on your new Devienne disc?

A: Devienne was a very important teacher. Best known for his flute method, he was a tremendously talented musician who played in France’s leading ensembles. He mastered multiple wind instruments at an early age. It is remarkable, considering that wind prodigies are not nearly as common as violin and piano prodigies. He also wrote many sonatas, mostly for flute. They can also be played by clarinet and bassoon, however. Most of his sonatas tend to be bare, with unfigured bass parts. For this reason many of his pieces need to be fleshed out by publishers. Thus, a great number of his works have not yet been published in playable form. That is not something to be expected because he wrote in the Classical era, not the Baroque. Although Devienne was a contemporary of Mozart, sometimes his writing is almost in Baroque sonata form. It makes me wonder if he occasionally chose to write in an older style. At other times, however, he is fully into the classical style. Once in a while he even seems to range into early Romanticism. Certainly, he was a very creative composer who tried to incorporate both old and new styles into his composition. He gave all his works a great deal of forethought and many ideas that are completely his own.

There are conflicting views on the interpretation of every composer’s music. Sometimes I play Devienne’s music straight with minimal gesture. At other times I just want to have fun and I make his pieces quite romantic. Then I play with a great deal of freedom. My playing on the recording, however, is rather reserved. Both interpretations have their merits. Sometimes the printed page is perfect and all you have to do is play. At other times you can add your personal taste and make great music. On this particular recording I chose to keep my interpretation clean and pure. That does not mean I play the same way at each performance. There are certain ground rules to be followed, of course, but there is no need to play a piece the same way every time. My interpretation is bound to change over time as a result of experience and my personal interpretation. The first recording I made was as a member of Enhake. Since it was made up of modern music that was not easy listening, I was reluctant to give it as a gift. Devienne’s music is far more accessible. It makes me happy to think that I can give this disc to just about anybody.

Q: Where is the best place to get a copy of the Devienne CD?

A: You can get a download of the Naxos album from any major vendor, such as iTunes or Amazon, but you can only get the actual compact disc directly from me at francoisdevienne.org. You can also e-mail me on that site. I would love to speak with anyone who is interested in the CD and the music of Francois Devienne.

Q: Did you write both the English and the French notes that come with the Devienne CD?

A: Yes, as I said earlier, I lived in France for a while. Unfortunately, I am no longer fluent in French, but I was when I lived there. When you are young you learn languages fast, and forget them quickly, too. I wrote the notes in English and did a rough translation into French. Then, I had a native speaker make the necessary corrections.

Q: What can you tell me about Eun-Hye Grace Choi, the pianist on your Devienne recording?

A: Eun-Hye Grace Choi and I are actually an engaged couple. It’s just a very fortunate, wonderful circumstance that we can connect on a personal as well as a musical level. She is both a very good friend and an excellent professional collaborator. This is our first compact disc together and I am looking forward to many more. We’re been brainstorming many different ideas. She started as a composer, but she has maintained the skills she needs to play with others. It is really important that a pianist be open to working with others. I can’t tell you what great perquisites come from having a wonderful pianist as my fiancée. I am tremendously fortunate in having such an incredible lifelong companion and I look forward to our traveling around the world together.

Q: How do you divide your time between teaching and performing?

A: This is my first year teaching here at Tennessee Tech. Usually, my performances are booked over a year in advance, so right now I have an enormous workload. I’m teaching full-time and I’ve a ton of performances. Sometimes I travel three times a month to perform, but I plan on cutting back on some of my performances outside of the university, at least during the academic year. I want to focus more on teaching, but I will still perform regularly. I try to have fun with every aspect of this career and traveling to play is an important aspect of it, even if it is sometimes physically tiring. I did think of having a different career. For a very short time in my life, I thought of going to law school! That idea did not last long, however. I’m happy because I’m doing what I love. It’s the best of all possible scenarios and I am grateful that I can do what I enjoy.

Q: What type of modern technology do you use most often?

A: I like using an iPad for scores. That way I can store as much music as I need without carting bulky books of music around with me. I have performed directly from it a few times, but the fact that it might turn itself off because of some technical failure makes me a little nervous. Recently I found a program called Notions, a Finale-like notation software that I find helpful. I doubt that one could compose a symphony on it, but it is useful for writing exercises for students. My iPad has almost completely replaced my laptop. It really is a matter of what you want to make work for you. I can do everything necessary on the iPad.

Q: What will be on your next CD?

A: It will have the music of German composer, Stephan Krehl, (1864–1924), who lived in Leipzig. He was a composer, teacher, and theoretician. His writings include Traité Général de la Musique (General Treatise on Music) and Théorie de la Musique et de Science de la Composition (Theory of Music and of the Science of Composition). He was a contemporary of Brahms and he wrote beautiful, expressive Romantic music. I will be playing his clarinet quintet with the Tesla Quartet. You can find out more about them at teslaquartet.com. They will also be performing his only quartet.

Q: How do you see the future of classical music?

A: We cannot take anything for granted because, generally speaking, things are not currently headed in the right direction. Besides, most aspects of the trend are not under our control. Everybody in music has to try to connect with the public in some way. There are many ways in which each of us can take part. At this stage of my life, the most important thing I can do is to train public school teachers so that they can work with the next generation. If we can get everyone to know something about classical music, we can get back to where we were one or two generations ago. That would give us a much brighter future. There is a surge of music in many different cultures. Los Angeles is incorporating El Sistema, which is a tremendous success in Venezuela. Across the world in East Asia there is another surge. If we can only introduce the young to classical music, that is enough to get them interested. That interest can become infectious as they grow up and it can remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Source: http://www.fanfaremag.com

[Press Clipping] Guldstream selected as "CD of the Month" by MusicWeb International

MusicWeb International "CD of the Month" - enhake's Gulfstream

By Brian Reinhart

This is a very fine tasting menu of American chamber music for violin, cello, clarinet and piano. Its four works are united by only one common thread - their extremely high quality. We start with a Libby Larsen work from 2010 and work back to Aaron Copland’s Sextet which adds a violin and viola.

The title of Larsen’s Rodeo Queen from Heaven sounds witty, but it’s really based on a different kind of celestial visitor; the inspiration is a hand-painted wooden carving by Arthur Lopez, of the Madonna bearing a gun and wearing a rodeo costume. Larsen’s piece somehow manages to capture the spirit of this: the piano struts about brash cowboy fashion in the opening moments, and snippets of lyrical Americana-type melody are juggled with wit, rhythmic spunk, and maybe a dash of sarcasm. The heart of the work, though, is a central series of modal meditations on more religiously-toned ideas.

Peter Lieuwen - born in Utrecht, raised in New Mexico - contributes Gulfstream, from 2007, a work which “reacts to his aural impression of the Gulfstream [sic] current,” partly inspired by global warming. That kind of description usually means I’ll hate a piece: compositions inspired by global warming? An ocean current can yield aural impressions? Will there be a sequel about air currents depositing Chinese industrial pollution over New Mexico and west Texas? But Lieuwen’s piece does indeed aspire to evoke, for chamber ensemble, the rough-and-tumble of a warm seascape. By and large it succeeds; it’s quite a pleasure to listen to, and some of the quieter passages (as after 2:45) are frankly wonderful, as is the coda.

For me, though, the highlight is Peter Schickele’s quartet of 1982. Schickele is well-known as the brains behind P.D.Q. Bach, the “last and least” of Bach’s sons (1807-1742!); Schickele has “discovered” such P.D.Q. works as the 1712 Overture, Grand Serenade for an Awful Lot of Winds and Percussion, The Short-Tempered Clavier, and a Pervertimento for Bicycle, Bagpipes, and Balloons. Even when he’s writing as himself, Schickele is accustomed to high spirits: among other things, he’s written a tango for four bassoons based on the ‘Tristan chord’ and an Unbegun Symphony, of which there is only a scherzo and finale.

The quartet here is not nearly as silly as that, so don’t get your hopes up (or down). It is good-humored, but in a friendly, neighborly way, like a warm handshake. Its opening evokes rural Americana, with plenty of good folksy tunes, and its centerpiece is a genuinely emotional elegy in muted colors. The finale is Schickele being witty, but not over-the-top; his humor here is along the lines of Haydn, teasing and playful. One would have to be cold-hearted to dislike music as affectionately done as this.

One would probably also have to dislike Aaron Copland, whose Sextet rounds out the recital. This is a reduction of his Second (‘Short’) Symphony, and it is vintage Copland with the composer’s typical language and incisive rhythm. There’s less of the expansive ‘American west’ feel of his populist music, but it is both playful and confident music anyway.

enhake- is an award-winning quartet which is especially active on the contemporary music circuit. The Libby Larsen piece which opens the program was commissioned and premiered (at Carnegie Hall) by the group, and Peter Lieuwen’s Gulfstream is dedicated to them as well. They certainly do the composers proud, and cannot be faulted on any grounds: their advocacy is impassioned and their playing is more or less exemplary (maybe the cellist’s bow clacks a little too harshly in louder passages). The recording is good, but turn up the volume a bit or else - by some odd trick - it sounds as if everyone is seated very far apart from each other. This is for fans of good and enjoyable contemporary chamber music, or American music in general, or for those who want to hear Peter Schickele when he’s not writing the aural equivalent of slapstick.

Source: http://www.musicweb-international.com/clas...

[Press Clipping] Wonkak Kim puts wow power into enhake

Wonkak Kim puts wow power into enhake

FSU quartet takes its name from the Seminole word for sound

Written by Andrea Personett 

He was 15 years old when he began playing the clarinet. Today, at 25, Wonkak Kim has two Carnegie Hall appearances under his belt and has worked with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma.

The award-winning Tallahassee-based musician has dazzled audiences all over the world, garnering high praise. “Sultry, stylized melodies ... impressive range,” The New York Concert Review enthused. “Vibrant enthusiasm; thoughtful artistic ideas,” said FSU alum and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. “Virtuosic and stirring,” the Swiss publication Journal de Morges opined. 

A native of Korea, Won admits he took up clarinet a bit late, “because my mom wanted me to. But, I’ve worked very hard and caught up fast.” That’s an understatement. He has quickly established himself at the forefront of his generation by playing with astounding precision and power. A featured soloist with more than a dozen orchestras, Won has appeared at the Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall and the German Embassy in Washington D.C. He appeared in PBS’s Classical Music and Paintings in South Korea and each year assists the Tallahassee Ballet Company with An Evening of Music and Dance. Won holds dual degrees in mathematics and music from the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill and is completing his doctoral degree at FSU. When he’s away from the concert stage, Won collects antiquarian books. 

Exuberant contemporary sound

Won is also a founding member of enhake. There’s nothing ordinary about this classical chamber ensemble. The name (pronounced in-HA-kee) is the Seminole (Creek) word for “sound” — and it pays subtle homage to the group’s collective alma mater, FSU. Won, M. Brent Williams (violin), Eun-Hee Park (piano) and Jayoung Kim (cello) share a unique approach to music — sensitive, politically conscious and emotionally broad. That approach allows them to per- form pieces from bygone classical eras — although not a lot was written for their distinctive instrumentation — as well as captivating contemporary works.

“We focus on modern compositions and work exclusively with composers who write for our unusual instrumentation,” explains Won. With grants and prize money from competitions, the group has commissioned several of America’s on-the-rise composers to create new works for them.

“There is so little literature available” for this wonderfully balanced ensemble, Won says. Within a year of forming in 2007, enhake played Carnegie Hall for the first time (the four musicians went back for a second Carnegie Hall appearance May 3). “They were absolutely stunning,” said one reviewer. “enhake exhibited confidence, artistry and poise from the moment they walked on stage to the last note of the performance. Their sense of exuberance ... was felt by every member of the audience.”

While the ensemble has performed in many countries and collected many impressive international awards, the four members also give back to its home community as artists-in- residence for the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra.

Recordings by enhake are set to be released through Emeritus and Centaur Records in the coming year, with a Naxos classical label CD due out in 2012. Won will perform a solo recital Sept. 17 at FSU before embarking on a tour of England, Belgium and France in December.

Between those solo concert dates, Won will join the rest of enhake at the Pan Music Festival on Oct. 28 at the Seoul Arts Center (Korea’s Carnegie Hall). The quartet will perform the works of living Korean and American composers.“It’s what we like to do best,” Won says.

Find out more about enhake at www.enhake.com, and learn more about the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra at www.tallahasseeyouthorchestras.com.

For a PDF copy, visit http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/800771/11356099/1300837570817/TLH_8810.pdf?token=gErZ28xL3Xj44nXjBNakw6a8KDk%3D 

Source: http://archive.tallahassee.com/article/201...