Three Famous Classical Musicians Join Forces in San Miguel
By Fredric Dannen
When violinist Chee-Yun Kim talks about her music making, one word keeps coming up: “fun.” A young star of the classical music world (“staggering virtuosity”—American Record Guide; “extraordinary talent”—Strings Magazine), Ms. Kim left her native Seoul at age fourteen to enroll at New York’s Julliard School, after winning all the major competitions in her home country. In the super-competitive environment of Julliard, she continued to stand out. No surprise, then, that Chee-Yun (she prefers to be known by her first name) has poise and self-assurance to burn. Add to those qualities a plentiful supply of glamorous good looks and on-stage friskiness, and the picture is complete. “I have so much energy to burn all the time,” Chee-Yun says. “I love having a good time on stage.”
Chee-Yun, Sutter and Paremski Trio
Fri, Aug 7, 7pm
Sat, Aug 8, 7pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta
Chee-Yun was invited to perform at this year’s San Miguel International Music Festival, in two 7pm concerts at the Teatro Ángela Peralta, on August 7 and 8. Though San Miguel’s summer music festival, now in its 37th year, does feature soloists, its focus has —been on ensemble playing—gave Chee-Yun an idea. Two of her favorite musicians are the cellist Wendy Sutter and the pianist Natasha Paremski. So, at her importuning, all three will be performing together for the first time on any stage, at both concerts. They will play solos, duets, and trios. Since the group has no official name, it is being billed simply as the Chee-Yun/Sutter/Paremski Trio.
“I programmed the concerts to show that we are soloists who love playing chamber music as well,” Chee-Yun says. “I feel lucky to have those two phenomenal musicians on stage with me. Also,” she adds, “we’re really good girlfriends.”
Both Sutter and Paremski are acclaimed soloists in their own right. The Wall Street Journal describes the American-born Sutter as “one of the great leading cellists of the classical stage.” In 2008, the composer Philip Glass wrote “Songs and Poems for Solo Cello” for her, and they recorded the work together, with Glass at the piano. The CD was a smash hit, and for five years, Sutter and Glass were romantically involved. Russian-born pianist Natasha Paremski won the Gilmore Young Artists prize in 2006 at the age of eighteen, and an international career was launched. The American Record Guide has compared her in “temperament and technique” to Argentinean pianist Martha Argerich—as high a complement as can be paid to a pianist.
Chee-Yun and Sutter will open the first concert, on August 7, with the “Passacaglia” by Norwegian composer Johan Halvorsen, a virtuoso showpiece based on the passacaglia from George Frideric Handel’s harpsichord suite in G minor. The work, which sounds like Baroque music on steroids, is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Other highlights of the two concerts will include the Chaconne for solo violin, by Johann Sebastian Bach, and Mily Balakirev’s Islamey, a solo piano work so difficult that Russian composer Alexander Scriabin famously injured his right hand trying to learn it. Each concert will feature one trio — Mendelssohn’s ever-popular Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor on August 7, and Astor Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires on August 8.
Since the Chee-Yun/Sutter/Paremski Trio has no official name as yet, it has been proposed that a suitable name be thought up for the ensemble during its visit to San Miguel, with help from audience members. Chee-Yun likes the idea.
“Sounds like fun,” she says.
Season ticket subscriptions for all eleven concerts, guaranteeing a reserved seat, range in price from US$275 to US$325. Individual tickets to Friday and Saturday concerts are 175/400/525 pesos, depending on seating location. All Wednesday concerts are 200 pesos for open seating, and include a post-concert reception at Bellas Artes. For more information see festivalsanmiguel.com, or call 154 5141. Season tickets are available at the festival office, on the second floor of Bellas Artes. Individual tickets are now on sale at the Ángela Peralta box office.