Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily M. Darrow

World-renowned artists include violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Benjamin Hochman; the St. Lawrence String Quartet; and the Juilliard String Quartet with violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson,
and violinists Joan Kwuon and Hiroko Yajima

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The 2004 Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle series at Bard College presents three concerts in June by world-renowned musicians. The Saturday evening concerts, presented by The Bard Center, begin at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. Admission is $25 ($18 for senior citizens, $5 for students); a series subscription is $60 ($50 for senior citizens).

On Saturday, June 5, violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Benjamin Hochman will perform Debussy’s Sonata in G Minor for Violin and Piano; Schubert’s Impromptu, Op. 90, No. 2 for solo piano; Brahms’s Sonata in G Major for Violin and Piano; Ysaye’s Sonata No. 4 for solo violin; and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 7 in C Minor for Violin and Piano.

"Jennifer Koh is a risk-taking, high-octane player of the kind who grabs the listener by the ears and refuses to let go," says The Strad magazine. "Unlike so many players of this temperament, however, she supports her mesmerizing flights of fancy with a beguilingly silvery tone, fabulous technique, and deadcenter intonation. . . . A scorching talent that should on no account be missed." Koh's repertoire ranges from Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Paganini, and Bartók to Elliott Carter, Steve Reich, Charles Wuorinen, Ornette Coleman, and John Zorn.

Pianist Benjamin Hochman has played recitals at Town Hall in New York, the Spoleto Festival (Italy), the Louvre, and the Jerusalem Music Center, as well as at Lincoln and Kennedy Centers, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. Beginning this fall he will join the Chamber Music Society Two program at Lincoln Center, where he will be heard in concert at the Rose Studio and Alice Tully Hall. He has collaborated in concert with David Soyer, Paula Robison, Miriam Fried, and Ralph Kirshbaum.

On Saturday, June 19, the St. Lawrence String Quartet will perform Ravel’s String Quartet; Beethoven’s String Quartet in E Flat, Op. 127; and the world premiere of Jonathan Berger’s string quartet, "Doubles," commissioned by the Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle.

"A sound that has just about everything one wants from a quartet, most notably precision, warmth, and an electricity that conveys the excitement of playing whatever is on their stands at the moment," writes Allan Kozinn in the New York Times of the St. Lawrence String Quartet. The quartet, whose members are violinists Geoff Nuttall and Barry Shiffman, violist Lesley Robertson, and cellist Christopher Costanza, has established itself among the world-class chamber ensembles of its generation during the past 14 years. The ensemble won both the Banff International String Quartet Competition and the Young Concert Artists Auditions in 1992, launching them on a performing career that has brought them across North and South America, as well as to Europe and Asia.

The final concert of the 2004 series on Saturday, June 26, features the Juilliard String Quartet with violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson, and violinists Joan Kwuon and Hiroko Yajima. The program will feature Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, and a Mozart’s String Quintet in C Major with two violas.

"The Juilliard String Quartet, in its more than 50 years, has made it a point of honor to approach contemporary pieces with the same care and respect as it would established classics, and to approach antique masterworks with the same sense of excitement and adventure it would the newly minted," writes James Oestreich in the New York Times. Quartet members are violinists Joel Smirnoff and Ronald Copes, cellist Joel Krosnick, and violist Samuel Rhodes.

The storybook romance of the coartistic directors of the Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle—Bolivian-born violinist Jaime Laredo and native Texan cellist Sharon Robinson—has, over the past quarter century, been expressed in every facet of their lives. Joyous and sophisticated music-making, both separately and together, has earned them many devoted fans the world over. Combining international careers and a multifaceted home life in Vermont, theirs is a bond of both close personal affection and strong dedication to music. Along with pianist Joseph Kalichstein, Laredo and Robinson form the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, a group that has shared beloved master works and exciting new repertoire with audiences around the world. Laredo and Robinson have received a Grammy nomination for the Two Brahms Sextets CD with Isaac Stern, Cho-Liang Lin, Michael Tree, and Yo-Yo Ma.

With graceful stage presence and a passionate musicality, American violinist Joan Kwuon has captured the acclaim of audiences and critics both in the United States and Europe. She has performed extensively as a soloist with orchestras and in recitals on such stages as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, St. David’s Hall, and Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood. Kwuon, who advocates for breast cancer awareness and research, is the founder of the nonprofit organization Artists for Breast Cancer Survival, which presented the gala benefit concert "Artists for the Cure" at Carnegie Hall.

Violinist Hiroko Yajima has been described by the New York Times as an "artist of real distinction." As a winner of the Young Concert Artists International Competition, she has performed extensively throughout the United States, giving solo recitals in New York, Boston, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. She has also played in London’s Wigmore Hall and Purcell Hall (the latter broadcast by the BBC) and Carnegie Hall. Yajima was a member of the Galimir String Quartet, and is a founding member of the Mannes Trio, ensemble in residence at the Mannes College of Music, which won the 1986 Walter W. Naumburg International Chamber Music Award. She is chair of the String Department at Mannes.

The Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle, an association of chamber music lovers that is celebrating its 54th season, was founded by Helen Huntington Hull and two friends from Staatsburg, New York. They enlisted the help of violinist Emil Hauser, then a member of the Bard College faculty and original first violinist of the Budapest Quartet, to invite musicians to perform at the Mills and Vanderbilt Mansions. In 1979, the concert series began its association with Bard College. The HVCMC remains a venue that attracts many of the world's preeminent chamber music artists. In 2001, Robinson and Laredo assumed artistic directorship of the chamber music series.

These performances are made possible, in part, through the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation at Bard College. A subscription to the three-concert series is $60 ($50 for senior citizens); individual tickets are $25; for senior citizens, $18; and students, $5. For further information, call 518-537-6665.

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This event was last updated on 07-19-2004