Violinist
October 27, 2016
Variation String Trio To Make New York Debut At The 92nd Street Y On Wednesday, November 30
Photo by Jürgen Frank

Violinist Jennifer Koh, Violist Hsin-Yun Huang, and Cellist Wilhelmina SmithPerform Works by György Kurtág, Andrew Norman, and Kaija Saariaho

New York, NY, October 27, 2016―The Variation String Trio, comprising violinist Jennifer Koh, violist Hsin-Yun Huang, and cellist Wilhelmina Smith, makes its New York City debut performing works by living composers including Kaija Saariaho’s Cloud Trio, selections from György Kurtág’s Signs, Games and Messages, and Andrew Norman’s The Companion Guide to Rome. The concert opens the 92nd Street Y’s Soundspace series this season in Buttenwieser Hall on Wednesday, November 30 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets, priced at $25, are available at 92Y.org/concerts or by calling (212) 415-5500.

Ms. Koh, Ms. Huang, and Ms. Smith came together over a mutual bond of respect and friendship that has kept the group performing together for more than ten years. The Trio’s mission is to encourage a renaissance of the string trio literature, collaborate with fellow artists and composers, and create a variety of musical experiences through compelling thematic programs.

The 92Y concert program is aimed to engage the listener’s visual imagination through music. Kaija Saariaho’s Cloud Trio is composed in four movements, each with its own character and drawing on a different type of cloud as a source of inspiration. In her notes on the work, Ms. Saariaho wrote, “When composing this piece in the French Alps (Les Arcs), watching the big sky above mountains I realized once again how rich a metaphor a natural element can be: its state or shape is so recognizable, and yet it is always varied and rich in detail.” Following Andrew Norman’s fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, he began composing The Companion Guide to Rome, inspired by the Eternal City’s churches. Each of the nine movements serve as a character study of the lives of the saint for which the Roman church was named. In his notes, Mr. Norman wrote, “The music is, at different times and in different ways, informed by the proportions of the churches, the qualities of their surfaces, the patterns in their floors, the artwork on their walls, and the lives and legends of the saints whose names they bear.” Bridging the two works are selections from György Kurtág’s Signs, Games and Messages that expand on the program’s musical ideas and themes.

Formed in 2005, the Variation String Trio made its debut at the Salt Bay Chamberfest in Maine and has gone on to perform in chamber music series across the U.S. and abroad. The Trio’s repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary works, and it has premiered works by composers David Ludwig, Tamar Muskal, Marc Neikrug, Andrew Norman and Kaija Saariaho. The Trio has been presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Linton Series in Cincinnati, OH, and Santa Fe Pro Musica, and performs regularly at Performers of Westchester in Mamaroneck, NY and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

Musical America’s 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, violinist Jennifer Koh, is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance. She has performed as a soloist with leading orchestras around the world and frequently appears in recital at major music centers and festivals. An adventurous musician, Ms. Koh collaborates with artists of multiple disciplines and curates projects that uncover connections between music of all eras, as in her recent projects Shared MadnessBridge to BeethovenBach and Beyond, and Two x Four. She believes that all the arts and music of the past and present form a continuum, and has premiered over 60 works written especially for her. During the 2016-17 season, Ms. Koh presents a year-long focus on the music of Kaija Saariaho, one of her most notable collaborators, she has premiered numerous works by the composer, in performance and on recording including the piano trio Light and Matter, Aure for violin and cello, Sense for solo violin composed for Ms. Koh’s 2016 Shared Madness project), and Nocturne and Frises for her Bach & Beyond recording series. This season, she performed Tocar for violin and piano with Shai Wosner as part of a recital for the People’s Symphony Concerts, and performs Graal théâtre for violin and orchestra with the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble in Philadelphia, Finland’s Tampere Philharmonic, and Orchestre de Radio France on a program that also features Frises and Light and Matter. Andrew Norman has composed pieces for two of Ms. Koh’s new music projects, Shared Madness and Bridge to Beethoven, and Ms. Koh has recorded selections from Kurtág’s Signs, Games + Messages with Mr. Wosner on an album named after the work.

Violist Hsin-Yun Huang has appeared as a soloist with the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, National Philharmonic of Taiwan, London Sinfonia, Russian State Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, and Zagreb Soloists, among others. She is a regular participant at the Marlboro, Santa Fe, Spoleto USA and Telluride music festivals. Her 2016-2017 season include appearances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Columbus, and the Seoul Spring Festival. For six years she was the violist of the Borromeo String Quartet. Ms. Huang is currently on faculty at the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music.

Cellist Wilhelmina Smith was awarded a 2015-16 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians. She made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra while a student at the Curtis Institute of Music, has performed recitals across the U.S. and Japan, and has been a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Boston Chamber Music Society. A supporter of new music, she collaborated with Esa-Pekka Salonen on his cello concerto, Mania, and gave the American premiere of his solo cello work, Knock, Breathe, Shine. She is founder and artistic director of Salt Bay Chamberfest and a founding member of Music from Copland House. As a chamber musician, she has performed with violinists Joshua Bell and Pamela Frank, cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Paul Tortelier, sopranos Dawn Upshaw and Benita Valente, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Brentano and Borromeo string quartets. Her recordings include cello sonatas by Britten and Schnittke with pianist Thomas Sauer and the complete chamber works of Aaron Copland.  

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 8:30 p.m. 
Buttenwieser Hall at 92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10128 

Variation String Trio
Hsin-Yun Huang, viola
Jennifer Koh, violin
Wilhelmina Smith, cello

KAIJA SAARIAHO Cloud Trio
GYORGY KURTÁG Selections from Signs, Games and Messages
                                                    Hommage å J.S.B
                                                    Schatten (shadows)
                                                    Hommage å John Cage
                                                    Postcard to Anna Keller
                                                    Hommage å Rånki György
                                                    Ligatura Y

ANDREW NORMAN       The Companion Guide to Rome

Tickets, priced at $25, are available at www.92Y.org/Concerts or 212-415-5500.

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Press Contact:
Shuman Associates | shumanpr@shumanassociates.net | (212) 315-1300

 

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