First Monday at Jordan Hall: Marais, Couperin, and Debussy
Join us as we celebrate 38 years of First Mondays, curated by Artistic Director Laurence Lesser. Programs feature well-loved classics and new compositions, performed by some of the finest chamber musicians in the world, free and open to all. First Mondays are fresh and full of imaginative pairings of well-loved classics and new works, performed in one of the finest places on the planet to hear music of this caliber: NEC’s own Jordan Hall.
The Fall 2022 season will feature music from France.
View the concert program in our digital archive.
This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here: https://necmusic.edu/live.
Program Notes from Laurence Lesser
Marin Marais | Sonnerie de Sainte-Geneviève du Mont de ParisArtists
- Adrienne Hyde, viola da gamba
- Sarah Darling '07 MM, '22 DMA, violin
- Peter Sykes '78, '80 MM, harpsichord
François Couperin | L'Apothéose de Lully
Lully aux Champs-Élisés, concertant avec les Ombres liriques
Lully in the Elysian Fields performing with musicianly Shades
Air pour les Mêmes
Air for the same performers
Vol de Mercure aux Champs Élisés, pour avertir qu’Apollon y va descendre
Mercury's flight to the Elysian Fields to warn that Apollo is about to descend
Descente d’Apollon, qui vient offrir son violon à Lully, et sa place au Parnasse
The Descent of Apollo who comes to offer his violin to Lully and a place on Parnassus
Rumeur souteraine, causée par les Auteurs contemporains de Lully
Subterranean rumblings from Lully's contemporaries
Plaintes des Mêmes, pour des Flûtes, ou des Violons très adoucis
Laments from the same, played by flutes or very sweet-toned violins
Enlévement de Lully au Parnasse
The raising of Lully to Parnassus
Accüeil entre doux et agard, fait à Lully par Corelli, et par les Muses italiénes
Welcome, half friendly and half hostile, given to Lully by Corelli and the Italian Muses
Remerciment de Lully à Apollon
Lully's thanks to Apollo
Apollon persuade Lully, et Corelli, que la réunion des Goûts François et Italien[s] doit faire la perfection de la Musique.
Apollo persuades Lully and Corelli that the reunion of French and Italian styles must create musical perfection
Air léger, Lully joüant le sujet, et Corelli l’acompagnant
Lully playing the subject, and Corelli accompanying
Second Air, Correli joüant le sujet à son tour, que Lulli acompagne
Second Air: Corelli playing the melody in turn, while Lully accompanies
La Paix du Parnasse, faite aux conditions, sur la Remontrance des Muses Françoises, que lorsqu’on y parleroit leur langue, on diroit dorénavant Sonade, Cantade, ainsi qu’on prononce Ballade, Sérénade, &c.
The Peace of Parnassus, which, following a protest from the French Muses, is made on the condition that when their language is spoken, one will henceforth say "Sonade" and "Cantade", as one says"Ballade" and "Sérénade", etc.Artists
- Andrea LeBlanc '06, flauto traverso
- Sarah Darling '07 MM, '22 DMA, violin
- Adrienne Hyde, viola da gamba
- Peter Sykes '78, '80 MM, harpsichord
Claude Debussy | Cello Sonata
Prologue: Lent - Sostenuto e molto risoluto
Sérénade: Modérément animé - Fantasque et léger
Finale: Animé - Léger et nerveuxArtists
- Laurence Lesser, cello
- Motti Fang-Bentov '20, '22 MM, '24 GD, piano
Claude Debussy | Violin Sonata in G Minor
Intermède: Fantasque et léger
Finale: Très animéArtists
- Tessa Lark '11, '12 MM, violin
- Motti Fang-Bentov 20, '22 MM, '24 GD, piano
Claude Debussy | Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp in F Major, L. 137
Pastorale: Lento, dolce rubato
Interlude: Tempo di minuetto
Finale: Allegro moderato ma risolutoArtists
- Sooyun Kim '04, '07 MM, '09 GD, flute
- Zhanbo Zheng '20, '22 MM, viola
- Krysten Keches '14 MM, harp
Described as “a tireless force of musical curiosity, skill, and enthusiasm” and “the one to up the ante” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), Sarah Darling enjoys a varied musical career as a performer, educator, and musical co-conspirator on viola and baroque violin. She is a member of the Grammy-nominated self-conducted orchestra A Far Cry, as well as Boston Baroque, Musicians of the Old Post Road, Emmanuel Music, the Boston Ballet Orchestra, Les Bostonades, Newton Baroque, the Boston Camerata, the Boston Early Music Festival, and the Carmel Bach Festival. Sarah studied at Harvard, Juilliard, Amsterdam, Freiburg, and New England Conservatory, working with James Dunham, Karen Tuttle, Wolfram Christ, Nobuko Imai, and Kim Kashkashian. She has recorded old and new music for Linn, Paladino, Azica, MSR, Centaur and Crier Records, plus a solo album on Naxos. Sarah is active as a teacher and coach, relishing the opportunity to “translate” between musical worlds while serving on the faculty of the Longy School of Music and co-directing the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra.
Born in Beijing, China, and raised in Tel-Aviv, Israel, pianist Motti Fang-Bentov hails from a multicultural, east-west background. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras such as the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the NEC Philharmonia, and under the baton of conductors such as Zubin Mehta and Vakhtang Kakhidze. He is the winner of the NEC Concerto & Honors Competition (‘18), the Pnina Zaltsman Piano Competition (‘12, ‘15), and the Ashdod Piano Competition (‘12, ‘15). Motti has had the fortune of being supported by many awards and scholarships in his musical path; they include the Presser Award (‘19), the SBCF Emerging Artist Award (‘20), and the AICF Musical Excellence Award (‘11-’17).
Motti is a passionate chamber musician and collaborator, and is the pianist of the Boston-based Trio Rai, with whom he has won the bronze medal at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition (‘21). He also attended Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute (‘18, ’19, '22) where he worked with mentors such as Leon Fleischer, Miriam Fried, Donald Weilerstein and Robert Levin.
Motti has previously served in the Israel Defense Forces, and has completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at New England Conservatory, under the guidance of Alexander Korsantia. He now pursues a Graduate Diploma at NEC as a Presidential Scholar with Wha Kyung Byun.
Adrienne Hyde is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in historical performance practices on the cello and viola da gamba. She performs regularly in the NYC area as a member of various continuo sections playing the baroque cello, bass viol, lirone, and bass violin. She graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2020 and now is completing her master’s degrees in Baroque Cello and Viola da Gamba at the Juilliard School on full scholarship. At Juilliard she is a Morse Teaching Artist, a Music Advancement Program Fellow, and a Gluck Community Service Fellow, through which she teaches in NYC public schools and mentors young cellists, and provides musical service to her community. She has studied with renowned pedagogues Alan Harris, Christel Theilmann, PaulO’Dette, Sarah Cunningham, Phoebe Carrai, and Bill Christie.
This summer she joined the Carmel Bach Festival as a Young Artist performing in a string quartet focused on the study of classical and romantic period performance practice with the Diderot Quartet and Peter Hanson, concertmaster of Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique. In the 2022-23 season she will perform as a guest with American Baroque Orchestra, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and will appear as a guest musician with Repast Baroque, the Sebastians, and in recital at the Helicon Foundation. She is a passionate artistic administrator for the Valissima Institute, a conducting training program for young women committed to gender equity in classical music.
Massachusetts native Krysten Keches has been called an “excellent young soloist” by the Boston Globe. An avid orchestral musician, she performs regularly as a guest harpist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops. She is the principal harpist of Boston Festival Orchestra and the Boston-based chamber orchestra Phoenix. She has also performed with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Odyssey Opera, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, and the New World Symphony. Krysten is the harp coach for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, maintains a private studio, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra Foundation. She holds an A.B. from Harvard College, a Graduate Diploma from the Australian National University School of Music funded by a U.S. Fulbright scholarship, and an M.M. from New England Conservatory. She studied with Elizabeth Morse, Alice Giles, and Jessica Zhou.
Praised as “a rare virtuoso of the flute” by Libération, Sooyun Kim has established herself as one of the rare flute soloists on the classical music scene. Since her concerto debut with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, she has enjoyed a flourishing career performing with orchestras, including the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Munich Chamber Orchestra, and Boston Pops. She has been presented in recital in Budapest’s Liszt Hall, the Kennedy Center, Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and Kobe’s Bunka Hall. Her European debut recital at the Louvre was streamed live on medici.tv. A winner of the Georg Solti Foundation Career Grant, she has received numerous international awards and prizes including the third prize at the ARD International Flute Competition. Her summer appearances include the Music@Menlo, Spoleto USA, Yellow Barn, Rockport, Olympic, Charlottesville, Ravinia, and Tanglewood festivals. Her special interest in interdisciplinary art has led her to collaborate with many artists, dancers, and museums around the world such as Sol Lewitt, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Glassmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark.
An alumna of Bowers Program (formerly CMS TWO), she is an Artist Member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She studied at New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Paula Robison. She is currently on the faculty of the Longy School of Music of Bard College and teaches summer courses at Orford Musique. Kim plays a rare 18-karat gold flute specially made for her by Verne Q. Powell Flutes.
Violinist Tessa Lark is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time, consistently praised by critics and audiences for her astounding range of sounds, technical agility, and musical elegance. In 2020 she was nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Classical Instrumental Solo category and received one of Lincoln Center’s prestigious Emerging Artist Awards: the special Hunt Family Award. Other recent honors include a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Silver Medalist in the 9th Quadrennial International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition.
She solos regularly with many of the major orchestras around the world, from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to Seattle Symphony, and has appeared in recital in such prestigious venues and series as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Carnegie Hall’s Distinctive Debuts series in Weill Hall (2017).
She is also a highly acclaimed fiddler in the tradition of her native Kentucky, delighting audiences with programming that includes Appalachian and bluegrass music and inspiring composers to write for her - most notably Sky, a bluegrass-inspired violin concerto written for Tessa by Michael Torke which earned both a GRAMMY nomination for Tessa and a Pulitzer finalist distinction for Torke.
Lark is a graduate of New England Conservatory and completed her Artist Diploma at The Juilliard School. She plays a ca. 1600 G.P. Maggini violin on loan from an anonymous donor through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.
Flutist Andrea LeBlanc is devoted to furthering the artistry and expression of the flute by performing on instruments from the baroque, classical, and romantic eras. She has been praised by Early Music America for her “sensitive and beautiful playing, with crystalline tone and execution [that] made you wonder why it was necessary to invent the Boehm system for flute”. Andrea appears regularly with the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, the Boston Early Music Festival, Arcadia Players, Aston Magna, The Sebastians, the Connecticut Early Music Festival, Blue Hill Bach Festival, and the Big Moose Bach Festival, as well as Mercury Houston. Andrea is the co-founder of Arpeggione, a chamber ensemble that brings innovative performances of Classical and Romantic music to venues around her home on Boston’s North Shore.
Laurence Lesser (President Emeritus; Walter W. Naumburg Chair in Music; Violoncello, Chamber Music; Artistic Director, “First Monday at Jordan Hall”) was a top prize winner in the 1966 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and a guest performer in the historic Heifetz-Piatigorsky concerts and recordings. In 1976 he gave the premiere of Menotti’s Fantasia (written for him under a Ford Foundation grant) with the New Japan Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa; in 1991, he performed the New England premiere with the NEC Symphony conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich. He has been a soloist with the BSO, the London Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and other major orchestras. He has appeared at the Casals, Spoleto, Marlboro, Charleston, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, and Santa Fe festivals as well as London’s South Bank Summer Music Festival. In 2005, Lesser was named a “Chevalier du Violoncelle” by the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center at Indiana University, awarded for distinguished achievements and contributions to the world of cello playing and teaching.
In 2010, Bridge Records released recordings of the complete Beethoven sonatas for cello and piano with Lesser and HaeSun Paik, which have been highly praised by the press. In the spring of 2011, Mr. Lesser performed the complete Bach Cello Suites in Jordan Hall and recorded them in August, 2015, also in Jordan Hall. They are now available through his website laurencelesser.com. His article about his transcription for cello of the lute version of Bach Suite V appeared in the May, 2018 issue of Strad Magazine.
Laurence Lesser was NEC president from 1983-1996, during which time he oversaw the restoration of Jordan Hall in 1995. He plays a cello made by Hieronymus Amati in 1622.
Peter Sykes, “a formidable organist who plays with artistry, subtlety, and insight,” is one of the most distinguished and versatile keyboard artists performing today.His live performances on the organ, harpsichord, clavichord or fortepiano have been called “compelling and moving,” “magnificent and revelatory,” and “bold, imaginative, and amazingly accurate” - his recordings, most notably the groundbreaking transcription for organ of Holst’s The Planets, have been called “satisfying and persuasive,” “hauntingly beautiful,” and “simply stunning.” He teaches in the organ department of the University of Michigan, harpsichord at The Juilliard School in New York City, and at Boston University. For thirty-seven years has been Music Director of First Church in Cambridge, Congregational. He performs and records with Aston Magna and Boston Baroque, and has received numerous prizes and awards for his achievements, including New England Conservatory’s Chadwick Medal and Distinguished Alumni Award, the Erwin Bodky Prize for Early Music, and the St. Botolph Club Distinguished Artist Award.
Chinese violist Zhanbo Zheng started his musical education when he took his first violin lesson at the age of 5. At 11, attracted by the warm and beautiful sound of the viola, he decided to become a violist. In 2014, Zhanbo became the first Chinese violist to win the Primrose International Viola Competition. He is also the top prize winner of other major competitions, including the Irving M. Klein International String Competition and the Washington International Competition for Strings.
An avid chamber musician, Zhanbo has made appearances in music festivals, including Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Verbier Festival Academy, Caramoor Evnin Rising Stars, and Cleveland ChamberFest. He has been invited to perform at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society as a guest artist, and has toured the US several times with Musicians from Marlboro and Ravinia Steans Music Institute, giving performances in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Kaufman Music Center, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
As a soloist, Zhanbo has performed with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, China Broadcasting Performing Arts Orchestra, and EOS Repertoire Orchestra of CCOM. In 2014, he has participated in the recording project “My Concert Hall— The Classical Music Appreciation,” which was proposed by Lanqing Li, the former Premier of the State Council of China.
Zhanbo earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the New England Conservatory where he studied with Kim Kashkashian, Miriam Fried, and Dominique Eade. He is currently pursuing his Artist Diploma at the Juilliard School under the mentorship of Paul Neubauer.