NEC Symphony + Hugh Wolff: Chin, Pasculli, Brahms
NEC Symphony, directed by Hugh Wolff, performs Unsuk Chin's subito con forza (2020) and Brahms' Symphony No 1 in C Minor. The concert will also include Pasculli's Concerto on themes from "La Favorita" by Donizetti with So Jeong Kim '23 MM, oboe.
This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here: https://necmusic.edu/live
Unsuk Chin | subito con forza (2020)
Unsuk Chin was born in Seoul, studied with György Ligeti in Hamburg, and now lives in Berlin. Winner of the 2004 Grawemeyer Award, she has a keen ear for strikingly original sounds and a wide-ranging emotional palette.
Composed for the celebrations of Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020, Unsuk Chin’s compact orchestral work subito con forza draws inspiration directly from the composer. She writes, “What particularly appeals to me [about Beethoven] are the enormous contrasts: from volcanic eruptions to extreme serenity.” Chin embedded references to Beethoven: the Coriolan Overture, Emperor Concerto, and Fifth Symphony all make fleeting appearances. As its title implies, the short work moves abruptly from one mood or style to another, much like jump cuts in a fast-paced film.
Antonino Pasculli | Oboe Concerto on Themes from Donizetti's 'La Favorita'
Andante - Adagio
Antonio Pasculli was an Italian oboe virtuoso, composer, arranger and conductor. Born in Sicily, he traveled extensively throughout Europe mainly to perform his own virtuoso showpieces. His favored compositional form was a set of variations on a popular operatic work. This tried-and-true technique allows the soloist to show off formidable technique with tunes well known to the public. Many nineteenth century virtuosos did this, notably Liszt with his paraphrases of operas from Mozart to Verdi. Pasculli favored the bel canto opera of Donizetti. Their expressive and coloratura vocal lines were ideal for the cantabile capabilities of the oboe and its flexibility with fast scales, arpeggios, and roulades. The OboeConcerto on Themes from Donizetti’s La Favorita alternates slow and fast variations, including one in minor key, just before the Allegro velocissimo coda. A brilliant showcase for any oboist brave enough to take it on, in part due to its difficulty, it is rarely performed
So Jeong Kim
So Jeong Kim is an oboist from South Korea, born in 1995. She commenced her musical journey at Sunhwa Arts School in Seoul, South Korea, where she won the Outstanding Performance Award for achieving the highest score on the performance test among more than 300 students. Her exceptional skills and hard work led her to be awarded various prestigious music competitions, including the Music Association of Korea Competition, the Seoul Music Competition, KUMF (Korea-U.S.A. Music Foundation for Gifted) Music Competition, Nanpa Concours, and Korea Herald Music Competition.
So Jeong Kim continued her education at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Oboe Performance and received several recognitions, including an excellent performance scholarship for five semesters and the most outstanding freshman award. In South Korea, she received instruction from renowned musicians, including Hyung Sub Kim, Eun Hee Im, Hyung Geun Lee, and Mi Sung Lee.
Currently, So Jeong Kim is pursuing her graduate studies at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), under the guidance of John Ferrillo, Principal Oboe of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Anne Gabriele, Second Oboe of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has won several distinguished competitions at NEC, including the Concerto Competition (Woodwind, Brass, Percussion, and Harp) and the Honors Ensemble Competition, both in 2022. Her passion for music has also taken her to international events, such as the International Double Reed Society (IDRS) in Granada, Spain, and the Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival (JIWEF) in Jeju, South Korea. In 2022, she also performed a concerto with Maestro Shin-ik Hahm and his orchestra. Additionally, she was chosen as one of the winners of the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition, which has granted her the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall in late May 2023.Artists
- So Jeong Kim '23 MM, oboe
Johannes Brahms | Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, op. 68
Un poco sostenuto - Allegro
Un poco allegretto e grazioso
Adagio - Più andante - Allegro non troppo, ma con brio
In a 1933 essay, Arnold Schoenberg wrote, "Form in music serves to bring about comprehensibility through memorability. Evenness, regularity, symmetry, subdivision, repetition, unity, relationship in rhythm and harmony and even logic -- none of these elements produces or even contributes to beauty. But all of them contribute to an organization which makes the presentation of the musical idea intelligible. The language in which musical ideas are expressed in tones parallels the language which expresses feelings or thoughts in words… The aforementioned elements of [music’s] organization function like the rhyme, the rhythm, the meter, and the subdivision into strophes, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters in poetry or prose... Progress in music consists in the development of method. Brahms, the classicist, the academician, was a great innovator in the realm of musical language – in fact, he was a great progressive."
We hardly think of Johannes Brahms as a revolutionary. He was the 19th century’s throwback – a brilliant composer more interested in extending and perfecting the methods and structures of the classical era than in the innovations of composers such as Berlioz, Liszt and Wagner (all of whom were at least twenty years older than Brahms). But Schoenberg appreciated Brahms as a composer who created complex structures built from rigorously organized musical materials, not one seduced by atmosphere, color, or flights of imagination. In this way, Brahms reflects Schoenberg’s own rigor in inventing and organizing 12-tone music.
The First Symphony is an extraordinary example of Brahms’ rigor. He labored long over it – the first sketches dates from 1862; he was forty-three when he finished it in 1876. Contemporary music had already moved far away from Brahms’ style: Wagner’s complete Ring cycle was first performed three months before Brahms’ symphony. But today Brahms’ First Symphony seems more than worth the wait. It begins with one of most intense and anguished utterances in all symphonic music. A powerful chromatic line rises above a throbbing C pedal, followed by quiet falling sixths in the woodwinds. Virtually everything in the movement is derived from these ideas: chromatic lines, the melodic use of the sixth and its inversion, the third (Schoenberg surely approved), and the stubborn persistence of pedal tones denying music that yearns to break free. The serene slow movement opens with a gentle two-bar phrase. Moments later, in another invention Schoenberg admired, it becomes the bass line for a new melody in the oboe. In this movement, the rising chromatic gestures of the first movement take on a more resigned quality. The scherzo movement (an invention of Beethoven) is replaced by a gentle dance in two-four time, more in line with the Rhenish symphony of Brahms’ mentor, Robert Schumann. The Finale begins in darkness and gradually makes its way to light, reflecting the direction of the entire symphony. That light first appears a few minutes into the brooding introduction when the air clears and the horn sounds one of the most famous calls ever written. In 1868, Brahms sent Clara Schumann a birthday postcard with this melody given the following words: “Hoch auf’m Berg, tief im Tal, grüß’ ich Dich, viel tausendmal!” (High in the mountains, deep in the valley, I greet you thousands of times!) Brahms uses the melody to punctuate the structure of the Allegro non troppo, ma con brio that follows – a movement of fervor and passion that carries us breathless to its whirlwind coda.
For Brahms, neurotic about writing a symphony after Beethoven’s nine, the gradual public appreciation of this work was gratifying. His close friend Joseph Joachim, writing from England in 1877 after premiering the work there, said the symphony “really gets to people.” Surely that is what writing music is all about.
Ru-Yao Van der Ploeg
Max Zhenren Zhao
Isabel Evernham *
Honor Hickman ‡
Jou Ying Ting
Nina Tsai §
Yuhsi Chang §
Robert Diaz ‡
Corinne Foley *
Sarah Cho *
Xianyi Ji §
Cole Turkel ‡
Seth Goldman *
Carson Meritt §
Andrew Salaru ‡
Mattias Bengtsson *
Huimin Mandy Liu ‡
Xiaoran Xu §
Justin Park §
Allie Richmond ‡
Cody York *
Isabella Butler ‡
Mark Larrivee *
Rohan Zakharia §
Nga ieng Sabrina Lai §
Eli Reisz *