A Mongolian “Meditation”

Xian Angelo YuAfter the posts of about the fiery Prokofiev concerto performance from Symphony Hall, thought I’d share another side of the remarkable artistry of the young violinist Xiang “Angelo” Yu.  Last year we invited him into the Fraser Performance Studio at WGBH, where he not only shared the story of his Mongolian origins with host Cathy Fuller, he also played this breathtakingly beautiful version of the Meditation from Jules Massenet’s opera Thaïs…for solo violin alone.

Soon afterwards, Angelo was invited to be a Young Artist in Residence at Performance Today, a series that I’m proud to say continues after we launched it at NPR in the late ’90s with pianist Mia Chung, and has over the years featured such terrific ensembles and artists – all preparing live-for-radio recital programs – as guitarist Jason Vieaux, the Sejong Soloists, the Borromeo and Pacifica Quartets, pianist Jeremy Denk, and many, many more!

Happy Birthday, Haydn – from the Tokyo String Quartet

….with a fond look back to one of our highlights of 2013, hosting the Tokyo String Quartet for their final concert in Boston – a joint presentation with the Celebrity Series of Boston within the Friendly Confines of our Fraser Performance Studio. The full story (and concert) is here.

 

Joy For J.S.: Simone Dinnerstein & Xuefei Yang

Revisiting one of our special evenings in the WGBH Fraser Performance Studio we called “Sonatas and Partitas” featuring pianist Simone Dinnerstein and Xuefei Yang, one of the first Chinese guitarists to play in the West….

 

 

 

 

A Frosty St. Paddy’s Day from The Chieftains

For St. Patrick’s Day 2014 in the still-snowbound Northeast (and even the Mid-Atlantic, thanks to last night’s storm), a performance by the Chieftains in the WGBH Fraser studio…

“The praties are dug and the frost is all over
Kitty lie over close to the wall”

If Your Kisses Can’t Hold…

Where does pianist Ethan Uslan find these gems? Another goody from our evening in the WGBH Fraser Performance Studio called “Downton Abbey Meets The Jazz Age.” exploring some music of the era, and featuring soprano Melinda Whittington.

His is a great – and surprinsingly risque! –  tune from 1925 by MR. Vivian Ellis, a beloved Brit composer of the musical stage who’s barely known stateside.   Save for this tune, thanks to it being in the repertoire of the “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” Sophie Tucker

Chopin’s “Knocked Urn”

Melinda & Ethan getting their Downton on...

Melinda & Ethan getting their Downton on…

Still buzzing from the terrific performance at last night’s “Evening Inspired by Downton Abbey,” featuring soprano Melinda Whittington and pianist Ethan Uslan, playing classical, “jazz,” and other standards from the 1920’s in the WGBH Fraser Performance Studio.

And for an encore, since it was, after all, Chopin’s birthday and all, Ethan had to play one of his signature compositions. I explained to the Downton fans the title was inspired by what happened when poor Moseley the bumbling butler-turned-footman backs into an object d’art in the Crawley household….

 
Episode 183: Chopin’s ‘Knocked Urn’

 

Happy Birthday Chopin; Congratulations, Hung-Kuan Chen

Celebrating Fryderyk Chopin’s birthday today with a gripping performance by pianist Hung-Kuan Chen, of the two Op. 62 Nocturnes.   Chen played them in the WGBH Fraser Performance Studio for a special live broadcast marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Hung-Kuan Chen, one of the most respected pianists and teachers in the Boston area, is about to decamp for New York: He was one of three faculty appointments announced by the Juilliard School just a couple of days ago, joining pianist Sergei Babayan and Juilliard Alumnus (and MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner) Stephen Hough on the school’s piano faculty beginning in the Fall of 2014.   Nice line in the press release too:

Hung-Kuan ChenRaised in Germany, Hung-Kuan Chen’s early studies fostered strong roots in Germanic Classicism, which is tempered with the sensibility of Chinese philosophy, earning him a reputation as a dynamic and imaginative artist.”

 

Watch the video to witness some of those sensibilities at play.   These two late Chopin Nocturnes are favorites of mine, for reasons beautifully articulated by pianist Bruce Murray in our Radio Chopin series for WDAV.    Take a couple of minutes and listen to the episode here.

Episode 5: The Inspired Simplicity of Utterance