Saturday, April 23, 2022 | Hill Auditorium
Behind the Music
Carlos SIMON Fate Now Conquers
BEETHOVEN Triple Concerto
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 4
Earl Lee, conductor
Gloria Chien, piano
Soovin Kim, violin
Paul Watkins, cello
Earl Lee, conductor and music director candidate
A current Associate Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and former Resident Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Earl Lee is a renowned Korean-Canadian performer who has captivated audiences worldwide. Earl’s passion for music is reflected in his diverse career as both a conductor and cellist. His recent appearances include leading the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, New Japan Philharmonic, Gangnam Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Earl was the recipient of the 50th Anniversary Heinz Unger Award from the Ontario Arts Council in 2018. In 2013, Earl was one of two performers to receive the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Scholarship, chosen by a renowned conductor Kurt Masur to travel to Leipzig and study the music and life of Felix Mendelssohn. That same year, Lee was awarded the Ansbacher Fellowship by the American Austrian Foundation and members of the Vienna Philharmonic, and spent six weeks at the Salzburg Festival in Austria.
In all of his professional activities, Earl seeks ways to connect with fellow musicians and audiences on a personal level. His concerts to date in Canada, the U.S., China and South Korea have often been accompanied by outreach events beyond the concert hall in the community at large. He has taken great pleasure in mentoring young musicians as former Artistic Director and Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, and as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Youth Orchestra.
As a cellist, Earl toured with the acclaimed duet of Gary Burton & Chick Corea as a guest member of the Harlem String Quartet in 2012, performing in notable venues including Symphony Hall in Boston, Maison symphonique de Montréal, and the iconic Blue Note jazz club in New York City. Earl has also toured the United States as part of ensembles including Musicians from Marlboro, and his performance frequently appears on air such as American Public Media’s Saint Paul Sunday. Earl has performed at prestigious summer festivals such as the Marlboro Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Caramoor Rising Stars, and Ravinia’s Steans Institute. He is currently a member of a conductor-less chamber ensemble, the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO).
Earl has degrees in cello from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School. He began his conducting studies in 2010 with Ignat Solzhenitsyn, and received his Masters in 2013 from the Manhattan School of Music with George Manahan. Earl pursued postgraduate studies in conducting at the New England Conservatory with Hugh Wolff prior to his tenure with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Gloria Chien, piano
Pianist Gloria Chien has been picked by the Boston Globe as one of the Superior Pianists of the year, “… who appears to excel in everything.” Richard Dyer praises her for “a wondrously rich palette of colors, which she mixes with dashing bravado and with an uncanny precision of calibration…Chien’s performance had it all, and it was fabulous.”
Gloria made her orchestral debut at the age of 16 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Since then, she has appeared as a soloist under the batons of Sergiu Comissiona, Keith Lockhart, Thomas Dausgaard, Irwin Hoffman, Benjamin Zander, and Robert Bernhardt. She is a prize winner of the World Piano Competition, Harvard Musical Association Award, as well as the San Antonio International Piano Competition, where she also received the prize for the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work. Gloria has presented solo recitals at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Harvard Musical Association, Sanibel Musical Festival, Caramoor Musical Festival, Salle Cortot in Paris, and the National Concert Hall in Taiwan.
An avid chamber musician, Gloria has been the resident pianist with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston since 2000, a group known for its versatility and commitment to new music. Boston Herald praises her for “ [playing] phenomenally.” She recently recorded with clarinetist, Anthony McGill. Her CD with violinist, Joanna Kurkowicz, featuring music of Grazyna Bacewicz was released on Chandos Records. The International Record Review writes, “[the violinist] could ask for no more sensitive or supportive a pianist than Gloria Chien.” Harmonie Magazine writes, “…but it would be unfair not to mention the pianist, who is accompanying the soloist in an absolutely responsive, impressive and confident way. She is more than an accompanist — rather, she is an equivalent partner to the soloist.” The Strad praises her for “super performances…accompanied with great character.” She also received fantastic reviews in Gramophone, American Record Guide, and Muzyka 21. Gloria has participated in such festivals as Chamber Music Northwest, Music Academy of the West, Verbier Music Festival, and Music@Menlo, where she was appointed Director of the Chamber Music Institute in 2010 by Artistic Directors, David Finckel and Wu Han.
Her recent performances include collaborations with the St. Lawrence, Miró, Borromeo, Daedalus and Jupiter String Quartets, David Shifrin, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Joseph Silverstein, Jaime Laredo, Cho-Liang Lin, Ani Kavafian, Ida Kavafian, Wu Han, Rob Kapilow, Paul Neubauer, Roberto Diaz, Andres Diaz, Sharon Robinson, James Ehnes, Nai-Yuan Hu, Bion Tsang, Soovin Kim, Carolin Widmann, Edward Arron and Anthony McGill.
In fall of 2009, Gloria launched String Theory, a chamber music series at the Hunter Museum of American Art in downtown Chattanooga, as its founder and artistic director.
Gloria began playing the piano at the age of five in her native Taiwan. She has a doctor of musical arts, a master’s and an undergraduate degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Her teachers have included Russell Sherman and Wha-Kyung Byun. Gloria is an Associate Professor at Lee University in Cleveland, TN, and is a member of the prestigious Chamber Music Society Two of Lincoln Center. Gloria is a Steinway Artist.
Paul Watkins, cello
Korean-American violinist Soovin Kim is an exciting player who has built on the early successes of his prize-winning years to emerge as a mature and communicative artist. After winning first prize at the Niccolò Paganini International Competition, Mr. Kim was recipient of the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the Henryk Szeryng Foundation Career Award. Today he enjoys a broad musical career, regularly performing repertoire such as Bach sonatas and Paganini caprices for solo violin, sonatas for violin and piano by Beethoven, Brahms, and Ives, string quartets, Mozart and Haydn concertos and symphonies as a conductor, and new world-premiere works almost every season.
In recent seasons he has been acclaimed for his “superb…impassioned” (Berkshire Review) performance of Alban Berg’s Chamber Concerto at the Bard Festival with the American Symphony Orchestra and a “sassy, throaty” (Philadelphia Inquirer) rendition of Kurt Weill’s concerto with the Curtis Chamber Orchestra. Other unusual concerto collaborations included Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto with conductor Maestro Myung-Whun Chung, the same Mendelssohn concerto with the Dallas Symphony and music director Jaap van Zweden, and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in Carnegie Hall. He has performed in past seasons with the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, and the Seoul Philharmonic and Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra with Maestro Chung.
For 20 years Soovin Kim was the 1st violinist of the Johannes String Quartet. Among their special projects was a two-season tour with the famed and now-retired Guarneri String Quartet in an unusual program including world-premieres of works by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Derek Bermel, and William Bolcom. Mr. Kim maintains a close relationship with the famed Marlboro Festival where he regularly spends his summers. He is well-known in Korea as a member of MIK, his ground-breaking piano quartet ensemble. He recently launched the exciting Chien-Kim-Watkins Trio with his wife, pianist Gloria Chien, and cellist Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet.
Soovin Kim’s latest solo CD, Gypsy, was his third solo collaboration between American label Azica Records and Korea-based Stomp/EMI. They previously released a French album of Fauré and Chausson with pianist Jeremy Denk and the Jupiter Quartet, and Paganini’s demanding 24 Caprices for solo violin which was named Classic FM magazine’s Instrumental Disc of the Month (“he emerges thrillingly triumphant…a thrilling debut disc.”). He made his first solo recording with Jeremy Denk for Koch-Discover in duo works by Schubert, Bartók, and Strauss. Mr. Kim also has six commercial chamber music recordings including an acclaimed live performance from the Marlboro Festival of Beethoven’s Archduke trio with pianist Mitsuko Uchida and the late cellist David Soyer. In 2019 his recording of Bach’s monumental solo sonatas and partitas will be released.
Soovin Kim founded the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont in 2009. With its focused programming and exceptional artists the festival is “increasing its stature as one of this country’s summer chamber music meccas (Rutland Herald).” Mr. Kim and the Lake Champlain festival helped to create the ONE Strings program in Burlington which makes violin lessons part of the regular curriculum for every 3rd, 4th, and 5th grader. In May 2015 he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Vermont in recognition of his contributions to the community.
Soovin Kim dedicates much of his time to his passion for teaching. He has been on the faculties of Stony Brook University and the Peabody Institute, and now he teaches exclusively at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Mr. Kim studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music with David Cerone and Donald Weilerstein, and at the Curtis Institute of Music with Victor Danchenko and Jaime Laredo.
Gloria Chien, piano
Acclaimed for his inspirational performances and eloquent musicianship, Paul Watkins enjoys a distinguished career as concerto soloist, chamber musician and conductor. Born in 1970, he studied with William Pleeth, Melissa Phelps and Johannes Goritzki, and at the age of 20 was appointed Principal Cellist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. During his solo career he has collaborated with world renowned conductors including Sakari Oramo, Gianandrea Noseda, Sir Mark Elder, Andris Nelsons, Sir Andrew Davis, and Sir Charles Mackerras. He performs regularly with all the major British orchestras and others further afield, including with the Norwegian Radio, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony and Queensland Orchestras. He has also made eight concerto appearances at the BBC Proms, most recently with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the world premiere of the cello concerto composed for him by his brother, Huw Watkins, and premiered (and was the dedicatee of) Mark-Anthony Turnage’s cello concerto.
Highlights of recent seasons include concerto appearances with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, and the BBC Symphony under Semyon Bychkov, a tour with the European Union Youth Orchestra under the baton of Bernard Haitink, and his US concerto debut with the Colorado Symphony.
A dedicated chamber musician, Watkins was a member of the Nash Ensemble from 1997 to 2013, and joined the Emerson String Quartet in May 2013. He is a regular guest artist at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York and Music@Menlo, and in 2014 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Detroit. Watkins also maintains a busy career as a conductor and, since winning the 2002 Leeds Conducting Competition, has conducted all the major British orchestras. Further afield he has conducted the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Prague Symphony, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Tampere Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic and the Melbourne Symphony, Queensland and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestras.
Paul Watkins is an exclusive recording artist with Chandos Records and his recent releases include Britten’s Cello Symphony, the Delius, Elgar, Lutoslawski and Walton cello concertos, and discs of British and American music for cello and piano with Huw Watkins. His first recording as a conductor, of the Berg and Britten violin concertos with Daniel Hope, received a Grammy® nomination.