August 16, 2012

Chamber Music Festival crossing lake for performance

By ROBIN CAUDELL, Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival artistic director and violinist Soovin Kim vowed to have a Plattsburgh date and, this year, he pulled it off.

“For this current festival, we really made sure to put time aside to find an appropriate public venue,” Soovin said. “We were hoping to repeat the Sunday program at Elley-Long (Music Center at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vt.). We’re repeating much of that program, but we were not able to get the piano over to Plattsburgh. There are logistical issues like that. We still have to move the harpsichord and shuttle all the musicians over. I’m just happy we will finally be able to do this.”

Beginning Saturday, the nine-day festival is book-ended with master classes by aspiring artists and festival musicians — Kim, Sophie Shao (cello), Tara Helen O’Connor (flute) and Ellen Hwangbo (piano) — at Elley-Long Music Center. 

The festival’s “Concert One” on Sunday showcases Bach’s virtuosic side with the “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050.” Gabriella Smith, a young composer, pays homage to Bach in the world premiere “Bradenburg Interstices.” Shubert’s “Trout Piano Quintet” concludes the concert and features O’Connor, Kim, Hye-Jin Kim (violin), Burchard Tang (viola), Shao, Evan Premo (double bass) and Hwangbo. 

On Monday, the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival relocates to Plattsburgh.

In the Blessed John XXIII College Community Newman Center, the audience can hear an echo of Sunday’s concert with Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5,” “Ricercar a 6” from “Musical Offering” and Smith’s “Brandenburg Interstices.” The differences are David Ludwig’s “Flute Sonata No. 2 Canzoniere for flute and string quartet” and Erno Dohnanyi’s “Serenade for string trio, op. 10.”

“The Sunday and Monday concerts are world premieres,” Soovin said. “It’s exciting for the performers as well. We feel we’re giving birth to this new creation of work that we hope will be around for a while. Gabriella (Smith) is still a student at the Curtis Institute, where I went to school. We know that she’s a very talented composer, and that is why we chose her. She was one of the participants in our Young Composer’s seminar two years ago.”

Hye-Jin is very excited to join her colleagues and experience summer along Lake Champlain.

“Soovin is one of my favorite violinists and musicians,” said Hye-Jin, who was at Music@Menlo Chamber Music Institute in the San Francisco Bay area.

“I have worked with him many times at Marlboro and beyond. I was thrilled that he asked me to join him.” 

A native of Korea, Hye-Jin lives in New York City. Her accolades include winner of the 2009 Concert Artists Guild International Competition. At age 19, she won first prize at the 2004 Yehudi Menuhin International Competition. She studied with Miriam Field, Ida Kavafian and Jaime Laredo at the Curtis Institute of Music and New England Conservatory.

During the academic year, she is an assistant professor of violin at East Carolina University.

“Teaching helps me greatly to be aware of what happens when a student plays violin,” Hye-Jin said. “I have to actively engage myself analytically. How would I approach a problem when I’m playing?”

Hye-Jin performs on a 1687 Gioffredo Cappa crafted in Italy.

“We both found each other in a way,” she said. “I was looking for a violin five years ago. I tried many different violins from many different shops, and I always came back to this. It always was something different than any other violins I have tried. It’s now mine, and I’m enjoying it,” she said.

The Cappa is more of a male violin.

“The tone is not so sweet or feminine as other violins,” Hye-Jin said. “It’s really deeper tones and a very generous sound.”

If Monday’s concert leaves a taste for more, follow the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival back across the lake.

“We have such an enormous range of activities during the entire week,” Soovin said. “We have solo Bach concerts at the Firehouse Gallery in Burlington, daily Listening Club sessions, where audience members get to learn about the pieces from the composer’s perspective. We do have quite a few audience members who come to every single event. It’s interesting for them because everything is so different.”

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WHAT: Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, “Concert Two.”

WHERE: Blessed John XXII College Community Newman Center, 90 Broad St., Plattsburgh.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday.

TICKETS: $10 to $30.

CONTACT: For details, visit or call (802) 86-FLYNN or 563-1604.