Zlatomir Fung | Rohan De Silva
September 19, 2021 at 3 p.m.
Collins Center for the Arts
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Zlatomir Fung | Rohan De Silva

Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 3 p.m.
This production is not presented by the Collins Center, University of Maine or the University of Maine System
Collins Center for the Arts

Please note the change in venue from Minsky Recital Hall to the Collins Center. More room for everyone to spread out!

The first American in four decades and youngest musician ever to win First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition Cello Division, Zlatomir Fung is poised to become one of the preeminent cellists of our time. Astounding audiences with his boundless virtuosity and exquisite sensitivity, the 22-year-old has already proven himself to be a star among the next generation of world-class musicians. A 2020 recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, Fung’s impeccable technique demonstrates a mastery of the canon and an exceptional insight into the depths of contemporary repertoire.

Zlatomir will perform with Rohan De Silva, a Sri Lankan Pianist who has collaborated with Itzhak Perlman, Cho-Liang Lin, Joshua Bell, Anne Akiko Meyers, Kurt Nikkanen, Gil Shaham, Kyoko Takazawa, Vadim Repin, and Midori. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, the 92nd St. Y, Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Philadelphia Academy of Music, Ambassador Theater, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, London’s Wigmore Hall, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, and Milan’s La Scala. He has also appeared at the festivals of Aspen, Interlochen, Manchester, Ravinia, Schleswig-Holstein, Pacific, and Wellington.


Tickets: $36, including fees. K-12 free with accompanying adult.


Program:

Variations on Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’, WoO 46, Ludwig van Beethoven
Flute Partita in A minor, BWV 1013, Johann Sebastian Bach
5 Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op. 25, Yuri Shaporin

Intermission

“I see the long forgotten blaze” from Op. 10, No. 9  (arr. for cello and piano Viktor Kubatsky), Yuri Shaporin
Cello Sonata in A minor, Edvard Grieg


Program Notes, by Laura Artesani, D.M.A.:

Variations on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’, WoO 46 by Ludwig van Beethoven

This is Beethoven’s second set of variations for cello and piano based on music from Mozart’s famous singspiel of 1791, The Magic Flute.  The first was written in 1796, based on Papageno’s aria, Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen (A Maiden or Little Wife). The set of variations on today’s program was composed in 1801, based on Pamina and Papageno’s duet, Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen (Men Who Feel the Call of Love). In this duet, Pamina (who is in love with Tamino) and Papageno (who will eventually fall in love with Papagena) sing about the sacredness of marital love: “We shall rejoice in love, we will live for love alone. . .its exalted goal is manifest. Nothing is more noble than man and wife, and wife and man attain divinity.”

Beethoven dedicated this set of variations to one of his patrons, Count Johann Georg von Browne; the Three String Trios, Op. 9 and the Piano Sonata No. 11, Op. 22 are also dedicated to him. Before establishing himself in Vienna, Count von Browne was an officer in the Russian army. Beethoven was a frequent guest of the Count and his wife, Countess Anna Margaretha von Browne. Two of Beethoven’s works are dedicated to the Countess: the Twelve Variations on a Russian Dance, WoO. 71, and the Piano Sonata for Four Hands, Op. 6.

The theme for this set of variations is introduced by the piano, with a countermelody for the cello. After four measures, the roles are reversed. Beginning with measure nine, the melody is played by the piano for the rest of the initial presentation of the theme. Each of the seven variations that follow has its own unique character, but all of them adhere to the fifteen-measure structure of the theme. The final variation includes a substantial coda, with significant thematic development. The theme returns quietly, followed by fortissimo chords that decisively conclude the piece.

Five Pieces for Cello and Piano, op. 25 by Yuri Shaporin

Born in Glukhov, Ukraine in 1887, Yuri Shaporin completed a law degree before enrolling at the St. Petersburg Conservatory at age twenty-six. In his early years he was inspired by the Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov, but eventually followed a more radical path as a co-founder and music director of the Grand Drama Theatre. In this role, he produced many experimental and avant-garde works for the theatre. In 1926, he helped create the New Association for Contemporary Music. Shaporin moved to Moscow in 1938, after accepting a post at the Moscow Conservatory. 

Shaporin’s best known work is his opera The Decembrists, which depicts the December 1825 uprising against Czar Nicholas I. Shaporin composed this opera over a twenty year period; it was initially presented in Moscow in 1938, but Shaporin was unhappy with the performance and continued to revise the opera until 1953, when it was successfully premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre. In addition to eighty works for the theatre, Shaporin also composed On the Field of Kolikovo, a cantata for solo voices, chorus and orchestra (1939), A Tale of the Battle for the Russian Land, an oratorio, and two piano sonatas. 

Shaporin’s Five Pieces for Cello, Op. 25, was written in 1956 for the renowned Russian cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007). This set brings us on a journey through a variety of moods and keys, beginning with the romantic Prelude in C major and continuing with the dramatic Valse in G minor. The set continues with the folklike Intermezzo in C# minor and the melancholy Aria in E minor. The finale is the hair-raising Scherzo in A minor, which brings the set to an exhilarating conclusion. 

Cello Sonata in A Minor, Op. 36 by Edvard Grieg

Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg composed his only cello sonata in Bergen during the winter of 1882-3. This sonata marks Grieg’s return to composition, after a period when he was consumed by conducting engagements and ill health. He did not find the transition back to composing easy, writing, “Every day I decide not to compose, because I am less and less satisfied with myself.” Grieg dedicated the sonata to his estranged brother, John, a gifted amateur cellist. Unfortunately, this magnanimous gesture did not bring about a reconciliation between the two brothers. The premiere of Grieg’s Cello Sonata took place on October 22, 1883 in Dresden, with Friedrich Ludwig Grützmacher on cello and Grieg at the piano. Grützmacher was principal cellist in the Court Orchestra at Dresden, and a professor at the Dresden Conservatory. Grieg also performed this sonata with Pablo Casals, the famous cellist, in 1906.

The stormy first movement is a rare example of sonata form from this composer. Three repeated C major chords from the piano introduce the contrasting second theme, but the agitated mood soon returns, with the cello and piano exchanging emotional outcries. After a brief cadenza from the cello, this tumultuous movement comes to a turbulent close. The opening theme of the exquisite Andante movement is taken from a march that Grieg had composed earlier for a play about King Sigurd Jorsalfar of Norway. In ABA form, the powerfully dramatic middle section eventually leads back to the calm opening theme, and the movement ends with the cellist playing a delicate, arpeggiated pizzicato chord. The third movement begins with a cadenza for the cello, followed by a vibrant and fiery folklike theme, complete with virtuosic scale passages for both instruments. As with the other two movements, the finale gives the listener the impression of embarking upon a breathtaking adventure.  Michael Parloff, principle flutist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra from 1977-2008 as well as a lecturer and author, has aptly stated of this work, “. . .although the sonata has no extra-musical program, it creates a strongly narrative impression and represents Grieg at his most intense and passionate.”


MORE ABOUT ZLATOMIR FUNG:

In the 2021-2022 season, Fung performs with orchestras and gives recitals in all corners of the world. Summer debuts include La Jolla Chamber Music Society in recital with Richard Fu, multiple programs at ChamberFest Cleveland, Bravo! Vail in a chamber music program with Joshua Bell and Shai Wosner, Aspen Music Festival in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and Rockport Chamber Music festival in a recital with Dina Vainshtein. In the fall, he opens Ann Arbor Symphony’s season and appears twice with Iris Orchestra. He is presented by Harvard Musical Association and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society before making his Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Debut with pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen in a program of Romantic-era classics. He returns to Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in January for two evenings with BalletX and the Calidore Quartet to give the Philadelphia premiere of a new work by Anna Clyne and appears with several orchestras including the Kansas City and Greensboro Symphonies. He tours Italy, Russia, China, and Japan with orchestras and in recital.

In the 2020-2021 season, Fung made his Seattle Symphony debut in the orchestra’s 13th annual Celebrate Asia concert in addition to livestreams presented by University of Delaware, The Phillips Collection & Music Wooster, and Friends of Chamber Music, and many online masterclasses. In the 2019-2020 season, he returned to the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and debuted with Asheville and Aiken Symphony Orchestras. He performed at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in a joint recital with fellow Tchaikovsky Competition winners in October, following a recital at Friends of Music in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Other recitals include Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, Wengler Center for the Arts at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Syrinx Concerts in Toronto, The Embassy Series in Washington DC, Salon de Virtuosi and Bulgarian Concert Evenings in New York City, Chamber on the Mountain in Ojai, and Evergreen Museum & Library in Baltimore. At the Artist Series of Sarasota, Fung performed the complete works for cello and piano by Beethoven. As a chamber musician, Fung performed around the world, opening the season with IMS Prussia Cove on tour to London’s Wigmore Hall, Cornwall, Cambridge, West Sussex, and Somerset. New York City chamber music engagements included the Aspect Foundation. During the summer of 2019, Fung performed at Musique de Chambre à Giverny, a chamber music festival in northern France.

A winner of the 2017 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the 2017 Astral National Auditions, Fung has taken the top prizes at the 2018 Alice & Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition, 2016 George Enescu International Cello Competition, 2015 Johansen International Competition for Young String Players, 2014 Stulberg International String Competition, and 2014 Irving Klein International Competition. He was selected as a 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholar for the Arts and was awarded the 2016 Landgrave von Hesse Prize at the Kronberg Academy Cello Masterclasses.

Of Bulgarian-Chinese heritage, Zlatomir began playing cello at age three and earned fellowships at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Heifetz International Music Institute, MusicAlp, and the Aspen Music Festival and School. A proud recipient of the Kovner Fellowship, Fung currently studies at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Richard Aaron and Timothy Eddy. Fung has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today and has appeared on From the Top six times. In addition to music, he enjoys cinema, reading, and blitz chess.

MORE about Rohan De Silva

Among De Silva’s awards are the best accompanist special prize at the ninth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He performed at the White House in 2007 for President George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth, and in 2012 with Perlman for President Barak Obama and Shimon Peres. He has also appeared on television on The Tonight Show with Midori; and on radio stations WQXR, WNYC, and WNCN, as well as the Berlin Radio, Japan’s NHK, and CNN’s Showbiz Today, Millenium Grammy’s 2000. De Silva has recorded on the DGG, CBS/Sony Classical, Collins Classics, and BMG labels.

De Silva holds BM and MM degrees from Juilliard where he studied piano with Martin Canin and chamber music with Felix Galimir. He earned an associate degree from the Royal Academy of London in 1992 and was the recipient of the first President’s Fund scholarship from his home country to study at Juilliard. He also studied piano with Hamish Milne while attending the Royal Academy of Music from 1975 to 81. De Silva has been on the faculty at Juilliard since 1991.


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