Bob Sherman: Hello everybody. I'm Bob Sherman and today we'll pick up where we left off last week. Namely enjoying music played by laureates of Astral Artist’s national competition on this edition of The Young Artists Showcase.
We are convinced that the future of classical music in America is in exceptionally good hands and voices too. Which is why for over 38 years and still counting, we've been able to bring extraordinary emerging musicians to this showcase ours. Harold W McGraw, then the visionary CEO of McGraw Hill helped launch the series in January of 1978.
And it continues to flourish through the generous underwriting of the family foundation, named for Mr. McGraw and shepherded by his son. My honor partner, every week, Terry McGraw. Every year astral artist holds a national competition, then helps the winners up the notoriously slippery career ladder offering both management services and concert opportunities.
Its home base is in Philadelphia and that's where we'll spend the next hour sampling the recital debuts of two remarkable virtuosi. Saxophonist Jonathan Wintringham will bring us music from France, Spain, and Argentina later in the program. And right now, violinist Luosha Fang about whom I'll tell you after she plays a little Bach for us with pianist Ilya Poletaev.
MUSIC - Bach: Sonata No. 4 for Violin and Piano in C minor, IV. Allegro
The finale of Bach Sonata no. 4, played in Philadelphia's Trinity Center for Urban Life by Luosha Fang who appeared as an ensemble player on the showcase three years ago and pianist Ilya Poletaev whom I think we first met back in 2013. I'm pretty sure that this is the first time though, that we've had the pleasure of hearing Luosha Fang as a recitalist.
So just a few words about her background after graduating from the Shanghai Conservatory, the violinist came to the USA to study at Bard College later at Curtis and she spent the last two summers at the Marlboro Festival. At Luosha Fang's debut recital in Philadelphia, little over a year ago, her imaginative program included musical salutes by two 20th century masters, Elliot Carter and Alfred Schnittke. Carter's piece is one of the Four Lauds for Solo Violin. This one of remembrance of his friend and colleague Roger Sessions.
MUSIC - Carter: Four Lauds for solo violin, IV. Fantasy – Remembering Roger
Following Elliot Carter's Laud subtitled Remembering Roger, Luosha Fang rejoined by pianist Ilya Poletaev plays the sparkling Gratulations Rondo, which Alfred Schnittke wrote in 1973 as a 50th birthday card for Rostislav Dubinski founding violinist of the Borodin Quartet. And, later after he emigrated to the USA, the Borodin Trio.
MUSIC - Schnittke: Gratulations Rondo
Fascinating and delectable into the bargain Alfred Schnittke who could write such complex scores was at his most charmingly accessible and witty believing out the con in what he dubbed his Gratulations Rondo. Written for the birthday of violinists Rostislav Dubinski that bright hued performance featured the violin piano duo of Luosha Fang and Ilya Poletaev will bring us Anesco's Sonata in Romanian folk style later in our broadcast tonight. First though, after a short break, some super sax comes to the Young Artists Showcase. I'm Bob Sherman and this is the second of two Young Artists Showcase evenings recalling concerts last season by winners of Astral Artists National Auditions.
One of those laureate saxophonist Jonathan Wintringham had a Philadelphia double header making his recital debut in January of 2016. Then returning for a follow up concert this past May. A graduate of Arizona State University, Jonathan Wintringham received his MA at the Eastman School heading for his doctorate and serving as assistant director of the Eastman Saxophone Project.
One of the fascinating pieces on his may program was a fantasy by Jules Demersseman born in France in 1833 and widely admired as a flute soloist Demersseman also was a close friend of Adolph Sax and wrote some of the first pieces ever specifically intended for the newly invented saxophone. Among them, this fantasy honored original theme played by Jonathan Wintringham with pianist and faculty colleague at Eastman Pi-Lin Ni.
MUSIC - Demersseman: Fantaisie sur un thème original – (Fantasy on an original theme)
Nice piece Fantasy on an Original Theme; Demersseman and a bright, hued performance by saxophones, Jonathan Wintringham and pianist Pi-Lin Ni. I find this next work equally appealing. It's a little Czarda by the Spanish composer, Pedro Iturralde professor at the Madrid Conservatory who despite a career stretching well over half a century is apparently best known, especially the saxophonists, I guess, for this Pequeño Czarda written in 1949, when he was just 20.
And from Pedro Iturralde's Little Spanish Czarda . We just traveled to Argentina, birthplace of Astor Piazzolla's Solo's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Since these tango pieces were written for Piazzolla's own ensemble, Jonathan Wintringham and pianist Pi-Lin Ni enlisted the services of Jonathan's own award winning East End Sax Quartet.
They played all of the four seasons in Philadelphia, but here in New York, we'll have to settle for just one.
MUSIC - Piazzolla: Otoño Porteño (Autumn)
Astor Piazzolla so took a cue from Vivaldi, but his four seasons depict life in Buenes Aires. Our sampling tonight found saxophones Jonathan Wintringham pianist, Pi-Lin Ni, and the East End Sax Quartet, enjoying Otoño, Autumn.
We began our Astra artist special tonight here on the young artist, showcase with several pieces, played in Philadelphia by violinist Luosha Fang and pianist Ilya Poletaev.
And we'll end it now with another impressive performance by the duo. This time of Enescu Sonata no. 3 marked in the popular Romanian style, don't expect a wild gypsy ride is in the composer's more famous Romanian Rhapsody. There are hints of it sprinkled through this more lyrical and expressive work, but it's, it's not that same flashy bit of wild joy.
Anyway, it was written in 1926, dedicated to the celebrated Romanian violinist, Franz Kneisel, who had died earlier that same year…
MUSIC - Enescu: Violin Sonata in A minor, “Torso”
Perhaps not the exuberant rump that it's subtitle in the popular Romanian style might suggest, but an evocative piece, nonetheless, Enescu Violin and Piano Sonata no. 3 in a warmly detailed performance by Luosha Fang and Ilya Poletaev. And so we have rounded out our two showcase evenings with winners of Astral Artists, national auditions, sending congratulations to founding president Vera Wilson, who was guided Astral into this silver anniversary season. And Leslie Johnson, director of artist services for making it possible for me to bring these first hearings to us on WQXR making it possible for the young artist showcase to flourish into our 39th year of course. A great good friend, Terry McGraw.
Terry McGraw: When my father Harold W. McGraw Jr. started the Young Artists Showcase in January of 1978, I might say also, along with you, Bob, he hoped it would encourage young musicians and alert the rest of us to their remarkable accomplishment. What I don't think he foresaw is that our WQXR program would continue to flourish for nearly 40 years, becoming the longest such underwritten series in American radio history.
I'm proud to be a part of this legacy, and I'm proud to be here with you, Bob.
Bob Sherman: Thank you, Terry. While most of us were starting to relax early last summer, after a busy concert season, about 100 topnotch, young instrumentalists from all over the country were gathering at the University of Maryland for intensive coachings and rehearsals, leading to public performances at the National Festival Orchestra.
Next week, we'll sample some of their symphonic wears. So, I do hope you'll be able to join us then our young artist showcase once again, flourishing with the generous underwriting of the Harold W. McGraw Jr. family foundation and the personal blessings of Harold's son, and my weekly on air partner, Terry McGraw, my weekly production partner is Merrin Lazyan and I'm Bob Sherman.
Good night, everybody.
New York Public Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline, often by contractors. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of New York Public Radio’s programming is the audio record.