ENCORE: Salon de Virtuosi 2023 Career Grant Recipients Part 1

(top left to right) Daniel Hodos, Renée Emiko Murphy, (bottom) Merz Trio


Emi Ferguson: Good evening. I am Emi Ferguson, and tonight we'll be hearing performances from winners of the Salon de Virtuosi 2023 Career Grants on this edition of the McGraw Family's Young Artist Showcase.


Emi Ferguson: This week marks the 46th anniversary of the Young Artist Showcase, which is generously underwritten by the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation. We're celebrating by continuing a favorite tradition. For over a decade, the showcase's founding host Bob Sherman would begin each year by sharing performances from the winners of the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grants. So for this special birthday edition of the showcase, we are following in his footsteps with a two-part series on this year's recipients.

Tonight you'll be hearing performances from three of those astounding young artists. The Salon de Virtuosi is celebrating its 35th year of discovering and supporting talented young musicians. The Salon was founded in 1989 by the concert pianist, Charlotte White, and has assisted an outstanding array of young artists through generous grants and unforgettable concerts in New York City.

At the end of each year, scholarship and career grants of $5,000 are awarded to the winners. The performances we'll be hearing tonight were recorded live here in New York City at Merkin Hall. Starting us off as violinist Daniel Hodos, performing Johannes Brahms's Scherzo in C Minor with pianist Kyoung Im Kim.

[MUSIC Brahms: FAE Sonata, WoO2, III. Scherzo]


Emi Ferguson: That was Daniel Hodos, a 2023 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant winner with pianist Kyoung Im Kim, performing Johannes Brahms's Scherzo in C minor from the FAE Sonata. As a young musician, mentorship is so important and if you are a fan of Johannes Brahms, then you know that as a young musician, he was supported and championed by fellow composer Robert Schumann.

In fact, when Johannes Brahms was only 20 years old, Robert Schumann wrote an article that heralded Johannes's arrival onto the musical scene. Robert wrote, "One whose mastery springs fully armed from the head of Jupiter, has arrived. A young blood at whose cradle graces and heroes kept watch. His name is Johannes Brahms." Johannes, friendship with Robert and with his wife, the composer and pianist Clara Schumann would continue their whole lives sparking collaboration along the way.

The piece you just heard was one of those collaborations. The FAE Sonata has a fantastic origin story as a collaborative musical composition between a 20-year-old Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, and Schumann student, Albert Dietrich, all as a gift to their new friend, the Violin Virtuoso, Joseph Joachim. Each composer wrote one of the movements of the piece, all inspired by Joachim's personal motto, "Frei aber einsam" which translates to free but lonely, FAE. Brahms took the third movement Scherzo. It was premiered by none other than Joachim with Clara Schumann at the piano, a true family affair.

In the same year that the FAE Sonata was written, Polish composer Henryk Wieniawski was similarly inspired by another musician, Karol Lipiński, to whom he dedicated our next piece. Here's Hungarian violinist Daniel Hodos once again with pianist Kyoung Im Kim performing Henryk Wieniawski's Polonaise in D Major.

[MUSIC Wieniawski: Polonaise in D Major]


Emi Ferguson: Violinist Daniel Hodos with pianist Kyoung Im Kim performing Henryk Wieniawski's Polonaise in D Major. We're continuing our celebration of the 2023 Salon de Virtuosi Award Winners with harpist Renée Emiko Murphy. Here's Renée performing an excerpt from Claude Debussy's La Damoiselle élue or in English, The Blessed Damozel.

[MUSIC Debussy (trans. Adam Phan): Prelude from La Damoiselle élue, L. 62]


Emi Ferguson: Renée Emiko Murphy performing an excerpt from Claude Debussy's La Damoiselle élue. As a harpist, Renée is no stranger to adapting works for other instruments for the harp, just like in the adaptation you heard, but she's also actively commissioning new works for the harp. In her bio, Renée writes that she's committed to expanding the harp repertoire and has a particular interest in representing music, reflecting her Japanese and African-American heritage. Here's Renée speaking from the stage of Merkin Hall.

Renée Emiko Murphy: Well, in June at the, um, Consulate General of Japan in New York on the east side, um, at the Salon de Virtuosi Concert, I, um, premiered a work that I commissioned through a grant through Juilliard that I received, um, which was my first time commissioning a work. And it was just very special because, um, this piece that I-I chose to piece together in a way with the composer it combined, um, a Japanese piece, Hoshi Meguri no Uta, and, um, a work called Follow the Drinking Gourd, which is an American kind of folk song, combining my Japanese and African American heritage into one piece. And so it was a very special project, um, getting to work with a very dear friend, and a family friend, Ryota Ishikawa. And, um, also getting to work with my teacher, Nancy at-at Julliard, um, and kind of learning about how to commission a piece and how to work with a composer. And so I was really, really, um, just thrilled that I could share this work, um, in June,

Emi Ferguson: Stay tuned for the release of Renee's new recording of Ryota Ishikawa's Reaching for the Drinking Gourd. But, in the meantime, here's Renee again performing the harp showpiece La Danse des Sylphes by Félix Godefroid

[MUSIC Godefroid: La Danse des Sylphes]


Emi Ferguson: Harpist Renee Emiko Murphy, performing Félix Godefroid's La Danse des Sylphes. When we come back, we'll hear more from the 2023 winners of the Salon de Virtuosi Career Grants here on the McGraw Family's Young Artist Showcase.

I'm Emi Ferguson, and on this week's edition of the McGraw Family's Young Artist Showcase, we're celebrating the winners of the 2023 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant and honor the bestows an award of $5,000 for these young artists and a chance to share their music-making live in Merkin Hall and here on The Young Artist Showcase.

Next up on our program is the Philadelphia-based Merz Trio comprised of violinist Brigid Coleridge, cellist Julia Yang, and pianist Amy Yang. They're the winners of the Naumburg Concert Artist Guild, Fischoff, and Chesapeake Competitions to name a few in addition to their 2023 Salon de Virtuosi Grant. Here's the Merz Trio performing selections from their album, Ink by composers, Lili and Nadia Boulanger.

[MUSIC Lili Boulanger: D’un Vieux Jardin]

[MUSIC Nadia Boulanger: heures ternes]

Emi Ferguson: The Merz Piano Trio, performing Lili Boulanger's D'un Vieux Jardin, and Nadia Boulanger's heures ternes from their album, Ink. The Merz Trio delights in cross-disciplinary collaboration. And in their 2021 album, Ink, they interweave new arrangements of works like the ones you just heard, with readings of texts by Parisian writers and poets, all centered around Maurice Ravel's Piano Trio. Here's the first movement from the Merz Trio's recording of Maurice Ravel's Piano Trio from their 2021 album, Ink.

[MUSIC Ravel: Piano Trio in A Minor, I. Modéré]

Emi Ferguson: That was the Merz Trio performing the first movement from Maurice Ravel's Piano Trio in A minor. As part of winning a 2023 Salon de Virtuosi Award, all of the artists you're hearing tonight performed this past October live in Merkin Hall in an award ceremony that was dedicated to the founder and longtime host of the Young Artist Showcase, Bob Sherman. Here's the Merz Trio Performing Pēteris Vasks, Burlesca live from that award ceremony in Merkin Hall.

[MUSIC Vasks: Burlesca, from Episodi e canto perpetuo]


Emi Ferguson: The Merz Trio performing Pēteris Vasks, Burlesca from Episodi e canto perpetuo. Here's Brigid from the Merz Trio live at Merkin Hall.

Brigid Coleridge: Um, we're very interested in programming for recitals. Of course, uh, we play a lot of recitals and it's a very creative space even when we're not talking about working with other artists from other disciplines, uh, we find it very exciting to think about how we create halves, how the music can speak to, um, one another within a- within a program. We do a lot of arranging of principally songs for Trio and that we find is a very flexible way of approaching programming for recitals.

We also do a lot of, um, collaborative work with other artists working in other disciplines. That's very exciting for us. We have a range of backgrounds ourselves, um, not in music, so it seems very much playing to our own interests, but also really understanding our art for music making is very much part of a wider conversation in a wider world.

Narrator: Here's the Merz Trio once again, bringing us back to Johannes Brahms with their performance of the finale from his Piano number 2 in C minor.

[MUSIC Brahms, Piano Trio No.2 in C Major, Op.87, IV. Finale: Allegro giocoso]


Emi Ferguson: Johannes Brahms, performed by the Merz Trio. The Young Artists Showcase is generously underwritten on WQXR by the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation. Here's Terry McGraw with more.

Terry McGraw: When my father, Harold W. McGraw Jr., started the Young Artists Showcase in January of 1978, 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, 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.

Emi Ferguson: Thank you, Terry. And special thanks to the Salon de Virtuosi for their support of these incredible young musicians. Many thanks to WQXR program producers, Laura Boyman and Max Fine. Our generous program underwriter is the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. I'm Emi Ferguson. Thank you for listening, and good night.

[MUSIC Ravel: Piano Trio in A Minor, II. Pantoum]

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