Music from Paul and Daisy Soros Fellows, Part 1
Emi Ferguson: Hello, I'm Emi Ferguson sitting in for Bob Sherman. On today's show, we'll hear music from young artists awarded the prestigious Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans on this edition of the McGraw Family's young Artist Showcase.
Since 1978, the Young Artists Showcase has been generously underwritten by the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. Our showcase story today starts a few decades before that. Once upon a time in Manhattan, two people fell in love at the International House on 122 Street and Riverside Drive. Their names were Paul and Daisy, and though when they met in 1948, they had only just arrived in the United States, together, they would make an impact on generations of immigrants to come.
Each year the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans-or PD Soros for short-awards 30 merit-based fellowships across all fields, including music. In fact, many performers featured on the Young Artists Showcase, are Soros Fellows. Pianist Konstantin Soukhovetski, Elizabeth Joy Roe and Sean Chen, soprano Yulia Van Doren, cellist Christine Lamprea, and Flute player me, Emi Ferguson.
In his 25-year history, the fellowship has built a community of over 700 remarkable immigrants and children of immigrants. It's an amazing community who bring a strong sense of identity and passion to all of their work. Over the next two shows, we'll feature five young artists who are all recent recipients of the fellowship.
We're starting our exploration with pianist, Hilda Huang, a 2019 Soros Fellow, and child of immigrants from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Here's Hilda performing Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude and Fugue in A major from the Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1.
MUSIC - J.S. Bach, Prelude and Fugue in A major, Well Tempered Clavier Book 1, BWV 864
That was Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude and Fugue in A major performed by Hilda Huang. In 2014, Hilda won the Leipzig International Bach Competition, becoming the youngest competitor, first American and first person of Asian descent to do so. Let's hear some more of her Bach. Here's Hilda performing selections from Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita in D Major.
MUSIC - J.S. Bach: Partita in D Major, BWV 828
That was Hilda Huang performing selections from Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita and D Major. Hilda is currently working towards a doctorate in music at the Juilliard School here in New York, but her passion for learning has brought her to many different fields. During her undergrad at Yale University, she studied chemistry and also spent time as a clinical assistant for the Stanford Cardiothoracic Transplant team.
Her PD Soros Award supported her graduate studies in piano at the Yale School of Music, and it makes sense that Hilda's curiosity has also led her to exploring not only the piano but historical keyboards as well. Here's Hilda's performance on the harpsichord of D’anglebert's Passacaille d’Armide .
MUSIC - D’anglebert: Passacaille d’Armide
That was Hilda Huang performing D’anglebert's Passacaille d’Armide on the harpsichord. Hilda's been playing the harpsichord since she was nine years old, but it's only in the past few years that she's been performing on the harpsichord publicly. Here's Hilda performing Frescobaldi's Ancidetemi Pur on the harpsichord.
MUSIC - Frescobaldi: Ancidetemi Pur
Hilda Huang performing Frescobaldi's Ancidetemi Pur on the harpsichord. We've heard music played on the piano and the harpsichord tonight, but when we come back, we'll hear music played on an even older keyboard instrument here on the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase.
I'm Emi Ferguson sitting in for Bob Sherman. On today's edition of the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase, we are hearing performances by recipients of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. A multi-talented performer, composer, and visual artist, as a child of Chinese immigrants, Julie Zhu was awarded a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans in 2015 to support her graduate studies here in New York at Hunter College.
Julie started playing the piano when she was five, but her life would be forever changed when she agreed to accompany a friend on a tour of Yale University's Carillon, a tower of hanging bells played by a wooden keyboard. You might not have heard of the carillon, but you've probably heard a carillon if you've ever stopped outside of church when the bells have been putting on a show.
The person playing those bells is called a carilloneur and Julie Zhu is one of the best in the world. Since you can't take the instrument with you. Julie travels to each carillon for her concerts. Here's Julie Zhu performing a piece that she wrote herself in 2021 for the 80th anniversary of Yale University's Hoover Tower, which houses the first carillon Julie ever played. The piece takes its title from a poem by John Milton titled Allegro.
Music - Julie Zhu: Allegro
That was composer and carilloneur, Julie Zhu, performing her 2021 work Allegro for solo carillon. Carrilons are made up of hundreds of metal bells that are the largest and heaviest instruments in the world. Though each carillon is different, carillon players have to ascend hundreds of steps to get to the top of the tower where the wooden keyboard lives and the bells are suspended in a cloud above your head. Some of them are as small as flowerpots and others. The weight of five SUVs combined. You can imagine just how inspiring this instrument is, especially for a composer like Julie. For the next piece we'll hear, Julie was inspired by the idea of light, which can be described both as a wave and as a particle. Her piece, Lumiere is about this duality.
This piece showcases Julie's intimate knowledge of the carillon and also of her knowledge of writing for electronics which extend and enhance the carillon. You might also hear that the performance includes those everyday city sounds: birds and ambulances that permeate any carillon that lives at the heart of the city. Here is Julie's piece Lumiere for carillon and electronics.
MUSIC - Julie Zhu: Lumiere
That was Julie Zhu playing her piece, Lumiere for carillon and electronics. In addition to writing for and playing the carillon, Julie has composed music for the Jack Quartet, Longleash, PROMPTUS, TAK ensemble, amongst others. Her piece Pinks combines instruments from around the world fusing the sheng, cimbalom, harp, accordion, organ, and a bass voice together. Here is Wu Wei, Marie-Andrée Joerger, Genevieve Letang, Aleksandra Dzenisenia, Thomas Lacote, and Ben McKee performing Julie Zhu's 2021 piece, Pinks.
MUSIC - Julie Zhu: Pinks
That was composer Julie Zhu's Pinks for sheng, cimbalon, harp, accordion, organ, and bass voice. Though Julie spends her time composing for other people now, it was her friend pianist Robert Fleitz, who was the first person to commission her after hearing her first composition that she played herself on the carillon. And as she likes to say, the rest is history. Robert believed in her and now she composes full-time. Here is pianist Robert Fleitz playing Julie's Zhu's Other of Two for solo piano.
MUSIC - Julie Zhu: Other of Two
That was pianist Robert Fleitz performing composer Julie Zhu's Other of Two. To close out this episode, I thought it would be fun to reach back into our archives and share a performance from Young Artists Showcase alum and Paul and Daisy Soros fellow Sean Chen recorded live at WQXR's Young Artists Showcase Studio. Here's pianist Sean Chen performing JS Bach's Gigue from the fifth French Suite in G Major.
MUSIC - J.S. Bach: French Suite No. 5 in G Major, VII. Gigue
That was pianist Sean Chen performing J. S. Bach's Gigue from the Fifth French Suite in G Major. We have a little extra time tonight, so let's revisit pianist Hilda Huang. Here's Hilda performing Froberger's Tombeau de Blancrocher on the harpsichord.
MUSIC - Froberger: Tombeau de Blancrocher
That was Hilda Huang rounding out this week's edition of the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase, which is generously underwritten on WQXR by the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. Here's Terry McGraw with more.
Terry McGraw: Good evening, everyone. It's great to be with you, and it's always great being with a Young Artists Showcase and to hear these really wonderful and inspiring musicians as they continue to share their incredible gifts with us every week. I can't wait to hear the fabulous talent coming up on The Showcase, and I am so pleased to be able to support the series all through its well over four decades on WQXR. And there's so much more to come.
Emi Ferguson: Thank you, Terry, and special thanks to the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. If you're curious to learn more, check out www.pdsoros.org. Next week, we'll continue our spotlight on PD Soros Fellows here on the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase with performances by soprano Yvette Keong, trumpeter David Adewumi, and cellist Audrey Chen. Many thanks to WQXR program producers Eileen Delahunty, Max Fine, and Laura Boyman with additional production assistance by Maya Cassady. Our generous program underwriter is the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. I'm Emi Ferguson sitting in for Bob Sherman. Goodnight.
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