Young Concert Artists 2022 Winners
Simone Dinnerstein: Hello, I'm Simone Dinnerstein sitting in for Bob Sherman. Tonight, we are featuring the winner's recital of the 2022 Young Concert Artists Susan Wadsworth International Auditions. You'll hear Schumann, Massenet, and more on this edition of the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase.
Full disclosure, I was on the jury for the 2022 competition finals. It was a wonderful experience to hear so many fine young musicians perform and challenging to select the four winners who you will hear tonight. I wish that when I was a young musician competing, I had understood better how difficult it is to be on the other side as a jury member and to reach a collective decision.
Music is subjective, and every juror brings their own individual perspective to their listening. The winners whom you will hear tonight clearly have strong personalities of their own as well as unique elements to their performing styles. We will begin with the versatile musician, Chelsea Guo. Chelsea began her studies at Juilliard pre-college as a pianist, but soon found that she had an equal passion for singing.
She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in piano at Juilliard as a student of Hung-Kuan Chen while studying voice with Jason Ferrante. What is particularly interesting to me is how she combines the two in concert, sometimes accompanying herself and sometimes shifting over on the piano bench while her accompanist slides on, allowing her to stand and sing.
Young Artists Showcase audiences may remember Chelsea from a performance in 2021 for the National Arts Club when she sang Schumann's Frauenliebe und leben.
MUSIC - Schumann: Frauenliebe und leben, I. Seit ich ihn gesehen
That was Chelsea Guo singing and accompanying herself on the piano in the first movement of Schumann's Frauenliebe und leben from a recital for the National Arts Club in 2021. Now we will move on to two of Chelsea's performances in the Young Concert Artists 2022 winners’ recital, both with the excellent pianist, Shawn Cheng.
First, we will hear Massenet's “Je suis encore tout etourdie” from Manon. This is an aria sung by the innocent Manon at the start of the opera when she is filled with awe and wonder at the world. Chelsea contrasts this aria by following it with Stephen Sondheim's “Ladies Who Lunch” from his musical, Company, sung by the character of Joanne, a middle-aged cynic who drinks. This is an ironic and comical description of the high society, wealthy, and idle women who are leading vacuous lives.
MUSIC - Massenet: “Je suis encore tout etourdie” from Manon
MUSIC - Sondehim: “Ladies Who Lunch” from Company
That was soprano Chelsea Guo with pianist Shawn Chang, performing “Je Suis encore tout etourdie” from Massenet's Manon, followed by “Ladies Who Lunch” from Sondheim's musical Company. So interesting to hear the range from innocence to irony in Chelsea's performance. Next up is the striking young mezzo-soprano, Erin Wagner from El Paso, Texas.
Erin spoke very touchingly about the song we are about to hear, which she commissioned pianist and composer Shawn Chang to write based on a childhood letter that her father wrote to his mother. Let's hear what Erin has to say about Marty's Letter followed by her performance of it with Shawn Chang at the piano.
Erin Wagner: The song is called Marty's Letter. Marty is my dad, and um, my dad was born with a very rare disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. And so, he has been in a wheelchair for his whole life. But, um, when he was a young child, he went through a lot of painful surgeries and experimental treatments to try to see if he could walk one day.
And so, at the age of six, he was in like this full body cast. There's pictures of him. You can just see his little head and he would sit in his room and just want to go outside and play with his brothers and sisters. And his mom came to him one day and asked if he wanted to write a letter to his grandmother, and this is the letter that he wrote.
And what I love most about my father is that even though he has faced so many challenges, he looks at everything with hope and with happiness and with mischief and with humor, and I feel like Shawn, who is the brilliant composer, I think Shawn perfectly captured who my dad is in his music. So I'm so grateful to one of my very, very best friends for, um, bringing this music to life. Yeah.
MUSIC - Chang: Marty's Letter
That was mezzo-soprano Erin Wagner and pianist composer Shawn Chang, performing Shawn's composition Marty's Letter. I love how Erin paid tribute to her father by commissioning her friend to write her a song using her father's words. These types of very personal musical projects resonate so deeply with listeners.
It makes me think of the romantic composers like Schumann and Brahms, who documented their deep friendships through music and words. Now we will hear Erin singing the role of the young composer in Richard Strauss's aria, “Sein wir wider gut,” from Ariadne auf Naxos. This is one of the great so-called trouser rolls, where a woman sings the role of a man. Here the young composers experiencing a moment of epiphany and transformation.
MUSIC - Strauss: “Sein wir wider gut” from Ariadne auf Naxos
That was mezzo-soprano, Erin Wagner with pianist Shawn Chang, singing the achingly euphoric aria “Sein wir wider gut” from Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos. It's time for a quick break now. Then I'll be back with more performances by these talented musicians from Young Concert Artists here on the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase.
Welcome back. I'm Simone Dinnerstein sitting in for Bob Sherman, and today we are listening to the winners' recital of the 2022 Young Concert Artists Susan Wadsworth International Auditions. We are going to continue with the expressive young bass-baritone, Joseph Parrish. Hailing from Baltimore, Joseph is currently a master's student at the Juilliard School.
I remember quite clearly how Joseph walked onto the stage in the finals of the YCA competition. He almost strolled onto the stage, and then he sat at the piano and accompanied himself. He made us feel as if we were in his living room, being invited to listen to him share a song amongst friends. Here he is in the winner's recital, accompanying himself on the piano in Bob Telson's song “Calling You.”
MUSIC - Telson: Calling You
That was bass-baritone Joseph Parrish singing and at the piano in Bob Telson's song, “Calling You,” which some of you may remember from the movie Bagdad Cafe. Now we will hear Joseph in a completely different mode singing in Russian in the climax of Rachmaninoff's opera Aleko, in the aria “Aleko's Cavatina.” This passionate aria is Aleko crying out over being rejected by his lover and by his beloved homeland of Russia. I have to share that one of the jurors on the panel had an intimate knowledge of the Russian language and said that Joseph's pronunciation was impeccable.
MUSIC - Rachmaninoff: “Aleko's Cavatina” from Aleko
That was the wonderful bass-baritone, Joseph Parrish with a beautiful pianist, Shawn Chang, performing “Aleko's Cavatina” from Rachmaninoff's Opera Aleko. The final performer on tonight's concert of the 2022 Young Concert Artists winners is the fabulous young pianist Chaeyoung Park. Currently an artist, diploma student at Julliard Chaeyoung, was born in South Korea and immigrated to Lawrence, Kansas at the age of 10.
I was very taken by the utter seriousness with which she approached each piece of music and her performance. There's not only a deeply thoughtful and personal aspect to her playing, but there's also a quality of intense listening. We are going to hear Chaeyoung play a group of selections by Rachmaninoff followed without pause by Agosti's transcription of the finale of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite.
But first, let's hear Chaeyoung say a few words about the Rachmaninoff.
Chaeyoung Park: In terms of the Rachmaninoff, it's really interesting that, um, especially for the etudes, he actually calls them picture pieces. So, he had a visual in mind. And what he was trying to do with each of these short preludes and etudes is capture the emotional essence of the visuals, uh, through sound.
And so, with the line, I try to, um, make sure that, you know, from the beginning to the end, it's painting one picture. And the details that go in, you know, in the middle, um, they are all there to support that one big picture in one emotional content.
Simone Dinnerstein: Now let's hear pianist Chaeyoung Park playing selections by Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky.
MUSIC - Rachmaninoff: Prelude in G Major, Op. 32 No. 5
MUSIC - Rachmaninoff: Prelude in G sharp Minor, Op. 32 No. 12
MUSIC - Rachmaninoff: Etude-Tableau in E flat Minor, Op. 33 No. 6
MUSIC - Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite, III. Finale
That was an electrifying performance by Pianist Chaeyoung Park of Rachmaninoff's Preludes in G Major and G# minor Opus 32, Numbers 5 and 12, as well as his Etude-Tableau in E-flat minor, Opus 33, Number 6, ending with Agosti's brilliant transcription of the finale from Stravinsky's Firebird Suite.
Such a wonderfully rich and diverse program from the winner's recital of the 2022 Young Concert Artists Susan Wadsworth International Auditions in New York City. But before we end this episode of Young Artists Showcase, I would love to share with you a live performance that mezzo-soprano Erin Wagner gave in WQXR's very own Greene Space back in 2019 for a midday masterpieces program of vocal arts students from the Juilliard School. Here she is singing the exquisite conclusion to Mahler's Ruckert Lieder with the exceptional pianist, Bronwyn Schuman.
MUSIC - Mahler: “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” from Ruckert Lieder
What a moving performance by mezzo-soprano Erin Wagner and pianist Bronwyn Schuman of Mahler's “Ich bin der Welt Abhanden gekommen” from Ruckert Lieder from a live performance at WQXR's Greene Space in 2019. You have been listening to a program featuring the 2022 winners of Young Concert Artists Susan Wadsworth International Auditions, and that completes 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 the 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.
Simone Dinnerstein: Thank you, Terry. Please join us next time to hear a group of very special students from the Mannes School of Music who with great entrepreneurship, have created their own concert series. 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 Simone Dinnerstein sitting in for Bob Sherman. Good night.
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.