Middlebury

Individual stars come together to perform as the Johannes Quartet March 19

March 6, 2009

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, the Johannes Quartet will debut at Middlebury in the Kevin P. Mahaney '84 Center for the Arts Concert Hall. Their program will include works by Bartók, Webern, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Schubert.

The Johannes Quartet consists of four accomplished musicians who take time away from their busy careers to pursue their love of the string quartet literature. Members include Soovin Kim and Jessica Lee on violin, Choong-Jin Chang on viola, and Peter Stumpf on cello. For the performance of Schubert's C Major Cello Quintet, the second cello will be Theodore Nelson, son of esteemed Middlebury College Performing Arts Series Director Paul Nelson.

The quartet made its debut in 1998 and has been praised by listeners and critics alike for its special combination of passion, warmth, elegance and poetry. Each member has spent numerous summers at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, birthplace of many of the world's renowned ensembles. The Chamber Music Society of Philadelphia has featured the group each season, including a concert series of the complete Beethoven opus 18 quartets.

Violinist Soovin Kim is known for the character, nuance and excitement of his performances, as well as his breadth of repertoire. He has performed in throughout the United States, Europe and Asia as a soloist and as part of ensembles. Recordings include the critically acclaimed release of the "24 Paganini Caprices" on Azica Records, and the "Faure A Major Sonata" and the "Chausson Concerto for Violin, Piano and Quartet" with Jeremy Denk and the Jupiter Quartet. In 1996, Kim won first prize in the Paganini International Competition. A Vermont Youth Orchestra alumnus, he studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute. He plays the 1709 "ex-Kempner" Stradivarius which is on temporary loan to him.

Violinist Jessica Lee won first prize in the 2005 Concert Artists Guild International Competition and was featured in The Strad as one of the magazine's "up-and-coming musicians" for June 2007. Noted appearances include her debut recital at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium, as well as special performances with dance companies such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and the Richmond Ballet. She began playing the violin at age 3 and captured national attention following a feature article in Life magazine. She attended the Curtis Institute of Music at age 14, and, in 2003, completed her studies with Robert Mann at the Juilliard School. An active chamber musician, Lee joined the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS 2 program in 2009.

Choong-Jin (C.J.) Chang is principal viola of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music with Jascha Brodsky and Joseph dePasquale. As a soloist, he made a successful debut at Carnegie Hall and has continued to perform throughout the U.S. and Asia. He has collaborated with musicians such as Yefim Bronfman, Jaime Laredo, André Previn, Mstislav Rostropovich and Yo-Yo Ma. He is a founding member of the Johannes Quartet and a respected teacher of both the violin and viola. Many former pupils are current members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as winners of major competitions.

Peter Stumpf became principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2002. He is an accomplished chamber musician and has performed around the world with Emanuel Ax, Andras Schiff, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Radu Lupu, Mitsuko Uchida and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. With Boston Musica Viva, he has explored techniques such as microtonal compositions. He teaches at University of Southern California, and has taught at University of Hartford, New England Conservatory, and as a guest artist at the Curtis Institute of Music, from which he received his bachelor's degree before being awarded an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory.

Returning to his hometown of Middlebury, Theodore Nelson began playing the cello at age 6. He joined the Vermont Youth Orchestra in junior high and was the cellist of the orchestra's string quartet alongside Soovin Kim. He took his first degree in cello performance at the Eastman School of Music and earned a graduate degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music.  He is currently a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and cellist of concert:nova, a Cincinnati contemporary music ensemble.

This performance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series. The Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall is located on South Main Street (Route 30). Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for seniors. A pre-performance dinner begins at 6 p.m. at Rehearsals Cafe, also located in the Center for the Arts. Reservations are required. For tickets or dinner reservations, contact the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433 or www.middlebury.edu/arts.