First Monday at Jordan Hall: des Prez, Saint-Saëns, & Montgomery
Join us as we celebrate 37 years of First Mondays: well-loved classics and new compositions, performed by some of the finest chamber musicians in the world, free and open to all. First Mondays are fresh and full of imaginative pairings of well-loved classics and new works, performed in one of the finest places on the planet to hear music of this caliber: NEC’s own Jordan Hall.
This fall’s concerts curated by Artistic Director Laurence Lesser highlight works by Josquin des Prez, Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, and Igor Stravinsky. Drawing on the talent of NEC’s piano and keyboard community, the concerts weave a thread throughout the centuries—all anchored in extraordinary music for keyboard.
This performance was open to in-person audiences, and was also viewable via livestream.
View VIDEO STREAM OF FULL CONCERT, WITH LAURENCE LESSER'S PROGRAM NOTES:
Watch Laurence Lesser's Program Notes ON THEIR OWN:
- Balourdet String Quartet
Josquin des Prez
Gaude, Virgo Mater Christi
Sanctus from "Missa Pange Lingua"
La déploration sur la mort de Johannes Ockeghem: Nymphes des bois
Gaude, Virgo Mater Christi
Gaude, virgo mater Christi
Quae per aurem concepisti
Gaude, quia Deo plena
Peperisti sine pœna
Cum pudoris lilio.
Gaude, quia tui nati
Quem dolebas mortem pati,
Gaude Christo ascendente,
Et in coelum te vidente,
Motu fertur proprio.
Gaude quae post ipsum scandis,
Et est honor tibi grandis,
In caeli palatio.
Ubi fructus ventris tui,
Nobis detur per te frui,
In perenni gaudio.
Rejoice, virgin mother of Christ
who conceived Jesus by hearing
Rejoice, for full of God
you gave birth without pain,
with the lily of purity.
Rejoice, for the resurrection
of thy Son now shines,
whose death you had mourned.
Rejoice, as Christ ascends,
and, in your sight, is carried
into heaven by his own strength.
Rejoice, you who rises after him
and to whom great honor is due
in the palace of heaven,
Where the fruit of your womb
is given to us, through you, to enjoy
in eternal rejoicing.
Mille regretz de vous abandoner
Et d'eslonger vostre fache amoureuse,
J’ay si grand dueil et paine douloureuse,
Qu’on me vera brief mes jours definer.
A thousand regrets at leaving you,
and leaving behind your loving face.
I feel so much sadness and such painful distress,
that it seems to me my days will soon dwindle away.
Qui gardez moutons aux praz:
Dy moy si vieulx estre myenne:
Je te donray uns soulas,
Et ung petit chapperon;
Dy moy se tu m’aymeras,
Ou par la merande ou non.
Je suis la proche voisine
De monsieur le cura,
Et pour chose qu’on me die,
Mon vouloir ne changera,
Pour François ne Bourgoignon.
Par le cor Dé, si fera,
Ou par la merande ou non.
[He said] Shepherdess of Savoy,
who guards the sheep in the fields,
tell me if you will be mine:
I will give you some entertainment,
and a little bonnet;
Tell me if you will love me,
whether it is deserved or not.
[She said] I am the nearest neighbor
of the curate,
and, whatever I am told,
my desires will not change
for Frenchman nor Burgundian.
By the power of God, it will be so,
whether it is deserved or not.
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Osanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit
in nomine Domini.
Osanna in excelsis
Holy, holy, holy
Lord God of Hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he that cometh
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Petite camusette, à la mort m'avez mis,
Robin et Marion, s'en vont au bois joly.
Ilz s'en vont, ilz s'en vont bras à bras,
ilz se sont endormis.
Petite camusette,à la mort m'avez mis.
You little flirt, you’ll be the death of me.
Robin Hood and Marion, they went to the pretty woods.
They went there arm-in-arm.
They went to go to sleep.
Little flirt, you’ll be the death of me.
Nymphes des bois
Requiem aeternam dona eis DomineCar d’attropos les molestations
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Nymphes des bois, deesses des fontaines,
Chantres expers de toutes nations,
Changes vos voix, fors claires et haultaines
En cris tranchantz et lamentations.
Votre okeghem par sa rigueur s’attrape,
Le vray tresor de musiqe et chef d’oeuvre,
Qui de tropos desnormais plus neschappe,
Dont grant domaige est que le terre coeuvre.
Acoultrez vous d’abitz de dueil,
Josquin, Brumel, Pierchon, Compère,
Et plorez grosses larmes d’oeil,
Perdu avez vostre bon père.
Put on your clothes of mourning,
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and may perpetual light shine upon them. Amen
Nymphs of the woods, goddesses of the fountains,
Expert singers of all nations,
Turn your voices, once clear and lofty,
To sharp cries and lamentation
For the harsh snares of Atropos*,
Have caught your Ockeghem,
A true master of music.
From Atropos, no one can escape;
And it is a tragedy that the earth now covers him [Ockeghem].
Josquin, Brumel, Pierchon, Compère**,
And weep many tears from your eyes,
For you have lost your good father.
* Atropos is one of the three Fates in Greek mythology, Goddess of death. Her name roughly translates as “the inescapable”, and she was in charge of deciding exactly how and when someone would die by “cutting the thread” of the person’s life.
**These are the names of Josquin’s contemporaries (and Josquin himself), all composers who revered Ockeghem as their forefather: Antoine Brumel, Pierre de la Rue (“Pierchon” is a nickname), and Loyset Compère.
Voices: Laura Thomas, Alyssa Weathersby, Wei En Chan, Rian Grimmer, David Thomas Mather, Elijah Botkin, Chris Talbot
Holly Druckman, director
Since 2016, Carduus (formerly the Carr Consort) has brought top-level performances of early and modern a cappella music to Boston audiences. Hailed by the Boston Musical Intelligencer as “...[expressive and emotional]...” for their performance of music by Ives and Gesualdo, the ensemble is quickly establishing itself as a formidable performing force of early and modern vocal chamber music. Carduus’ mission is to offer vivid performances of often unheard works and to introduce lesser performed composers into the canon of unconducted chamber choir repertoire. Current and recent projects include collaborations with Stratis Minakakis and maya + rouvelle, and a concert of two premieres and the Brahms German Requiem in memorial of the victims of COVID-19.
Boston-based conductor Holly Druckman is in demand as a smart, sensitive performer of early and contemporary music, and highly sought after as a guest conductor and artistic collaborator. She is the founder and music director of Carduus, and the music director of Vox Lucens. Other recent conducting engagements include the New England Conservatory Concert Choir, Beneficia Lucis, the choir at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Providence, the Grace Church Orchestra, the New England Conservatory Contemporary Ensemble, and short-term positions with the Commonwealth Chorale and Cappella Clausura. Ms. Druckman enjoys working with living composers, and has premiered music by Tyler Bouque, Jacob Hiser, Bernie Zelitch, Max Grafe, and Jeremy Wall. Upcoming projects include a collaboration with composer Stratis Minakakis and Carduus, and a concert-cycle with the Seraphim Singers in the Spring of 2022. Ms. Druckman holds two master’s degrees with academic honors from New England Conservatory: in Choral Conducting and Historical Musicology. She was the recipient of NEC’s 2018 Gunther Schuller award. For more information, please visit druckmanholly.com.
John Tyson, recorders
Laura Gulley, violin, viola
Daniel Rowe, cello
Miyuki Tsurutani, organ, recorders
Renaissonics is acknowledged as a leading ensemble of Renaissance chamber music, dance and improvisation.They have performed in France, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and throughout the U.S. and may be heard on Ken Burns’ PBS documentary The West. Renaissonics has been a featured ensemble for the Boston Christmas Revels and Early Music America’s Star Spangled Season. Other appearances include the Boston Early Music Festival, the Cambridge Society for Early Music's International Concerts, the Castle Hill Pop Music Series, the Washington Early Music Festival, the Indianapolis Early Music Festival, New England Conservatory's Improvisation Festival, Plimouth Plantation and at Boston's First Night Celebration. Renaissonics has been resident ensemble of the Court Dance Company of New York and the Vermont Shakespeare Festival. "A brilliant ensemble." - The Early Music Review (London)Ensembles
- Carduus and Renaissonics
Jessie Montgomery | Strum (2006/2012)
About the Balourdet Quartet
The Balourdet String Quartet, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is currently in residence at New England Conservatory’s Professional String Quartet Program. The quartet received the Grand Prize at the 2021 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition as well as the top prize awarded in the 2021 Premio Paolo Borciani in Reggio Emilia, Italy. The group also received the Gold Medal in the 2020 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the Gold Medal and Audience Award at the 2021 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, and the Second Prize in the 2019 Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition.
Highlights of the 2021–2022 season include Accademia Musicale Chigiana, La Jolla Summerfest, an in-person return to the Schneider Concert Series, and a recital in NEC’s Jordan Hall.
The Balourdet has shared the stage with renowned artists including Cho-Liang Lin, as well as members of the Dover Quartet. It has studied and performed at festivals including the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, and Accademia Musicale Chigiana. The Balourdet String Quartet works primarily with Paul Katz at the NEC, as well as members of the Cleveland and Borromeo Quartets. The quartet was formed in 2018 at Rice University in Houston, Texas under the tutelage of James Dunham, Norman Fischer, and Cho-Liang Lin.
The Balourdet String Quartet gets its name from Antoine Balourdet, chef extraordinaire at the Hotel St. Bernard and beloved member of the Taos School of Music community.Ensembles
- Balourdet String Quartet
- Angela Bae and Justin DeFilippis, violin
- Benjamin Zannoni, viola
- Russell Houston, cello
Camille Saint-Saëns | Carnival of the Animals (1886)
Introduction and Royal March of the Lion
Hens and Roosters
Wild Donkeys (Swift Animals)
Characters with Long Ears
The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods
Cellist Lluís Claret was born in 1951 in Andorra la Vella to exiled Andorran parents, and began his musical studies at the age of nine. In 1964 he moved to Barcelona, Spain, where he won major distinctions at the Conservatory of the Liceu, and began working with Enric Casals. He continued his studies in France, Italy, and in the United States, with masters such as Maurice Gendron and Radu Aldulescu. Claret has said that his personal meetings with György Sebök, Eva Janzer, and Bernard Greenhouse were also implemental in the development of his artistic personality. Claret’s professional career was launched into the international spotlight after he took first prizes at the Pablo Casals International Cello Competition in 1976 and the Rostropovich Cello Competition in 1977.
Chamber music, pedagogy, and a great interest in contemporary music are all essential elements of Claret’s musical focus. His previous teaching posts include the "Victoria dels Angels" Music School at Sant Cugat in Barcelona, and the Toulouse Conservatory in France. He currently teaches at the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona, and has presented masterclasses in France, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, the U.S., Japan, and Korea. Also, together with Bernard Greenhouse he conducted seminars at the Abbey of Fontfroide in Narbonne, France.
A consummate performer, Claret has been on stage in the principal capitals of Europe, America, and Asia. Under the baton of Vaclav Neumann, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Pierre Boulez, Karl Münchinger, Dimitri Kitaienko, Sakari Oramo, George Malcolm, and many others, Claret has performed with orchestras such as the Washington National Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, Hungarian Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, and the French National Orchestra. He has also performed with notable orchestras in Tokyo, Seoul, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Bamberg, Moscow, Madrid, and Barcelona. In 1980, he founded the Barcelona Trio, which performed for nearly 15 years. He regularly plays with pianists Josep-Maria Colom and Benedicte Palko and has collaborated often with prestigious musicians such as Henri Dutilleux, Witold Lutoslawski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Joan Guinjoan, Iannis Xenakis, and Pierre Boulez.
A regularly invited jury member for international competitions, Claret has served on the juries of the Rostropovitch Competition in Paris, France, Paulo Cello Competition in Helsinki, Finland, the International Pablo Casals Competition in Kronberg, Germany, and the Adam Cello Competition in Auckland, New Zealand.
He joined the NEC faculty in 2016 and serves as co-chair of the Strings and Chamber Music Departments.
Saehyun Kim, a 14-year-old pianist from Seoul, South Korea, moved to Weston, MA in August 2021. He started his piano studies at the age of 4, and six years later he had his first solo recital at Seoul’s Kumho Art Hall as a participant of the Kumho Prodigy Concert Series. He has performed at major concert venues in his country over the past seven years, such as the Seoul Arts Center Recital Hall, Mozart Art Hall, Youngsan Art Hall, TLI Art Center, Samick Art Hall, and Cosmos Art Hall. He had his orchestra debut with the Lyum Chamber Orchestra in February 2019.
In 2019, Saehyun won the second prize at the 1st International Tchaikovsky Online Piano Competition for Young Musicians. The youngest participant in the final round, he performed with the Korean Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Chi-Yong Chung. Additionally, he won first prizes at the 2021 New York International Classical Music Competition and the 2018 Ewha and Kyunghyang Music Competition, the most prestigious young artist music competition in Korea. Saehyun has participated in internationally recognized festivals and camps such as Morningside Music Bridge (2021), Ishikawa Music Academy (2018), and Eumyeon International Music Festival (2017).
Beyond these prestigious achievements, Saehyun has won further accolades at international and national levels. He took top honors at the Music Chunchu Competition and the Music Education News Competition. He gained attention as the youngest medalist of his divisions at the Korea Steinway Competition, Dong-A Junior Music Competition, Korea Chopin Competition, Korea Liszt Competition, Kalaidos Piano Competition, and the Kyungju International Music Competition. Moreover, he won the Encouragement Award at the Ishikawa Music Academy in Japan.
In the past five years, Saehyun has participated in masterclasses with Kevin Kenner, Piotr Paleczny, Enrico Pace, John O’Conor, Krzysztof Jablonski, Lev Natochenny, Aviram Reichert, Choong-Mo Kang, Jinsang Lee, and Fumiko Eguchi. Back in Korea, Saehyun attended Yewon School and studied with Soojung Shin, Professor Emeritus at Seoul National University. Currently, he is a sophomore at Walnut Hill School for the Arts and studies with HaeSun Paik, Professor at New England Conservatory.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Jinyoung Kweon started her piano studies at the age of eight. She studied piano at Seoul Arts Center Music Academy and Korea National Institute for Gifted in Arts. She then attended Yewon Art School and at present is a Grade 11 student at Walnut Hill School for the Arts. She has studied under the direction of Haesun Paik at New England Conservatory since 2020 and had taken lessons from Julius-Jeongwon Kim in Korea.
She recently won the first prize at the 2021 Minnesota International Piano E-Competition and New York International Classical Music Competition. She was also invited to the 2021 Morningside Music Bridge festival program and the 2020 Hilton Head International Piano Competition in the U.S. In addition to the second prize at the 2018 Ettlingen International Piano Competition in Germany, she received the first prize at numerous prestigious competitions in Korea, including Ewha and Kyunghyang Competition, Korea Chopin Competition, Young Chang Music Competition, Korea Herald Competition, and others.
Her concert and recital performances include an upcoming prize winner concert at Carnegie Hall and the 2019 Kirishima International Music Festival as well as many others in Korea, including Kumho Here & Now Prodigy Concert Series – 20th Anniversary, Korea Young Artist Music Festival Concert, Korean Chamber Orchestra Prodigy Concert, Kumho Prodigy Concert – Solo Recital, Little Mozart Recital, and Seoul Arts Center Music Academy Fall Concert.
Percussionist Taylor Lents is a second-year master’s student at New England Conservatory where she studies with Will Hudgins and Dan Bauch. At NEC, she currently serves as the Department Assistant to the Percussion Studio.
As a freelance percussionist, Taylor has performed with various orchestras across the southeast and midwest, including the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, and the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and as substitute timpanist of the Ohio Valley Symphony and Gwinnett Ballet Theater Orchestra.
Taylor has participated in a number of festivals including Eastern Music Festival and Aspen Summer Music Festival and School where she has had the opportunity to work with principal players and conductors of major U.S. orchestras. As a participant of the 2018 and 2019 seasons at AMFS, she had the opportunity to work with Ed Stephan, Cynthia Yeh, Jonathan Haas, Markus Rhoten, Jake Nissly, Doug Howard, Joe Pereira, and Colin Currie. Additionally, Taylor was invited to perform at the 2018 and 2019 seasons of Piccolo Spoleto Festival as a member of the Athens Friendship Presbyterian Church choral/instrumental ensemble, in which they premiered new works inspired by late-Medieval/early-Renaissance music.
Originally from Blue Ridge, GA, Taylor graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion and Timpani Performance degree from the University of Georgia, where she was a student of Timothy K. Adams Jr. and Kimberly Toscano. During her time at UGA, she performed in numerous large and chamber ensembles and received distinctions for academic and musical excellence, including being named to the Dean’s List as well as being named an inaugural recipient of the Bennett Family Scholarship for Orchestral Performance.
Outside of her musical studies, Taylor enjoys reading, running, baking sourdough bread, exploring art museums and coffee shops, and volunteering for the nonprofit organization Lift Music Fund.
Kai-Yun Lu is the principal clarinetist of Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, holding the Muriel Bledsoe Chair since 1998. She is also a frequent performer with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra and the Boston Woodwind Society. Appearances with other ensembles include the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Brockton Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center/New Fromm Players. An active performer, Ms. Lu has worked with Andris Nelsons, Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Sir Simon Rattle, Charles Dutoit, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, James Conlon, Sir Neville Marriner, Robert Spano, Andre Previn, Gunther Schuller, Keith Lockhart and John Williams.
Already well known in Taiwan as a soloist and winner of several national competitions, both as a pianist and clarinetist, Kai-Yun Lu came to the United States to study at New England Conservatory and pursue a career as a clarinetist. Ms. Lu was sponsored, in full scholarship, by the Evergreen Foundation and the Chimei Culture Foundation. In her sophomore year at the NEC she won the school’s annual Concerto Competition, becoming one of the youngest students in the Conservatory’s history to win this award.
Ms. Lu holds both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from NEC and an Artist Diploma from the Boston University College of Fine Arts. She is currently on the faculty of the Boston University College of Fine Arts, the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.
Winner of numerous prizes including the Walter Naumburg International Competition, Tibor Varga International Competition, Astral Artists National Auditions, Young Performers Career Advancement, and Lili Boulanger awards, Ayano Ninomiya has performed with orchestras across the U.S., Switzerland, Bulgaria, and most recently in Carnegie Hall. Praised for her "deeply communicative and engrossing" (The New York Times) performances, she has performed at the Marlboro, Ravinia, Moab, Bowdoin, Kingston, Adams (New Zealand), Canberra International (Australia), and Prussia Cove (England) festivals. She has been featured on Musicians from Marlboro tours in the U.S. and France, and gave a TEDx talk in 2012 at the University of Tokyo. She was first violinist of the Ying Quartet and was Associate Professor at the Eastman School of Music until 2015 when she joined the violin faculty of the New England Conservatory. As a recipient of the Beebe Fellowship, Ayano studied in Budapest, Hungary, at the Liszt Academy after graduating from Harvard University and The Juilliard School. In her spare time, she loves to paint and practice Aikido.
Born in New York City, Donald Palma is a graduate of the Juilliard School. A former member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, he has also been principal bass of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, with which he has toured the world and recorded over fifty compact discs for Deutsche Grammophon including a Grammy Award winning CD of Stravinsky works. In August of 2021, Deutsche Grammophon released a box set of all fifty-five Orpheus’ CDs. Palma has performed with the Juilliard Quartet, the Nash Ensemble, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Da Camera Society of Houston, the Borromeo Quartet, Bridgehampton Chamber Music and is a member of Mistral and the North Country Chamber Players. He was music director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and is currently music director of the Symphony-by-the-Sea in Beverly, MA and the NEC Chamber Orchestra. Don’s extensive recordings include diverse offerings from works written for him by Elliott Carter and Mario Davidovsky to a Wagner Ring Cycle with the Metropolitan Opera, West Side Story with Leonard Bernstein conducting to recordings with Kathleen Battle and rock/pop-icons Sting and Roger Waters. He has given numerous master classes across the country and is currently on the faculties of the New England Conservatory and the Yale School of Music. His students occupy positions in major orchestras, ensembles and universities all over the globe.
Marcus Thompson has taught at NEC since 1983. Also a member of the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1973, in 2015 that school awarded Thompson its highest honor, the title of Institute Professor.
Thompson has earned critical acclaim since his New York recital debut in 1968 as winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He has since performed as soloist with the Boston Pops, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. As a recitalist, he has appeared in series throughout the Americas, including New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall and Metropolitan Museum, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Minneapolis’s Orchestra Hall, San Francisco’s Herbst Theater, Teatro Nacional in the Dominican Republic, Terrace Theater at The Kennedy Center, and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
An artist member of the Boston Chamber Music Society since 1984, Thompson became BCMS's second artistic director beginning with the 2009/2010 concert season, succeeding cofounder and NEC alumnus, cellist Ronald Thomas '74. In fall 2009 Thompson also launched a blog in which he discusses repertoire performed by BCMS.
Thompson has been a frequent guest of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Vermeer, Muir, Emerson, Orion, and Audubon string quartets, and chamber music festivals in Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Marlboro, Santa Fe, Seattle, Sitka, Spoleto, and Vail.
Mr. Thompson earned bachelor, master and doctoral degrees at the The Juilliard School following viola and viola d’amore studies with Walter Trampler. His repertoire includes Boston Premieres of György Ligeti’s Loop, John Harbison’s Sonata for Viola and Piano, and Harbison’s Viola Concerto, recorded with BMOP in celebration of the composer’s eightieth birthday. Mr. Thompson has also commissioned and premiered Viola Concerto by Olly Wilson with the Rochester Philharmonic. His recordings include Paul Hindemith’s Der Schwanendreher, Ernest Bloch’s Suite, Joseph Jongen’s Suite, Jean Francaix’s Rhapsodie, Shadow/ Light by Elena Ruehr, viola concertos by Béla Bartók and Tibor Serly, and Frank Martin’s Sonata da Chiesa for viola d’amore and strings.
Keila Wakao was born in 2006 in Boston, MA and began playing the violin at the age of three. The late Mr. Joseph Silverstein accepted Keila as a student when she was six years old. When she was 11 years old Keila was invited to speak and perform in TEDxYouth, and she has been participating in the Perlman Music Program every summer since 2018.
Keila Wakao was recently awarded the 1st prize and the Junior Composer Award in the 2021 Menuhin International Violin Competition. She was also the 1st prize winner of the Stulburg International String Competition and was awarded the Bach prize in 2021.
She is a tenth grader at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts and currently studies with Donald Weilerstein and Soovin Kim at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School.
Of flutist Annie Wu, The Mercury News said, “This artist, it seems, can do anything.” The California native is the first prize winner of Astral Artists’ 2015 National Auditions, James Pappoutsakis Flute Competition, Yamaha Young Performing Artist Competition, YoungArts National Competition, and was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts in 2014. Concerto engagements have taken her across the nation and beyond, with repertoire spanning from Mozart to Kevin Puts. She has soloed with the San Francisco Symphony, Vienna International Orchestra, California Symphony, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Livermore-Amador Symphony, Diablo Symphony Orchestra, and the San Jose Chamber Orchestra.
With pianist Feng Niu, Wu has performed thoughtful programs at Boston’s Jordan Hall, Strathmore’s Mansion, D.C.’s Phillips Collection, and more. In 2018, the pair self-released a debut album titled They Call Me Mignon: 11 variations on a voice, which follows the musical journey of Goethe’s character Mignon over 200 years and includes new arrangements and a commission. Wu’s accompanying academic thesis won Harvard University’s Hoopes Prize for excellence in research. She has continued to expand the flute repertoire by arranging vocal songs as well as commissioning a solo flute work titled Hopscotch from Grammy-nominated composer Anna Clyne.
A graduate of the Harvard-New England Conservatory 5-Year Dual Degree Program, Wu holds a Comparative Literature degree magna cum laude from Harvard University and a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from NEC, where she studied with Paula Robison. Wu now lives in Manhattan working in the Office of the President at the Juilliard School, and she teaches a virtual flute studio. Apart from music, Wu maintains a food/cooking page and newsletter, and formerly ran an Etsy shop for handmade flower crowns. During the pandemic, her favorite book was Pachinko; her favorite TV show was Schitt’s Creek; her favorite fruit was the fig; and her favorite spot was Riverside Park on a Citibike.