First Monday at Jordan Hall: Kurtág, Ligeti, Schumann

NEC: Jordan Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

Join us as we celebrate 38 years of First Mondays, curated by Artistic Director Laurence Lesser. Programs feature 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.

The Spring 2023 season of First Monday in Jordan Hall marks the 100th birth year of György Ligeti.

This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here:

  1. György Kurtág | Hommage à Robert Sch, op. 15d (1992)

    Kapellmeister Johannes Kreisler’s Curious Pirouettes: Vivo                      
    Eusebius – The Completed Circle is Pure: Molto semplice, piano e legato
    Florestan’s Lips Twitch Painfully: Feroce, agitato

    From the Hungarian Poet Attila József - “I was a cloud, now the sun shines”: Calmo, scorrevole
    Nighttime: Presto
    Farewell (Master Raro Discovers Guillaume de Machaut): Adagio, poco andante

  2. György Ligeti | String Quartet No. 2 (1968)

    Allegro nervoso
    Sostenuto, molto calmo
    Come un meccanismo di precisione
    Presto furioso, brutale, tumultuoso
    Allegro con delicatezza

    • Parker String Quartet
    • Daniel Chong and Ken Hamao, violin
    • Jessica Bodner, viola
    • Kee-Hyun Kim, cello

  4. Robert Schumann | Quintet in E-flat Major, op. 44

    Allegro brillante
    In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente
    Scherzo: Molto vivace
    Allegro ma non troppo


    Artist biographies

    Paul Biss studied at Indiana University and at the Juilliard School of Music.  He was a student of Josef Gingold and Ivan Galamian.  His chamber music teachers included Walter Trampler, Claus Adam, János Starker, and William Primrose.
            Paul Biss was Professor of Music at Indiana University from 1979 until 2008 where he taught violin and chamber music, and conducted all the school orchestras 
    in more than 100 performances of symphonic music.  He also conducted thirteen operas with the Indiana University Opera Theater.
            As a violinist Paul Biss has appeared in recital, with orchestra, and in chamber music performances throughout North America, Mexico, Europe, Israel, and Korea, and has collaborated in concert with many guest artists including Pinchas Zukerman, Gidon Kremer, Michael Tree, Gary Hoffman, David Geringas, Christoph Eschenbach, Menahem Pressler, and Leon Fleisher.  He has participated in numerous festivals as
    a violinist and as a violist.  He was a member of the Berkshire Quartet, and was a participant at the Marlboro Music Festival for six summers.  He has also appeared at other festivals, such as the Ravinia, La Jolla, Lockenhaus, Casals, Naantali, and the Ysaÿe at Wigmore Hall.
            He has conducted in Mexico, Finland, Brazil, and Israel where he received the Ministry of Culture prize for the best performance of the year for a contemporary composition and was principal conductor of Kaprizma, a contemporary ensemble, for four years.  Recently, he conducted the Bahian Symphony in a series of concerts in Brazil and conducted the Seoul Classical Players in an all-Beethoven concert in Korea.  He served as Interim Music Director of the MIT Orchestra during 2006-2007.  He has been a faculty member at the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival
    since 1994.

            Recent concerts and masterclasses have taken him to Ireland, England, Finland, and Israel.  His students have won top prizes, including several first prizes in major international and national competitions and appear as soloists and members of chamber ensembles.  Many hold positions in leading orchestras in America and Europe.
            In September 2006, Paul Biss joined the faculty at New England Conservatory where he is a member of the violin and chamber music faculty.

    Miriam Fried has been recognized for years as one of the world’s preeminent violinists. A consummate musician—equally accomplished as recitalist, concerto soloist or chamber musician—she has been heralded for her “fiery intensity and emotional depth” (Musical America) as well as for her technical mastery. Fried has played with virtually every major orchestra in the United States and Europe and has been a frequent guest with the principal orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, as well as with the Israel Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, and the Vienna Symphony.Recital tours have taken her to all of the major music centers in North America and to Brussels, London, Milan, Munich, Rome, Paris, Salzburg, Stockholm, and Zurich. In recent seasons, her schedule has included orchestral engagements with such prestigious ensembles as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Czech Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Jerusalem Symphony, the Orquesta Filarmonica de Mexico, the Japan Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Symphony, and the BBC Philharmonic. She premiered a violin concerto written for her by Donald Erb with the Grand Rapids Symphony and recorded the work for Koss in 1995.
            Since 1993, she has been chair of the faculty at the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival, one of the country’s leading summer programs for young musicians. Her involvement there has included regular performances, including recitals and concerts with the Chicago Symphony. Fried’s highly praised 1985 New York recitals of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin were the culmination of three years of international performances. She returned to this music with a recording made in France for the Lyrinx label. She has also made a prize-winning, best-selling recording of the Sibelius Concerto for the Finlandia label with the Helsinki Philharmonic under the direction of Okko Kamu.
            Chamber music plays an important role in Fried’s musical life. She was first violinist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet until it disbanded after 30 years, and has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Garrick Ohlsson, Nathaniel Rosen, her son, pianist Jonathan Biss, and her husband, violinist/violist Paul Biss. She has been featured guest artist at Chamber Music East in Boston, the La Jolla Chamber Music Society SummerFest, the Lockenhaus Festival, and the Naantali Festival in Finland.
            Miriam Fried’s successful solo career was launched in 1968 after she was awarded First Prize in Genoa’s Paganini International Competition. Three years later she claimed top honors in the Queen Elisabeth International Competition, where she gained further world attention by becoming the first woman ever to win the prestigious award. Her early childhood included lessons with Alice Fenyves in Tel Aviv, as well as the opportunity to meet and play for the many great violinists who visited Israel, including Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Henryk Szeryng, Zino Francescatti, and Erica Morini. She came to the United States as a protégée of Isaac Stern, and continued her studies with Ivan Galamian at the Juilliard School and with Joseph Gingold at Indiana University.

    The finest performance I have ever heard of this very difficult piece. It was as if he was reading my mind…” (Aaron Copland on hearing pianist Randall Hodgkinson performing his Piano Fantasy in Jordan Hall. While studying at the New England Conservatory Hodgkinson became grand prizewinner of the International American Music Competition sponsored by Carnegie Hall and the Rockefeller Foundation. He has performed with orchestras in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Boston, Cleveland and abroad in Italy and Iceland, and also numerous recital programs spanning the repertoire from J.S. Bach to Donald Martino and Mark Berger.  A frequent guest of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, he also performs the four-hand and two-piano repertoire with his wife, Leslie Amper. Festival appearances include Blue Hill-Maine, Bargemusic, Chestnut Hill Concerts in Madison Connecticut, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, and Chamber Music Northwest (Portland, OR). Solo recordings on the Ongaku, New World, and Albany labels have garnered much critical acclaim.  Mr. Hodgkinson is on the faculties of the New England Conservatory of Music and Wellesley College.  Hodgkinson is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner having completed the Boston Training in 2020. In addition to teaching Awareness Through Movement® lessons he also gives private one-on-one Functional Integration® lessons. 

    Hailed as “an artist who combines a probing, restless intellect with enormous beauty of tone,” Kim Kashkashian has forged a unique path as a performing and recording artist.
            She made history when she won the coveted Grammy Award - the first ever given to a violist – for her ECM recording of Ligeti and Kurtág solo viola works. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Royal Academy of Music.
            Ms.Kashkashian has performed as viola soloist with the orchestras of Berlin, London, Vienna, Milan, Amsterdam, New York and Cleveland in collaboration with Eschenbach, Mehta, Welser-Moest, Kocsis, Dennis Russel Davies, Blomstedt, and Holliger.
            She is a member of Trio Tre Voce and the long-standing duo partner of pianist Robert Levin in the great halls of Vienna, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Tokyo, Athens, London, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Ms. Kashkashian worked closely with György Kurtág, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Giya Kancheli, and Arvo Pärt and commissioned compositions from Eötvös, Ken Ueno, Betty Olivero, Thomas Larcher, Lera Auerbach, Tigran Mansurian, and Toshio Hosokawa.
            More than 25 solo albums on ECM label have garnered a Grammy, a Cannes Classical Award, the Edison Prize and the Opus Klassik Prize.
            Ms. Kashkashian is Founder of “Music for Food”, a musician-led hunger relief initiative that offers a model for all musicians who wish to act as artist-citizens in their home communities.  Music for Food has created more than one and a half million meals for people in need. To learn more, please go to or

    Leland Philip Ko, a cellist of Chinese-Canadian descent, is the kind of person who's always had an overflow of energy.  His restlessness has led him to various callings, from competitive tennis and distance running to calligraphy and origami, but so far he’s found that making music with and for others – and the process that goes into that – are the things that best focus his mind, and that this restlessness is what gives him an almost stubborn desire to experience something with his audiences and colleagues every time he walks out on stage.  Though he has chosen to dedicate himself to classical music, he does his best to remember and live by a former mentor’s advice that music is about life, not the other way around.
            Leland resides in Boston, his hometown, with his 11-year-old cat, Ham.

    Pianist and conductor Robert Levin has performed through­­out the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia, appearing with the orchestras of Atlanta, Berlin, Birmingham, Bos­ton, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Mon­­­treal, Philadelphia, Toronto, Utah and Vienna on the Steinway and with the Academy of Ancient Music, the English Baroque Soloists, the Handel & Haydn Society, the London Classical Players, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Orchestre Révo­lu­tion­naire et Ro­man­tique on period pianos. Renowned for his impro­vised cadenzas in Classical period repertoire, Robert Levin has made recordings of a wide range of repertoire for Bridge, DG Archiv, Decca/London, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, ECM, Hänssler, Hyperion, Klavierfestival Ruhr, Le Palais des Dégustateurs, New York Philomusica, Philips and SONY Classical.  His recordings include Bach’s complete keyboard concertos, the six English Suites and both books of the Well-Tempered Clavier (Hänssler Edition Bachakademie); a Mozart concerto cycle with Chris­topher Hogwood and the Academy of An­cient Music for Decca/Oiseau Lyre; the Beethoven concertos with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Roman­tique for DG Archiv; the complete piano music of Dutilleux for ECM; Bernard Rands’ Preludes and Impromptu for Bridge; and the complete Beethoven sonatas and variations for fortepiano and ’cello with Steven Isserlis for Hyperion.  Recent releases include the six Bach Partitas (Grand Prix International du Disque) and the complete Schubert piano trios with Noah Bendix-Balgley and Peter Wiley (Le Palais des Dégustateurs), and the complete Mozart sonatas on Mozart’s Walter piano (ECM).
            A passionate advocate of new music, Robert Levin has commissioned and premiered numerous of works, including Joshua Fineberg’s Veils (2001), John Harbison’s Second Sonata (2003), Yehudi Wyner’s piano concerto Chiavi in mano (Pulitzer Prize, 2006), Bernard Rands’ Preludes (2007), Thomas Oboe Lee’s Piano Concerto (2007), and Hans Peter Türk’s Träume (2012).
            Robert Levin has long performed and recorded with violist Kim Kashkashian.  He appears frequently with his wife, pianist Ya-Fei Chuang, in duo recitals and with orchestra, and with cellist Steven Isserlis. A noted Mozart scholar, Mr. Levin’s completions of Mozart’s Requiem and other unfinished works have been recorded and performed throughout the world.  In 2005 his completion of the Mozart C-minor Mass, commissioned by Carnegie Hall, was premiered there and has since been widely heard in the United States and Europe. He has been an artist teacher at the Sarasota Music Festival since 1979 and was its Artistic Director from 2007-2016. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and member of the Akademie für Mozartforschung, he is President of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition (Leipzig, Germany). He was awarded the Bach Medal of the City of Leipzig in 2018.  From1993 to 2013 he was Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of the Humanities at Harvard Uni­versity and is presently Visiting Professor at The Juilliard School.

    Clarinetist Rane Moore enjoys an active performing schedule at home and abroad. She is a member of the Talea Ensemble, Sound Icon, and the award-winning wind quintet The City of Tomorrow. Ms. Moore has given numerous premieres of new works and appeared with International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Guerilla Opera, New York New Music, Alarm Will Sound and the Bang on a Can All-Stars among many others.  She is a frequent guest with Boston-based ensembles Emmanuel Music, Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Boston Ballet Orchestra. She is also the principal clarinetist of the Boston Philharmonic and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. She serves as the the Co-Artistic Director of Winsor Music, a Boston area based concert series and community engagement organization. Ms. Moore has recordings on Tzadik, Pi, Wergo, and ECM records and is on faculty at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Longy School of Music of Bard College. Critics have praised her “enthralling,” “tour-de-force,” and “phenomenal” performances.

    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, recent and upcoming teaching and performance festivals include Yellow Barn's Young Artist Program, Ravinia's Steans Institute, Portland Chamber Music Festival, Skaneateles Music Festival, Colorado College Music Festival, Kingston Chamber Music Festival, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. She has been featured on Musicians from Marlboro tours in the U.S. and France, and has given a TEDx talk 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 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. 

    Internationally recognized for their “fearless, yet probingly beautiful” (The Strad) performances, the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation, dedicated purely to the sound and depth of their music. Recent seasons included performances around the United States and Europe, including Wigmore Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Music Toronto, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Strathmore, San Antonio Chamber Music Society, University of Chicago, the Schubert Club, and Kansas City’s Friends of Chamber Music.
            This season the Quartet marks their 20th anniversary with The Beethoven Project, a multi-faceted initiative which includes performances of the complete cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets; the commissioning of six composers to write encores
    inspired by Beethoven’s quartets; the creation of a new video library spotlighting each Beethoven quartet; and bringing Beethoven’s music to non-traditional venues around the Quartet’s home base of Boston, including homeless shelters and youth programs.
            Recording projects continue to be an important facet of the Quartet’s artistic output. Described by Gramophone Magazine as a ”string quartet defined by virtuosity so agile that it’s indistinguishable from the process of emotional expression,” their newest release for ECM Records features Dvořák's Viola Quintet as well as György Kurtág's Six Moments Musicaux and Officium breve in memoriam. Under the auspices of the Monte Carlo Festival Printemps des Arts, they recorded a disc of three Beethoven quartets, of which Diapason “admired the group’s fearlessness, exceptional control, and attention to detail.” The Quartet can also be heard playing Mendelssohn on Nimbus Records, Bartók on Zig-Zag Territoires, and the complete Ligeti Quartets on Naxos, for which they won a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance. The members of the Parker Quartet serve as Professors of the Practice and Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University’s Department of Music. The Quartet also holds a visiting residency at the University of South Carolina and spends its summers on faculty at the Banff Centre’s Evolution: Quartet program.    The Quartet participated in NEC’s Professional String Quartet Training Program.