First Monday at Jordan Hall: Mozart, Frank, & Weinberg

NEC: Jordan Hall | Directions

290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA
United States

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 is open to in-person audiences, and can also be viewed below via livestream.

Watch livestream from Jordan Hall:

Watch Laurence Lesser's program notes:

* – NEC students/alumni

  1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Sonata in C Major for Piano Four-Hands, K. 521



    • George Li '21 AD* and Andrew Li '23 MM*, piano
  2. Gabriela Lena Frank | Danza de los Saqsampillos (2006)

    Adapted from the final movement of a solo work for piano, Sonata Andina, this duo for two marimbas is inspired by the jungle-dwelling warrior devil of Amazonian Perú known as the Saqsampillo. The energy of the music is lively, sometimes even ferocious, and there appear musical motifs, rhythms, techniques, and instrumental allusions from both the central Andean mountains of Perú and the great jungles to the east. The following, for instance, are evoked:

    I. Golpe: A technique from the Spanish and South American guitar-playing traditions where the strings are struck with the flat of the hands. There results a very apparent moment of silence afterwards.

    II. Zampoña: The zampoña is the bamboo panpipe of the Andes, the quintessential wind instrument of this culture. The melodies are often simple but nevertheless still rhythmically lively and inflected with grace notes.

    III. Sesquiáltera: Literally, “changing sixes” or the juxtaposition of compound duple (6/8) and simple triple (3/4) meters. This rhythmic pattern is common to many styles of Latin American music.

    IV. Marimba: Although originally imported from Africa, the marimba instrument is popular all through Latin America and figures prominently in many kinds of folkloric and popular music. Frequent, percussively-played repeated notes are hallmarks of this style.

    V. Vendaval: A particularly violent and gusty rainstorm of Latin America.

    — Gabriela Lena Frank
    • Lu Pei Hsien '22 MM* and Yiming Yao '22 MM*, marimba
  3. Mieczysław Weinberg | Piano Trio in A Minor, op. 24

    Prelude and Aria: Larghetto
    Toccata: Allegro
    Poem: Moderato
    Finale: Allegro moderato

  4. About the performers

    Cellist Yeesun Kim is a member of the Borromeo String Quartet, New England Conservatory's quartet-in-residence. Hailed by the New York Times for her "focused intensity" and "remarkable" performances, Kim enjoys worldwide acclaim as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher. A founding member of the Borromeo String Quartet, Kim has performed in over 20 countries, and in many of the world's most illustrious concert halls and festivals.
           Highlights of her 2013–14 season include the world premiere of Lera Auerbach’s String Quartet No. 7, "Désir", performances of the Bela Bartók quartet cycle at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival and in Boston at Jordan Hall, and appearances at the Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa Festival in Mexico, the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, and the Terra di Siena Chamber Music Festival in Tuscany. This season welcomes multiple performances with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and special collaborations with the Bill T. Jones Dance Company, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and also with cellist Antonio Lysy in a special multimedia production, Te Amo, Argentina.

           Recent highlights include a two-week residency at Suntory Hall in Tokyo to perform the complete Beethoven String Quartets, a cycle of Dvorák quartets at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the complete Bartók quartet cycle at the Curtis Institute of Music, performances at the International MIMO Festival in Brazil, the Morgan Library in New York, the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C., and in Nara, Japan; Beijing and Shanghai, China.
           Kim has performed throughout Europe and Asia with the Borromeo, in duo with violinist Nicholas Kitchen, and as a soloist, including engagements with the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Tonhalle in Zurich, the Opera Bastille in Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Suntory Hall and Casals Hall in Tokyo, the Saejong Cultural Center in Seoul, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Jordan Hall in Boston, the Library of Congress and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
           A much sought-after chamber musician, she has been invited to perform at many festivals, including Spoleto in the United States and Italy, Ravinia, Marlboro, Santa
    Fe, La Jolla, Rockport, Music at Menlo, the Prague Spring Festival, the Vancouver Chamber Music, the Stavanger Festival in Norway, the Evian and Divonne Festivals in France, and the Sejong Spring Festival in Korea.

           As a member of the Borromeo Quartet since its inception in 1989, Kim has had extensive involvement with NPR's Performance Today, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Her radio and television credits also include "Live from Lincoln Center" and numerous appearances on WGBH in Boston, Radio France, and NHK Radio and Television in Japan. Recording credits include Native Informant, featuring music of Mohammed Fairouz (2013), As it was, Is, And will be, featuring music of Gunther Schuller (2011), String Quartets by Robert Maggio (2011), Speak Like the People, Write Like the King, featuring music by Steve Mackey (2009), Soul Garden: The Chamber Music of Derek Bermel (2002), Beethoven: Serioso (2002), and Ravel: String Quartet and Sonata for Violin & Cello (1999).
           Kim currently serves on the faculty of New England Conservatory, in the cello and chamber music departments, and teaches each summer at the Taos School of Music in New Mexico. She has also taught at the McGill International String Quartet Academy in Canada, the Suntory Hall Fellows Academy in Japan, at the Seoul National University and National University of Arts in Korea, and for the Foulger Institute in New Jersey .
          Kim is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, with advanced degrees from New England Conservatory. Her teachers include Laurence Lesser, David Soyer, Peter Wiley, Hyungwon Chang, and Minja Hyun.
            She plays a Peregrino Zanetto cello, circa 1576, one of the oldest in the world.

    Praised for his “brilliant technique” and heartfelt lyricism, 21-year-old pianist Andrew Li searches for the deepest meanings of music. As the winner of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition and the Harvard Music Association Achievement Awards, Andrew has consistently shown his ability to connect with the audience. He is also a prize-winner at numerous international competitions, such as the Cooper International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, and the Minnesota Piano-e-Competition.
           Andrew has previously performed with the Boston Symphony, Boston Civic Symphony, Minnesota, Hilton Head Symphony, Glens Falls Symphony, Lexington Symphony, NEC Youth Symphony, and Symphony Pro Musica orchestras, and has performed in venues such as Boston’s Symphony Hall, Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall, Cary Hall, Jordan Hall, Warner Concert Hall, and the Shalin Liu Performance Center.
            A fervent chamber musician, Andrew and his trio were featured on NPR’s From the Top. He also appeared on the show as a soloist, performing Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody no. 6.
            Andrew gave his first solo recital at Utica’s First Presbyterian Church when he was 10. At the age of 13, Andrew performed at the Rockport Music Festival, playing Wagner’s Siegfried-Idyll in a four-hand performance with his older brother, George. He returned in June 2019 to perform a recital to open their season. In August 2019, he performed a recital at the Foundation for Chinese Performing Arts Annual Summer Concert Series. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he performed a virtual recital at Steinway Society—The Bay Area.
           Andrew started piano lessons with Ms. Dorothy Shi at the age of 6 and he has studied piano performance with Professor Wha Kyung Byun at NEC since the age of 13. Andrew is currently a senior in the Harvard/NEC Dual Degree Program, continuing his piano studies under the tutelage of Ms. Byun.

    Praised by the Washington Post for combining “staggering technical prowess, a sense of command and depth of expression,” pianist George Li possesses an effortless grace, poised authority and brilliant virtuosity far beyond his years. Since winning the Silver Medal at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, Li has rapidly
    established a major international reputation and performs regularly with some of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, such as Dudamel, Gaffigan, Gergiev, Gimeno, Honeck, Orozco-Estrada, Petrenko, Robertson, Slatkin, Temirkanov, Tilson Thomas, Long Yu, and Xian Zhang.
            Li is an exclusive Warner Classics recording artist whose debut recital album. recorded live from the Mariinsky, was released in October 2017. His second recording for the label, released in October 2019, features Liszt solo works and the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 and was recorded live with Vasily Petrenko and the London Philharmonic.
           Li gave his first public performance at Boston’s Steinway Hall at the age of ten, and in 2011 performed for President Obama at the White House in an evening honoring Chancellor Angela Merkel. Among Li’s many prizes, he was the recipient of the 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, a recipient of the 2012 Gilmore Young Artist Award, and the First Prize winner of the 2010 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. In 2019, he completed the Harvard/New England Conservatory joint program with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance. He is currently completing an Artist Diploma at the New England Conservatory, continuing to work with Wha Kyung Byun with whom he has studied since the age of 12. When not playing piano, George is an avid reader and photographer, as well as a sports fanatic.

    Lu Pei Hsien, a percussionist from Taiwan, is a graduate of Taiwan National Wu Ling High School’s music education program and completed her undergraduate studies under Professor Jonathan Fox in the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore. She is currently a master’s student at NEC, studying with Matthew McKay.
            She began her musical journey at the age of 4 and by 15 had decided to focus on percussion.  She has been a member of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO), Taipei Symphony Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Percussion Ensemble, a highlight of which was the trip in 2017 to Kuching, Malaysia, where she performed both solo and ensemble works (“captured hearts in a captivating performance.” - Borneo News, 2017)

            In addition to her performance experiences, she has participated in master classes with such renowned percussionists as Pius Cheung, Mark Ford, Raymond Curfs, Michael Vladar, Eric Sammut, and Colin Currie.

    Violinist Donald Weilerstein has concertized extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the world. He was a member of the Young Concert Artists as well as a winner of the Munich Competition for violin and piano duo. For twenty years (1969-1989) Mr. Weilerstein was the first violinist of the renowned Cleveland Quartet, with whom he toured the world. His recordings with the quartet on the RCA, Telarc, CBS, Phillips, and Pro Arte labels earned seven Grammy nominations and won Best of the Year awards from Time and Stereo Review
          Mr. Weilerstein has taught and performed at such major American and European music festivals as Tanglewood, Aspen, Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, Banff, Salzburg, Luzern, Verbier, Ishikawa, and Keshet Eilon, among many others. He regularly teaches and performs at Ravinia, Yellow Barn, and the Perlman Music Program.
          The Weilerstein Duo, pairing Donald with pianist Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, has performed across the United States and in many other countries. Their discography includes the works of Bloch and the sonatas of Janáček, Dohnányi, and Enescu (Arabesque) and the Schumann sonatas (Azica). Mr. Weilerstein is a member of the highly acclaimed Weilerstein Trio. The trio’s widely noted first CD, featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, is devoted to the music of Dvořák. Their second Koch release features music of Schumann and Janáček.
          Recently featured in The Strad and Strings magazine, Mr. Weilerstein serves on the faculties of New England Conservatory and the Juilliard School. His students, many of whom have been prize winners in major international competitions, including first prizes in the Indianapolis, Naumburg, Washington, and Hanover competitions, can be heard as soloists, as well as in today’s leading orchestras and chamber ensembles. He was awarded “Artist Teacher of the Year for 2011” by the American String Teachers Association. Mr. Weilerstein first appeared on First Monday in 2004. 

    Vivian Hornik Weilerstein has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the world and is a frequent collaborator with many of today’s most eminent artists and ensembles. She has appeared as a soloist with the Kansas City Symphony and the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale di Torino, and has toured throughout Europe, China, and Japan. She has been featured in More Magazine and on the Jane Pauley Show in stories about professional mother/daughter teams.
            Ms. Weilerstein is a member of the highly acclaimed Weilerstein Trio, which is in residence at NEC. Highlights of current and past seasons include concerts at Lincoln Center and Weill Hall in New York City and at prominent venues in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, St. Louis, St. Paul, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston. The trio’s highly acclaimed CD, featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered”, features music of Dvořák on the Koch label. Their second release on the Koch label features music of Schumann and Janáček.
            Critics and audiences have welcomed Ms. Weilerstein’s performances as part of the Weilerstein Duo, with violinist Donald Weilerstein. Among their many recitals the duo has performed at Alice Tully Hall and the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. Their discography includes the complete works of Ernest Bloch for violin and piano and the sonatas of Janáček, Dohnányi, and Enescu for Arabesque Records, and the complete Schumann sonatas for Azica Records. Fanfare declared the Bloch recordings a “must” on the journal’s annual “Want List,” and American Record Guide lauded both the Bloch and Janáček recordings. The Duo premiered Joseph Hallman’s concerto for violin and piano with the NYCP orchestra in NYC. Ms. Weilerstein has also recorded for the EMI Debut Series.
            In addition to performing at major American and International Festivals such as
    Marlboro, Aspen, The Banff Centre, Music Academy of the West, Verbier, and the Mendelssohn Summer School in Hamburg, Ms. Weilerstein returns regularly to Yellow Barn and the Perlman Music Program. She has also taught and performed throughout China and in Venezuela as part of El Sistema, as well as at Femusc in Brazil. She has performed and given masterclasses at Guildhall in London, the Hannover Hochschule, the Lübeck Conservatory, and in Aldeburgh, England. She will be creating a new Piano Trio program at the Holland Music Sessions for the summer 2021.
            Widely sought after for masterclasses, Ms. Weilerstein is the director of the Professional Piano Trio Training Program at NEC, where she serves on the piano, collaborative piano, and chamber music faculties. She is a former member of the chamber music faculty of the Juilliard School.

    Born in China, Yiming Yao began the bachelor degree program at New England Conservatory in 2016, studying with Frank Epstein, Dan Bauch, and Matthew McKay. During that time he was a member of the NEC Symphony, NEC Philharmonic, NEC Wind Ensemble, and NEC Percussion Ensemble. He also played with the Navy Band Northeast and a few other chamber ensembles.

           He is currently a candidate for the Master of Music degree at NEC and studies with Matthew McKay.