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Kristin Lee, Joshua Roman, and David Fung give the World Premiere of Reena Esmail’s Piano Trio at Town Hall Seattle

November 8, 2019 | By Maggie Stapleton
Jensen Artists

Violinist Kristin Lee, Cellist Joshua Roman, and Pianist David Fung
Give the World Premiere of 
Reena Esmail’s Piano Trio at Town Hall Seattle

Kristin grid copy.jpg

Monday, November 25, 2019 at 7:30pm | Town Hall Seattle | 1119 Eighth Avenue | Seattle, WA

Tickets $15-20 (Free for 22 and under) and information:

 www.townhallseattle.org/event/piano-ki-avaaz

www.violinistkristinlee.com | www.joshuaroman.com | www.davidfung.com | www.reenaesmail.com

Seattle, WA — On Monday, November 25, 2019 at 7:30pmTown Music presents an evening of piano trios featuring violinist Kristin Lee, cellist and Town Music curator Joshua Roman, and pianist David Fung in the Great Hall at Town Hall Seattle (1119 Eighth Avenue). Roman brings this one-night-only ensemble together for a showcase entitled Piano Ki Avaaz (Voice of the Piano) that highlights modern composition at its finest and presents cross-cultural intersections of classical music traditions.

Lee, Roman, and Fung will give the world premiere of the Piano Trio by Indian-American composer Reena Esmail. Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music and is known for merging Western composition techniques with traditional Hindustani instrumentation and musical themes. Esmail says, “I have been wanting to write a piano trio for my entire professional career. For me, the piano trio is the holy grail of chamber music.”

Esmail’s Piano Trio was commissioned by Town Hall, which champions chamber music on the Town Music series. Under Joshua Roman’s direction, the series offers his own eclectic musical influences and chamber music favorites, world premieres of compositions, performances by cutting-edge ensembles, world-renowned talents, and commissions of original works from some of today’s brightest young composers. The November 25 performance also includes Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66 and Ravel’s Piano Trio.

About the Musicians

A recipient of the 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, as well as a top prizewinner of the 2012 Walter W. Naumburg Competition and the Astral Artists’ 2010 National Auditions, Kristin Lee is a violinist of remarkable versatility and impeccable technique who enjoys a vibrant career as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and educator. “Her technique is flawless, and she has a sense of melodic shaping that reflects an artistic maturity,” writes the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Strad reports, “She seems entirely comfortable with stylistic diversity, which is one criterion that separates the run-of-the-mill instrumentalists from true artists.”

Kristin Lee has appeared as soloist with leading orchestras including The Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Ural Philharmonic of Russia, Korean Broadcasting Symphony, Guiyang Symphony Orchestra of China, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Dominican Republic, and many others. She has performed on the world’s finest concert stages, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Ravinia Festival, the Louvre Museum in Paris, Washington, D.C.’s Phillips Collection, and Korea’s Kumho Art Gallery. An accomplished chamber musician, Kristin Lee is a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, performing at Lincoln Center in New York and on tour with CMS throughout each season.

Born in Seoul, Lee began studying violin at age five and within one year won First Prize at the Korea Times Violin Competition. In 1995, she moved to the US to continue her studies under Sonja Foster and in 1997 entered The Juilliard School’s Pre-College. In 2000, Lee was chosen to study with Itzhak Perlman after he heard her perform with the Pre-College Symphony. Lee holds a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School. She is a member of the faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and the co­founder and artistic director of Emerald City Music in Seattle. For more information, visit www.violinistkristinlee.com.

Joshua Roman has earned an international reputation for his wide-ranging repertoire, a commitment to communicating the essence of music in visionary ways, artistic leadership and versatility. As well as being a celebrated performer, he is recognized as an accomplished composer and curator, and was named a TED Senior Fellow in 2015.

Recent seasons have seen Roman premiere Awakening, his own Cello Concerto, with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, and subsequently perform it with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra; make his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra playing Dvorák’s Cello Concerto; give a solo performance on the TED2015 main stage; perform a program of chamber works by Lera Auerbach at San Francisco Performances with Auerbach and violinist Philippe Quint; and make appearances with the Columbus, Fort Worth, New World, Seattle Symphonies as well as with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He also served as Alumnus-in- Residence at the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.

Before embarking on a solo career, Roman spent two seasons as principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony, a position he won in 2006 at the age of 22. Since that time he has appeared as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mariinsky Orchestra, New World Symphony, Alabama Symphony, and Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Ecuador, among many others. An active chamber musician, Roman has collaborated with established artists such as Andrius Zlabys, Cho-Liang Lin, Assad Brothers, Earl Carlyss, Christian Zacharias and Yo-Yo Ma, as well as other dynamic young soloists and performers from New York’s vibrant music scene, including the JACK Quartet, Talea Ensemble, Derek Bermel and the Enso String Quartet.

A native of Oklahoma City, Roman began playing the cello at the age of three on a quarter-size instrument, and gave his first public recital at age ten. Home-schooled until he was 16, he then pursued his musical studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Richard Aaron. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance in 2004, and his Master’s in 2005, as a student of Desmond Hoebig, former principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra. Roman is grateful for the loan of an 1899 cello by Giulio Degani of Venice. For more information, visit www.joshuaroman.com.

Praised for his “ravishing and simply gorgeous” performances in the The Washington Post, pianist David Fung is widely recognized for interpretations that are elegant and refined, yet intensely poetic and uncommonly expressive. Fung appears regularly with the world’s premier ensembles including the Cleveland Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, and with the major orchestras in Australia, including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

In July 2016, Fung’s highly acclaimed debut with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival was “everything you could wish for” (Cleveland Classical), and he was further praised as an “agile and alert interpreter of Mozart’s crystalline note-spinning” (The Plain Dealer).  In the following week, he performed Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini at the Beijing National Stadium for their Olympic Summer Festival. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Fung is a frequent guest artist at prestigious festivals and venues worldwide. Festival highlights include performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Blossom Music Festival, Caramoor, Edinburgh International Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Ravinia Festival, and Tippet Rise.  At his Edinburgh International Festival debut, the Edinburgh Guide described Fung as being “impossibly virtuosic, prodigiously talented... and who probably does ten more impossible things daily before breakfast.”

Fung garnered international attention as a winner in two of the "top five" international piano competitions (the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels and the Arthur Rubinstein Piano International Masters Competition in Tel Aviv). In Tel Aviv, he was further distinguished by the Chamber Music and Mozart Prizes, awarded in areas in which Fung has a particularly passionate interest. Fung is the first piano graduate of the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles and is a Steinway Artist. For more information, visit www.davidfung.com.

Indian-American composer Reena Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, and brings communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces.

In recent seasons, Esmail has worked with the Kronos Quartet, Albany Symphony, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Salastina Music Society, SOLI, and American Composers Orchestra. Her work is performed regularly throughout the US and abroad, and has been programmed at Carnegie Hall, the Barbican Centre in London, Schloss Esterhazy in Hungary, and throughout India. She has served as Composer in Residence for Albany Symphony (2016-17), Street Symphony (2016-present) in downtown Los Angeles, Concerts on the Slope (2015-16) in Brooklyn, NY and the Pasadena Master Chorale (2014-16) in Pasadena, CA.

Esmail received a 2011-12 Fulbright-Nehru to study Hindustani music in India, where she was also a 2011 INK Fellow (in association with TED). In 2010, Esmail co-founded of Yale’s Hindi a cappella group, Sur et Veritaal. Esmail’s doctoral thesis, entitled Finding Common Ground: Uniting Practices in Hindustani and Western Art Musicians explores the methods and challenges of the collaborative process between Hindustani musicians and Western composers. Her teachers include Srimati Lakshmi Shankar and Saili Oak. 

Esmail holds degrees in composition from The Juilliard School (BM’05) and the Yale School of Music (MM’11, MMA’14, DMA’18). Her primary teachers have included Susan Botti, Aaron Jay Kernis, Christopher Theofanidis and Martin Bresnick, Christopher Rouse and Samuel Adler. She has won numerous awards, including the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (and subsequent publication of a work by C.F. Peters) and two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.

Esmail was on the composition and theory faculty at Manhattan School of Music Precollege from 2006-2011. She taught the music theory core curriculum at Yale College from 2012-14. Recently, Esmail has worked with young composers through mentorship programs including Shastra’s Arranging with Hindustani Music, Pasadena Master Chorale’s Listening to the Future. This season, she will mentor young women composers through Kaufmann Center’s new program, The Luna Lab.

Recent commissions include: I Rise: Women in Song, for Lehigh University’s women’s chorus and orchestra, a Clarinet Concerto for Hindustani/Western crossover clarinetist Shankar Tucker and Albany Symphony Orchestra (where she was the 2016-17 Composer Fellow), The Light is the Same for Imani Winds, and a new major sacred work, This Love Between Us for chorus, orchestra, sitar and tabla, written for Yale Schola Cantorum and Juilliard 415 which toured India in March 2017. This season’s highlights include new works for Chicago Sinfonietta, Albany Symphony, and violinist Vijay Gupta.

In addition to her work as a composer, Esmail is the Co-Artistic Director of Shastra, a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural music that connects the great musical traditions of India and the West. She is also the Composer-in-Residence with Street Symphony, where she works with communities experiencing homelessness and incarceration in Los Angeles. Esmail currently resides in Los Angeles, California. For more information, visit www.reenaesmail.com.


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