Artikel-Schlagworte: „Boston“

Young Soloists / An encounter with Hanna Lee

Donnerstag, 5. April 2012

Being a healthy person

Hanna Lee is a 27 year old viola player who became a Young Soloist of Kronberg Academy Masters in Oct. 2011. She is now belonging to a group of 14 distinct students to complete her musical education with this special study programme for an international solo career degree in Kronberg. Hanna is a very laid-back person who thinks she has many new opportunities to broaden her musical cosmos and pick up the cultural background of all the compositions and composers that she will be encountering while studying at Kronberg Academy.

Since October last year Hanna has been busy visiting masterclasses and making new friends with fellow Young Soloists. Her first major steps in musical education took place in her home country Korea. Hanna attended both the music middle and high school, then joined the Korean National University of Arts in Seoul. There she studied until she was 18.

While Hanna was studying in Korea, she began to appreciate the value of chamber music. At age 18 a decision was made to go to the US and join one of the major conservatories. Between 2002-2004 Hanna attended Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, then between 2004-2008 she went to Boston to continue her musical studies at the famous New England Conservatory. In addition, Hanna attended a couple of famous musical festival events, such as the Verbier Festival (2006, 2008), Ravinia Festival in Chicago (2010) and the highly regarded Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont (2011).

We met Hanna after the masterclasses with violist Yuri Bashmet earlier this year and Hanna agreed to engage in a brief dialogue with us. After this session she was totally relaxed saying that it was quite easy to conduct this kind of conversation rather than being caught in a stiff  interview. Anyway, here is what we learned from Hanna´s first encounters with our institution during this conversation.

Please tell us about your experiences when you came to Philadelphia to enroll at Curtis Institute which is known for its lowest acceptance rate of any college or university in the US, making it the most selective institution of higher education in the United States.

Hanna: Well, it was my first time to go to a foreign country. Oh, this was a culture shock for me, everything was very different! And Curtis, I found out, was a very tiny institution. This institute serves as a training ground for orchestral players to fill the ranks of the Philadelphia Orchestra. But it also offers courses for composers, organists, pianists and singers.

What was special there based on your previous experiences with musical education in your home country Korea? Everyone has great admiration for Curtis Institute which was established in 1924

Hanna:  Musical Education focuses on chamber music and on orchestral playing. They have their own orchestra called “the Curtis Symphony Orchestra”. One must be aware that there is also a very strong connection between the Philadelphia Orchestra and Curtis. Many great conductors have been alumni, eg Leonhard Bernstein, Christoph Eschenbach, Alan Gilbert. Or instrumentalists such as Hilary Hahn or Lang Lang. I was concentrating on playing and enjoing with other musicians. There was no focus whatsoever in the direction of solo playing.

What happened in Boston while you were attending NEC?

Hanna: This was a great time. I was lucky to be trained by Kim Kashkashian. She is a marvellous teacher. I learned so much from her. I was able to be close to my instrument, the viola. And Kim´s tuition helped me so much to be comfortable with the instrument.

What is unique about Kim Kashkashian in your view?

Hanna: Her commitment to chamber music, which began during years of participation at the Marlboro Music Festival, is just incredible. And her artistry of the viola is impressive.  Kim also made many appearances at the Salzburg, Marlboro and Lockenhaus Festival.

When did your earliest adventure in music really kick-in?

Hanna: At age 3 I started with piano, my brother played the violin. I wanted to do the same but I was too young. Then at age 5 I switched to violin. At age 10 I met a fellow Korean violist who asked me why I would not try the viola, because of its warmer sound. Well, since that moment I became more interested in playing the viola.

What were the next stages in your educational development?

Hanna: During age 12 – 15 I attended Music Middle School and continued at Music High School until I was 16. In 1995 I entered the Seoul Musical Conservatory.I forgot to mention: In 2000 at age 15 I came to Germany for a winter break. Cologne was the city where I spent 2 months. I was performing in concerts but also visited other artists performing. It was a great time, I was excited about the musical culture and history in Gemany. Music and the people seem to be very much connected, this is kind of unique. So I decided to continue my further musical studies in Germany!

Which viola teachers influenced you most strongly during your Korean years?

Hanna: Well, there are two teachers I want to mention: firstly, Soon Wha Oh and, secondly, Sang Jin Kim. Both were influencing me quite significantly. I am thankful for that period of learning.

What is the importance of family and staying connected with your parents at home?

Hanna: Well, my mother, who is a trained pianist who had established a school for young kids who wanted to learn piano, motivated me quite a lot. So early on, I listened to my mother´s piano playing. My father is not at all engaged with music. But he is somebody who is always providing advice with view to the important things in life, such as family life. My parents never pushed me in any particular direction. My father influenced me strongly in the area of good health. Until today, he always keeps telling me, stay fit and do everything you can, to lay the ground for a healthy lifestyle. I find this advice particularly important! And I follow his advice up to now, because I am totally convinced that this is the right thing to do.

What is special about our study programme Kronberg Academy Masters? How will you benefit?

Hanna: It seems to me that the Kronberg Academy is like a small family. And everyone is connected to many members of that family. I will benefit from this in many ways. With Nobuko Imai I am having a great teacher in Kronberg. And I am going to broaden my mind and awareness musically. Last but not least, I want to absorb the entire cultural background to better understand the composers and their compositions to see a much bigger musical picture. Otherwise,  I don´t have any particular wishes.

Hanna, thank you for this conversation!

Michael Heinz / Kronberg Academy

Masterclass with Yuri Bashmet

Dienstag, 31. Januar 2012

Intense two days with a focus on musicality, precision and body language

Thirteen Young Soloists gathered in Kronberg for two days of intense education with a great violist and and a man who understands the full spectrum of the human body language:  mime Samy Molcho. Mr. Molcho is known for his body language expertise while Yuri Bashmet, the world-renowned viola artist, demonstrated his unique musicianship and educational prowess for the young musicians. Samy Molcho´s session delivered an important input for the Young Soloists with regard to the character and quality of their stage presence: Learning and understanding the impact of  an artist´s movements and gestures while performing on stage representing an indirect kind of communication that influences how the artist is generally perceived by the audience. Thereby having an influence on how well the performance can be supported through the right body language.

The sessions with both artists were extremely well received and the stimulation and the insights that the two men had to offer left the group highly motivated. Walking through the hall of our KAM facilities I tried to gather some personal feedback from the young musicians about the sessions with the famous Russian violist.

Said Hanna Lee, 27, violist from Korea,  studying in Kronberg since October last year,
“there was so much information over these two days, I am extremely motivated to dig deeper into  the world of music and try to be more complete as a player. Yes, it was very worthwhile”.

Yura Lee, another Korean violist, now living in Boston, confirmed this view during a break on the last day and continued having great fun with some other fellow Young Soloists.

Ella van Poucke, 17, the youngest participant of the group, found that Mr. Bashmet was extremely focused on every single note of the composition. And Pablo Ferrández, 21, another young Soloist added, “ Mr. Bashmet pays enormous attention to every detail, he has great listening capabilities and I was overwhelmed that he listens to the very last millisecond of a tone. He helps to improve one´s listening skills greatly”.

István Várdai, 27, who will finish the masters programme mid-year, was dwelling on the very personal traits of Mr. Bashmet when he said “ We get along very well with each other, and his personality is of such a kind that I can relate to very much”.

Berlin-based Gabriel Schwabe, 24, just concentrated on two skills. “What makes him unique? I asked. “It´s his very precision and also his patience” Gabriel answered.

Stephen Potts, director of “Kronberg Academy Masters” programme, attended most of the sessions and together with his team colleagues Anne Zipf and Gisela Rösing provided for all the necessary support and logistical services that needed to be organised before, during and after the sessions.

When Mr. Bashmet was ready to rush out of the studio rooms just minutes after the final session was completed I could ask hastily two questions believing these would help characterise his engagement as a teacher in Kronberg.

What is special about Kronberg and its academy, Mr. Bashmet?”, I asked him. “It´s all about the atmosphere. The academy is like a family, that´s very special!”.

“And what do you gain as a teacher from engaging in this kind of activity?” was my follow-up question. Standing already in the doorway he paused for a second then said “ When I am working with very young highly talented musicians I am feeling younger myself”.

Michael Heinz / Kronberg Academy Team

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