Z.E.N. Trio’s Esther Yoo in conversation with pianist Robert Koenig

Event Date: 

Monday, October 21, 2019 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Event Date Details: 

Event Location: 

  • Karl Geiringer Hall (UCSB)

Event Price: 

Free
Open to the public

Event Contact: 

Adriane Hill
Marketing and Communications Manager
UC Santa Barbara Department of Music
(805) 893-3230

Esther Yoo (photo by Marco-Borggreve)

Esther Yoo (photo by Marco-Borggreve)
 
UCSB Arts & Lectures and the Department of Music will present Z.E.N. Trio’s Esther Yoo in conversation with pianist Robert Koenig, Chair and Professor at the UCSB Department of Music, on Monday, October 21, 2019 from 2-3 pm in Karl Geiringer Hall. The conversation will be moderated by UCSB Professor of Musicology, Derek Katz.

Related Event

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 | 7 pm | Hahn Hall, Music Academy of the West

About the Artists

Esther Yoo

In an era when technical perfection is a given, the spotlight inevitably shifts to interpretation, and Esther Yoo’s playing has been described as ”mesmerising", “soulful“, “ spellbinding“, "intensely lyrical”, and “taking her audience into an enchanted garden.” She performs with many leading conductors – including Vladimir Ashkenazy (with whom she and the Philharmonia Orchestra recorded the Sibelius, Glazunov and Tchaikovsky concertos for Deutsche Grammophon), Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Thierry Fischer, Vasily Petrenko, Karina Canellakis and Andrew Davis – and orchestras such as the Philharmonia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie or the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. She has also performed at a range of prominent festivals including the BBC Proms and Aspen Music Festival. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra appointed her as their inaugural Artist-in-Residence in 2018, through which Esther participated extensively in educational and outreach projects, alongside their concert performances in London and across the UK. Esther has appeared in recital at Lincoln Center and Wigmore Hall, and in 2018 she featured prominently on the soundtrack and accompanying Decca disc of the feature film, On Chesil Beach. The piano trio, Z.E.N., (which she co-founded together with fellow former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists Zhang Zuo and Narek Hakhnazaryan), tours widely in North America, Europe and Asia. They chose works by Brahms and Dvorak for their first recording and are currently preparing their second recording which, like the first, will be released on DG. Esther may be unique among classical soloists in being fully tri-cultural. She was born and spent her earliest years in the U.S., before receiving her education in Belgium and Germany, but she always retained her family’s proud Korean heritage. Having authentic roots in three continents may have contributed to her versatility and exceptionally broad range of expression, and was unquestionably a factor in making her one of the most articulate and gifted communicators in the field of classical music. She began playing the violin at 4 and made her concerto debut aged 8. At 16 she became the youngest prizewinner of the International Sibelius Violin Competition and two years later she was one of the youngest ever prizewinners of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2012. In 2014 she became a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and in 2018 Classic FM featured her in their Top 30 Artists under 30.

Robert Koenig

Now in his third decade as a much sought-after performing artist, Canadian pianist Robert Koenig has performed throughout the world to great acclaim as a collaborative pianist and chamber musician. His partnerships with many of today’s leading classical artists have seen him grace many of the world's most important stages including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Boston’s Jordan Hall, San Francisco’s Herbst Theater, Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, Vancouver’s Chan Center, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Taiwan’s National Theater, Hong Kong’s City Hall, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Paris’ Louvre Museum, Brussels’ BOZAR, and Amsterdam’s Het Concertgebouw. These frequent recital appearances have seen him collaborating with many of this generation’s most renowned musicians, including Augustin Hadelich, Sarah Chang, Hilary Hahn, Pamela Frank, Ida Kavafian, Kyoko Takezawa, Esther Yoo, Paul Huang, Roberto Diaz, Jonathan Moerschel, Zuill Bailey, Sara Sant’Ambrogio, Jennifer Kloetzel, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Miro String Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, and members of the Tokyo and Juilliard String Quartets. Of significance is Koenig’s frequent partnership with legendary late violinist Aaron Rosand that resulted in many successful recital tours throughout the world, in addition to a recorded legacy of live performances. Koenig’s 25-year collaboration with renowned American violinist Elmar Oliveria continues to see the pair travel the globe in recital performances as well as in multiple acclaimed recordings for the Artek and Biddulph Recording labels. His additional recording activity includes a GRAMMY nominated CD for Naxos of William Primrose Transcriptions for Viola and Piano with violist Roberto Diaz as well as recordings for Decca, Cedille, Eroica, Ambassador, Centaur, and CRI.
 
A favorite at summer festivals, Koenig has performed at such prestigious festivals as Ravinia, Aspen, Saratoga, Chamber Music Northwest, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Caramoor, Banff, Mostly Mozart, Campos do Jordao Festival in Brazil, and Interlochen Summer Arts Festival. A strong advocate for new music, he commissioned American Composer Lowell Liebermann to write his Piano Trio for flute, cello and piano, Op. 87 and gave the world premiere at the National Flute Association Convention in Nashville, TN.
 
Mr. Koenig’s 2019-20 season includes performances at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, The Forum in Harrisburg, PA, Bankhead Theater in Livermore, CA, and recitals in Copenhagen and Brussels. In addition to a southern California tour with well-known Camerata Pacifica, he will also perform Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra in Virginia.
 
A native of Saskatchewan, Canada, Koenig is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he studied with renowned collaborative pianist Dr. Vladimir Sokoloff. In addition to his decade long association with the Juilliard School where he served as staff pianist, he was formerly Professor of Piano and Chamber Music at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. Since 2007, Koenig has been Professor and Head of Collaborative Piano at the University of California Santa Barbara where he also serves as the Chair of the Music Department and Head of Performance. His summers are spent at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp where he is Coordinator of Collaborative Piano.

Derek Katz

Derek Katz received his PhD from UCSB, his BA from Harvard, and has studied at The Free University of Berlin on a Fulbright Fellowship. A specialist in Czech music, he has published articles in Musical Quarterly and multiple Czech journals, as well as chapters in Nineteenth Century Chamber Music (Schirmer, 1998), Janáček and His World (Princeton, 2003), and Modernism and Opera (Johns Hopkins, 2016). His book Janáček Beyond the Borders was published by the University of Rochester Press in 2009. His more recent work deals with institutional support for professional string quartets in the United States in the mid-20th Century. In particular, he has been researching the American career of the Kolisch Quartet and the history of the New Friends of Music in New York. Katz has also worked extensively in public musicology and audience enhancement. He has written for The New York Times, the San Francisco Opera, the Teatro Real Madrid, and the Bavarian State Opera, and spoken at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. He also collaborates with the San Francisco Opera Guild, the Ives Collective, and the Hausmann Quartet. He is an enthusiastic amateur violist and chamber music player.
 
Esther Yoo (photo by Marco-Borggreve)