This weekend will mark the closing concert of the Koerner Quartet, Summer Serenade, where they will be accompanied by special guest prodigies and Vancouver Academy of Music Rising Star award winners, Esther Hwang and Trisha Doo.
Under the guidance of VAM director Joseph Elworthy, The Koerner Quartet -- consisting of UBC alumni Nicholas Wright, Jason Ho, Emille Grimes and Joseph Elworthy -- has been sharing the joy of chamber music within communities in Vancouver since 2012 and is renowned internationally for its nuanced experimental style.
This farewell summer concert not only offers an occasion to celebrate the finale of the season but also to welcome the musical prodigies in their Rising Star Mentorship Program. At just 18 and 19 years of age, violinist Esther Hwang and cellist Trisha Doo are highly accomplished pupils of the VAM’s Rising Star Mentorship Program.
With their highly varied and all-encompassing program, offering a dramatic musical journey from Puccini to Janacek to Tchaikovsky, the Summer Serenade promises to be a joyous celebration of summer.
“It is wonderful music that is really a harbinger for everything that is wonderful about summer, including Tchaikovsky Souvenir de Florence, which basically feels like if you spend two weeks in Florence in June," said director Joseph Elworthy. "It's very timely and appropriate and we’re really looking forward to bringing the house down."
Not only is the program full of lyrical summer tunes, the Koerner Quartet and their accompanying pupils have worked closely to form close bonds.
“That kind of chemistry between the musicians is really important. In order to play Puccini's music, you need to have good chemistry and good relations with the person you are playing with, as it really strengthens the performance,” said Hwang.
For both Elworthy and Hwang, the rehearsal process has offered an invaluable learning experience.
“Trisha and Esther’s great receptiveness to ideas and their exploration is something that is always wonderful to be reminded of," said Elworthy. "Their curiosity is really inspiring, and it is great for us as senior veteran musicians to be reminded of the importance of that.”
Esther Hwang, who began studying violin at just three years of age and was recently accepted to Juilliard’s Bachelor of Music program, looks forward to becoming a mentor herself in the years to come.
“I hope that in the future, I will be in the same type of situation except that I will be the teacher," she said. "I learnt so much from my mentors, Nick, Jason, Emily and Joseph. I learnt how to approach giving the students this valuable lesson, and how to rehearse. The professionalism that they have is a very valuable input for me in the future when I am a teacher myself and I am preparing for a concert such as this one."
The Koerner Quartet's Summer Serenade is on June 7 in the Koerner Recital Hall.