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Paganini Laureate Returns to NEC


by Annie Kim

Violinist Inmo Yang will return to NEC Williams Hall where he appeared a year ago in a recital celebrated on these pages with much enthusiasm. “Yang made the [music] come alive by varying the colors on his soulful Guadagnini, he also demonstrated remarkable expressiveness and control of his bow made by Boston-area McArthur Genius Grant winner Benoit Roland. [He] left us with a stage picture of handsomely distilled and gorgeous inflected romance.” Information on the August 6th at 3:00pm sonata recital with pianist Yun Janice Lu, tickets and details can be found at the Korean Cultural Society of Boston.

Proceeding in reverse chronological order of composition, the recital begins with two sonatas written within the contexts of World War I. The Debussy Violin Sonata, though but 13-minutes in length, foregrounds Debussy’s signature use of wide-ranging timbres and harmonic colors combined with his motive-driven, fragmented, late compositional style. The violin sonata was part of what Debussy envisioned to be a set of six sonatas, but this remains the third and final work of the unfinished cycle.

Janáček’s Violin Sonata highlights folk-inspired melodies that gesture towards the Czech composer’s hopes that the war would liberate Czechoslovakia from Austro-Hungarian rule. Despite these aspirations, however, the unavoidable backdrop of violence is present throughout the sonata, with Janáček himself stating of the piece, “I could just about hear sound of the steel clashing in my troubled head.”

Franck’s monumental Violin Sonata, a chamber music staple, demonstrates Franck’s compositional turn to cyclic form, where the reappearance of certain thematic causes the four movements to cohere.

Inmo Yang (file photo)

Inmo Yang won first prizes at the Jean Sibelius Violin Competition (2022) and the Paganini International Violin Competition (2015), the latter of which had not awarded a first prize since 2006. Yang has been praised for his impressive technique, rich tone, and musical expressivity, with the Chicago Tribune writing that he “displayed a depth of musical feeling beyond the technique one expects to hear from competition winners such as he.”

Yang is currently studying with Antje Weithass at the Kronberg Academy, whose highly selective program prepares the most talented young musicians for international solo careers. The local favorite previously studied at the New England Conservatory with Miriam Fried. Since winning the Sibelius prize, Yang has been playing on a 1772 G.B. Guadagnini violin, on loan to him from the Beare’s International Violin Society. Heralded by the Violin Channel as “one of the new generation’s most talented young string virtuosi,” Yang will certainly provide an exciting, moving performance of all three sonatas.

Yun Janice Lu is a prolific soloist and chamber musician based in Boston. She reaches the semi-finals in the 2018 Geneva International Music Competition and is currently pursuing her DMA at New England Conservatory with Alessio Bax and Alexander Korsantia.

Annie Kim, a PhD student in the Musicology & Ethnomusicology program at Brown University, researches the intersections of voice, sound, and performance studies. Some of her current areas of interest include minoritarian performances, technological mediation, timbre, temporality, and utopia.

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