15-year-old Olivia Li from Cary, NC studies the piano with Florence Ko and has over the years garnered myriad awards and scholarships. She placed first in various competitions including the North Carolina Federation of Music Clubs (NCFMC) Young Artist Auditions, 6 years consecutively from divisions Senior I until Concerto IV, as well as the Princess category of the NCFMC Royalty Competition, the SYMF Southwestern Youth Music Festival Competition, the USA IMAE Music & Art Exchange International Piano Competition where she had a masterclass with the renowned Gary Graffman, RTPA Scholarship Competition, CAPTA Bullard Competition, and 2nd prize of the prestigious NC symphony concerto competition and 3rd Annual Hayes School of Music Piano Competition. In her spare time, Olivia enjoys sharing her music with others and frequently hosts performances at local retirement centers, and hospitals. She has also been invited to perform at various events, such as 5 consecutive meetings for the 2023 Cary Environmental Symposium at the Cary Arts Center, where many esteemed speakers and mayor are invited as well.
Chris (Yuanduo) Li, who is 17 years old and currently in the 11th grade, attends Green Level High School in Apex, North Carolina. He was born in China in 2006 and began his musical journey when he was just six years old. He started taking piano lessons in June 2021 after moving to the United States, and he’s been guided by Florence Ko. Since then, Chris has achieved some impressive accomplishments: he came in second place in the 2022 Young Artist Auditions (YAA) competition at the Prince level. He also got first place in the Senior level of the 2022 Raleigh Piano Teacher Association (RPTA) scholarship competition, the Bullard piano competition (High School level), and the Raleigh Music Club Scholarship Auditions. It’s worth noting that he got second position in the Senior division of the 2022 Music Teacher National Association (MTNA) competition, and he won in the Senior division of the International American Protege competition. Additionally, he had the chance to be part of the East Carolina University piano festival and their master classes. In 2023, he achieved second place in the North Carolina Royalty Competition at the King level. He also won the National Federation of Music Clubs competition at the King level and the Hinda Honigman piano scholarship in Statesville, NC, performed in Environmental Symposium at Cary Arts Center. Apart from his dedication to playing the piano, Chris enjoys taking part in basketball and tennis, which brings him joy.
Jared Alan Yoakem is a pianist from Grand Rapids, MI. As a recitalist, he has performed at the Brendle Recital Hall, Wake Forest University, NC; Covington Arts Center, Radford University, VA; Katzen Arts Center, American University, DC; and Porter Arts Center, Brevard College, NC. As a collaborative artist, he has performed with ACDA, NATS, the National Orpheus Competition, and a variety of choral projects including two national PBS broadcasts at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. He has been awarded with the Dean’s Advisory Council Award for outstanding achievement in music from Belmont University in 2019. Yoakem has participated in the Collaborative Piano Institute at Louisiana State University, the Leon Fleisher Academy of Washington D.C., and the Vivace Music Foundation of Wilmington, NC. He has participated in masterclasses by Stanislav Ioudenitch, Marina Lomazov, Julian Martin, Anne-Marie McDermott and Robert McDonald. Yoakem holds degrees from Belmont University & East Carolina University, under the instruction of Elena Bennett and Kwan Yi. He currently serves as a piano faculty member at the Cary School of Music and as a teaching assistant to Kwan Yi.
Grace began studying piano last year to honor the memory of her mother, her first teacher. With an older sister who consistently placed first in their state and would go on to compete nationally and internationally, Grace quit after only a few years of lessons. She went on to study at MIT and Harvard Business School, pursuing interests outside music. Her sister, Vivian Fang, went on to earn two degrees from Juilliard and her doctorate from Peabody Conservatory. Vivian teaches in her private studio, serves on faculty at The Fay School outside Boston, and is President of New England Piano Teachers’ Association. After purchasing her Steinway from Ruggero, Grace started studying with Teddy Robie. Additionally, Vivian provides sisterly coaching. Grace also enjoys being a part of the Presto piano performance group. Grace is an ardent lifelong student of positive psychology studying under Tal Ben Shahar, the creator of Harvard’s most popular course ever on happiness, Arthur Brooks of Harvard Business School and Noa Kageyama, Juilliard’s performance psychologist. Grace is the founder of Savvy Growth, a leadership coaching and strategy consulting firm, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Prior to that, she served on the leadership teams of five technology companies. She writes a weekly column on Happiness & Leadership and has been covered in Inc. Magazine, The Daily Beast and The Wall Street Journal.
This trio features Erin Munnelly, flute, Sanford Enslen, cello, and Stephanie Schmidt, piano.
Kangqi Hong, also known as “Newnew,” is a 14-year-old student born in Zhuhai, China, and currently resides with her aunt and uncle, Hong Schulte and Stuart Schulte, in Moore County, North Carolina. She attended Episcopal Day School from 3rd to 5th grade and is now a 9th grader at the O’Neal School. Newnew started learning to play the piano at the age of 6 in China, taught initially by her mother. She studies under Dr. Kristina Henckel and practices daily on a 1931 Baldwin grand piano. In February 2023, Newnew had her first public performance at a sold-out concert sponsored by the Arts Council of Moore County. She performed pieces by Mendelssohn, Chopin, Beethoven, and Saint-Saëns, impressing the audience with her skills. Newnew has taken part in numerous music competitions, winning first place in the solo piano category at Carmel Klavier 2022, Carmel IN, Fayetteville Piano Teacher’s Association competition in 2022, Fayetteville, NC, and Weymouth Young Musician’s Festival in 2020, Southern Pines, NC. Furthermore, she was a finalist in the 2023 North Carolina Symphony Concerto Competition. Newnew is also a laureate of the Piano League competition, participated in the MTNA competition, and received the Grand Prize in the Rising Talents Festival 2021, allowing her to perform at Carnegie Hall. Apart from concerts and competitions, Newnew has performed for local nursing homes, art shows, fundraisers, and Habitat for Humanity. In addition to her love for music, she is also interested in art, history, and science-fiction.
Mozart: Sonata KV 570 in B-flat Major
Mozart’s Sonata K570 is a late work which shows the composer at his absolute best. The opening movement is unusual: each theme serves as a springboard to the next one. Thus, the opening melody is a counterpoint to the second one, and the second transfigures to become the third one. In fact, the contrapuntal mastery must have been so appealing that soon after Mozart’s death the Sonata was reworked for violin and piano by an admirer, and is still sometimes performed in that manner, ostensibly as an authentic Mozart piece.
The second movement is an extensive rondo, drawing on the wealth of vocal and instrumental traditions, almost ready to be orchestrated. The frequent use of strophic variation allows the performer to introduce a variety of ornaments, something which was expected in both vocal and instrumental performances of the time.
The last movement is yet another, very much abbreviated rondo; in its center lives a pecking bird, engulfed by contrapuntal lines, very reminiscent of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 and violin sonata K. 378. In both cases, the tempo suddenly accelerates for the sake of that very bird, and I have taken the brazen liberty of doing the same.
Beethoven: Sonata Op. 28 in D Major
The so-called “Pastoral” Sonata owes its nickname to a publisher. This is, without a doubt, inspired by the ostinato in the left hand, prominent in movements one and four, clear stand-in for bagpipes. Yet, while as certain pastoral feeling cannot be denied, it by no means shapes the entire work. In his second and last D Major sonata, Beethoven chooses yet again to keep all four movements in the home key, with the second, slow movement, taking the minor mode. But the contrast between major and minor in our sonata is much less violent then in the earlier Op. 10 No. 3. A possible musical twin for the work is rather the “Spring” sonata for violin and piano, written at about the same time; undeniably handsome, tender, poignant, and positive, with a dash of humor.
Schumann: Kreisleriana Op. 16
Every December, our country falls under the spell of the German author E. T. A. Hoffmann. In fact, we eagerly await the experience of seeing a most garbled version of his short novel “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” now in the form of a famous ballet. Hoffmann, a near-contemporary of Schumann and his undeniable alter ego, had a double career as an author and a musician (Schumann’s stated aspiration as well); his views, aesthetics, and artistic goals were also very close to Schumann’s. And just like Schumann with his Florestan and Eusebius, the fiery and the meek aspects of oneself, Hoffmann had invented for himself a literary stand-in, a certain Kapellmeister Kreisler, is whose bizarre personality these aspects are fused in a strange way, compelling in the eyes of some, repulsive for most others. Such split personality is more than a child of an erratic mind, sophisticated one moment and childish the next; here, we also have the inability, and the unwillingness to put up with the world the way we see it. Kreisler’s life, inasmuch as Hoffmann’s or Schumann’s, is a struggle against a mounting tide of mediocrity, indifference, and pointless small talk. Ironically, Hoffmann tells us, Kreisler’s unpublished autobiography became scrap paper for a memoir by… a cat. Schumann’s eight scenes are not, apparently, descriptive of specific Hoffmann moments; they describe mental states.
A native of Moscow, Dmitri Shteinberg holds a Doctorate in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and is currently the Clifton Matthews Distinguished Professor of piano at UNCSA. His performance credentials include Jerusalem Symphony, The Italian Filarmonica Marchigiana, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Israel Camerata Orchestra and Porto National Symphony under the batons of Massimo Pradella, Roger Nierenberg, Florin Totan and David Shallon, among others. In the United States, he appeared with the Baton Rouge, Richmond, Charlottesville, Salisbury and Manassas symphony orchestras. In 1995, he won the first prize at the Senigallia International Piano Competition in Italy, where he was the youngest competitor. Shteinberg was a guest artist at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Summit Music Festival, Music Festival of the Hamptons, the ”Oleg Kagan” Festival in Germany, Festival Aix-en-Provence in France and Open Chamber Music in Cornwall, England. Chamber music appearances include the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Alice Tully Hall in New York and the Saunders Theatre in Boston. Most recently, he gave the world premiere of Permutations for piano and orchestra by Robert Chumbley.
We are so excited to have students and faculty from Community Music School performing for this month’s Fourth Friday Concert Series! Repertoire to include selections from Bach, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and others from a variety of genres and styles.
Founded in 1994, CMS is the only organization in Wake County that provides private, 1:1 personalized music instruction in multiple genres at just $1 per lesson for children who have limited or no access to music education. For the last 30 years, CMS has worked to ensure that every child with a passion for music has access to affordable, high quality music education; and empowers families to foster their children’s love for music; and raise awareness of the benefits of musical instruction in the development of the whole child. Please join in supporting the young musicians of Community Music School by donating $30.00 in honor of the school’s years of service OR become a CMS sustainer at $19.94/month, reflecting on the school’s year of establishment! Learn More Here
Katharina Uhde is the author of The Music of Joseph Joachim (Boydell & Brewer, 2018). She is Assistant Professor for Violin and Musicology at Valparaiso University. She holds a DMA degree from the University of Michigan and a PhD in Musicology from Duke University. As a soloist, quartet and piano trio member she has won first and second place prizes in international competitions in Prague, Germany, the Netherlands, and she has also won the 2004 University of Michigan Concerto Competition. She has released a CD Brasilianische Kammermusik and is preparing a Beethoven Violin Sonata cycle with R. Larry Todd for 2020. Her work has been supported by generous grants from Fulbright, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the American Brahms Society, and the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben.
Sanja – Božena Uhde, concert cellist, received her first cello lessons from Edvard Adamić, principal cellist of the Ljubljana Philharmonic and Opera Orchestra. She studied with internationally famous cellist André Navarra at the University of Music in Vienna with the support of a scholarship from the Austrian Ministry of Education. She later studied in Freiburg with the renowned Spanish cellist Marçal Cervera. She completed her training by attending courses at the “Accademia Chigiana” in Siena with André Navarra and with Mstislav Rostropowitsch in Basel. Following her studies, she received inspiration from Pierre Fournier and William Pleeth. Solo performances with orchestra include the cello concertos by Haydn, Schumann, Brahms (double concerto) and Beethoven (triple concerto). Sanja – Božena Uhde is an active internationally sought-after concert cellist, whose career has taken her to numerous European concerts and to non-European countries such as the USA and Brazil, where she gave master classes at various universities. Sanja – Božena Uhde regularly teaches as a professor at the Karlsruhe University of Education.
Larry Todd is Arts & Sciences Professor at Duke University. His books include Mendelssohn: A Life in Music, described as ‘likely to be the standard biography for a long time to come’ (New York Review of Books), and Fanny Hensel: The Other Mendelssohn, which received the ASCAP Slonimsky Prize. A fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation and National Humanities Center, he edits the Master Musician Series (Oxford University Press). He studied piano at the Yale School of Music and with the late Lilian Kallir, and has recorded with Nancy Green the complete cello/piano works of the Mendelssohns for JRI Recordings.