MINIFEST: Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival In Residence





MINIFEST: Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival In Residence

The British Connection

  • $35 Assigned Rows 1-2
  • $15 General Admission
  • Paul Watkins, artistic director
  • Yoonshin Song, violin
  • Yura Lee, viola
  • Wei Yu, cello
  • Huw Watkins, composer/piano
  • Escher Quartet

Event Details

TICKETING NOTE: Reserved seating in rows 3-5 is sold out for this performance.

The Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival returns to KCH for its MiniFest residency. KCH is pleased to collaborate with this festival of international stature.

This performance is made possible through the generous support of Bennett Optometry and in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Check out all three different MINIFEST programs!


Duo for Violin and Viola, No. 1 in G major, K. 423 W.A. Mozart
Yoonshin Song, violin; Yura Lee, viola
Piano Trio Huw Watkins
Yoonshin Song, violin; Wei Yu, cello; Huw Watkins, piano
String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, "Death and the Maiden" Franz Schubert
Escher Quartet

Yoonshin Song

Acclaimed as “a wonderfully talented violinist...whose sound and technique go well beyond her years,” Yoonshin Song was born in South Korea where she began her musical studies at age five. Making her solo debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at age 11, she has since built a successful performing career throughout Korea, the United States and Europe.

Yoonshin earned many prestigious prizes throughout her career. Some highlights include top prize awards in international violin competitions such as the Wieniawski (Poland), Lipizer (Italy), Henry Marteau (Germany) and first prize at the Stradivarius International Competition in the U.S. In her native South Korea, Song has won virtually all the major national competitions. In addition, Yoonshin has received the David G. Whitecomb Foundation Award and the Korean Minister of Culture’s Award. Read more.

Since giving her debut recital after winning the Jeunesses Musicales Competition in 1999, she has been sought after as a recitalist performing throughout Korea, the United States and Europe to great acclaim. As a soloist she has performed with many orchestras around the world, including the Detroit Symphony, the Houston Symphony, the Utah Symphony, the P. Constantinescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, KBS Philharmonic Orchestra and Korean Baroque Chamber Orchestra.

Yoonshin has participated both as a soloist and as a chamber musician in numerous music festivals: Marlboro Music Festival, Verbier Music Festival, Deer Valley Music Festival, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Perlman Music Program, Miyazaki Chamber Music Festival in Japan and Bayreuth Festival in Germany.

Yoonshin earned her Master’s degree and Graduate Diploma under the tutelage of Donald Weilerstein at the New England Conservatory and completed the Artist Diploma and Professional Study programs at Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Robert Mann and Glenn Dicterow.

Since 2012, Yoonshin has been the Concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and has enjoyed close collaborations with inspiring guest artists such as Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell and Jamie Laredo among others.

Yoonshin currently plays on a 1707 Vincenzo Rugeri violin on loan to her by a generous sponsor in Michigan. She teaches at the University of Michigan. See less.

Yura Lee

Violinist/violist Yura Lee is the winner of the only first prize awarded across the four categories in the 2013 ARD Music Competition in Munich, Germany. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Yura Lee is enjoying a career that spans almost two decades, and takes her all over the world. Her musical integrity and her compelling artistry were praised by both the critic and some of the most respected artists of today.

As a soloist, she has appeared with many major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Saint Louis Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the NDR Symphonieorchester, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Tokyo Philharmonic, and many others. Ms. Lee has performed with conductors Christophe Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Myung-Whun Chung, Mikhail Pletnev, among many others. Read more.

Ms. Lee was nominated and represented by Carnegie Hall for its ECHO (European Concert Hall Organization) series. For this series, Ms. Lee gave recitals at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall and at nine celebrated concert halls in Europe: Wigmore Hall in London, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Stockholm Konserthus, the Athens Concert Hall and the Cologne Philharmonie.

At age 12, Ms. Lee became the youngest artist ever to receive the Debut Artist of the Year prize at the "Performance Today" awards given by National Public Radio. Ms. Lee received numerous international prizes, including the first prize and the audience prize at the 2006 Leopold Mozart Competition (Germany), the first prize at the 2010 UNISA International Competition (South Africa), and top prizes in the Indianapolis (USA), Hannover (Germany), Kreisler (Austria) and Paganini (Italy) Competitions.

Ms. Lee’s CD with Reinhard Goebel and the Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie, titled ‘Mozart in Paris’ (Oehms Classics) received the prestigious Diapason d’Or Award (France) in 2008.

As a chamber musician, Ms. Lee regularly takes part in the Marlboro Festival, Salzburg Festival, Verbier Festival, Caramoor Festival, Ravinia Festival, Kronberg Festival, Aspen Music Festival, among others. Ms. Lee has collaborated with many artists including Gidon Kremer, Andras Schiff, Leonidas Kavakos, Mitsuko Uchida, Miklós Perényi, Yuri Bashmet, Menahem Pressler, and Frans Helmerson. Ms. Lee is currently a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, as both violinist and violist.

Ms. Lee was awarded two Artist Diplomas, by the Indiana University in Bloomington and the New England Conservatory in Boston. Her main teachers included Namyun Kim, Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Thomas Riebl, Ana Chumachenko, and Nobuko Imai. Ms. Lee is a professor of violin at the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden, Germany. Ms. Lee divides her time between the United States (Boston/New York City) and Germany (Berlin).See less.

Wei Yu

Cellist Wei Yu joined the New York Philharmonic in September 2007 at age 26. Mr. Yu has been a prizewinner at the Hudson Valley Philharmonic String, Holland American Music Society Cello, Music Teacher National Association (MTNA National Collegiate Strings), Canada’s National Music Festival, Calgary’s Kiwanis Festival, and China’s National Cello competitions. He was invited to play for Mstislav Rostropovich at the Seventh American Cello Congress in 2003.

An active chamber musician, Mr. Yu has been invited to the Marlboro and Ravinia music festivals, and recently he has collaborated with musicians such as cellist David Soyer, pianists Richard Goode and Menahem Pressler, violinists Midori and Pinchas Zukerman, and members of the Guarneri and Juilliard Quartets. As a member of the New York Philharmonic Ensembles, he makes regular appearances at Merkin Concert Hall. Read more.

In the summers of 1998 through 2000, Wei Yu participated in the Morningside Music Bridge program at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. He subsequently enrolled in the University’s Gifted Youth program under the tutelage of John Kadz and is currently on the faculty of the Morningside Music Bridge program and has given cello master classes at universities and festivals in the United States, Canada, and China.

Born in Shanghai, China, Mr. Yu began studying the cello at age four and made his concerto debut at age eleven performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. His principal teachers include Mei-Juan Liu, John Kadz, Hans Jørgen Jensen, and David Soyer. He performs on the 1778 “Ex-Soyer” Gagliano cello, on generous loan from the Marlboro Music Festival. See less.

Huw Watkins

Huw Watkins was born in Wales in 1976 and studied piano with Peter Lawson at Chetham’s School of Music and composition with Robin Holloway, Alexander Goehr and Julian Anderson at Cambridge and the Royal College of Music. In 2001 he was awarded the Constant and Kit Lambert Junior Fellowship at the Royal College of Music, where he later taught composition.

Watkins’s breakthrough came in 1999 when the Nash Ensemble premiered his Sonata for cello and eight instruments, a year later the BBC National Orchestra of Wales premiered Sinfonietta under Grant Llewellyn and later commissioned his Piano Concerto which was premiered in 2002 with the composer at the piano. Read more.

This wider attention led to commissions from the London Symphony Orchestra (London Concerto, to mark their centenary in 2005) and a Double Concerto premiered by Philip Dukes (viola) and Josephine Knight (cello) at the Proms with BBC NOW conducted by Jac van Steen. He also received his first US commission from the Cincinnatti Chamber Orchestra which resulted in Nocturne for horn and chamber orchestra. His widely acclaimed Violin Concerto was premiered by Alina Abragimova at the 2011 Proms.

Alongside this growing body of orchestral music is a wealth of chamber music which is central to Watkins’ output, complementing his parallel career as a pianist. He has written two string quartets as well as a number of works for artists with whom he has developed performing partnerships including his Cello Sonata for Paul Watkins (recorded for Nimbus), Partita for Alina Ibragimova (recorded for NMC) and a viola Fantasy for Lawrence Power. The Nash Ensemble have long been supporters of his music and his recent Horn Trio was written for them. His Piano Trio was commissioned by Vernon Ellis for The Florestan Trio, who have performed it widely.

Watkins is also building a body of vocal works that includes In my craft or sullen art for tenor and string quartet which Mark Padmore and the Petersen Quartet premiered at the Wigmore Hall in 2006. Three Auden Songs was commissioned at Mark Padmore’s request by La Monnaie in 2009 and Five Larkin Songs, premiered by Carolyn Sampson and the composer at the 2010 Weekend of English Song, went on to win the vocal category at the British Composer Awards. 2009 also saw the premiere of Crime Fiction, a 20 minute chamber opera with a libretto by David Harsent for Music Theatre Wales. MTW subsequently co-commissioned with Scottish Opera In the Locked Room, a 50 minute chamber opera again with a libretto by Harsent, which was premiered in August 2012 to much acclaim.

As one of the UK’s finest young pianists Watkins has premiered works by Oliver Knussen, Mark-Anthony Turnage, John Woolrich and Michael Zev Gordon and has performed concertos with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra of the Swan. His recordings include discs of contemporary British music for Nimbus and Usk, the piano cycle Symmetry Disorders Reach by Alexander Goehr for Wergo and music by Knussen for NMC. His own disc of chamber music, In my craft or sullen art with NMC has been warmly praised.

Watkins is currently Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music and has been named Composer-in-Association with BBC National Orchestra of Wales for three years from Autumn 2015. See less.

Escher Quartet

Adam Barnett-Hart, violin
Aaron Boyd, violin
Pierre LaPointe, viola
Brook Speltz, cello

The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its profound musical insight and rare tonal beauty. A former BBC New Generation Artist, the quartet has performed at the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall. In its home town of New York, the ensemble serves as Artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, this season presenting the complete Zemlinsky Quartets Cycle in a concert streamed live from the Rose Studio. In 2013, the quartet became one of the very few chamber ensembles to be awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Read more.

Within months of its inception in 2005, the ensemble came to the attention of key musical figures worldwide. Championed by the Emerson Quartet, the Escher Quartet was invited by both Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to be Quartet in Residence at each artist’s summer festival: the Young Artists Programme at Canada’s National Arts Centre; and the Perlman Chamber Music Programme on Shelter Island, NY. The quartet has since collaborated with artists including David Finckel, Leon Fleischer, Wu Han, Lynn Harrell, Cho Liang Lin, Joshua Bell, Vilde Frang, David Shifrin and guitarist Jason Vieaux.

The Escher Quartet has made a distinctive impression throughout Europe, with recent debuts including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus and Les Grands Interprètes series in Geneva. Last season also saw debuts at London’s Kings Place and Slovenian Philharmonic Hall in Ljubljana, and festival appearances at Dublin’s Great Music in Irish Houses and the Risør Chamber Music Festival in Norway.

In the current season, the quartet undertakes further UK tours including the Wigmore Hall and makes debuts at the Heidelberg Spring Festival and De Oosterpoort Groningen in the Netherlands. The ensemble also renews its collaboration with pianist Benjamin Grosvenor in a European tour including the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris.

Alongside its growing European profile, the Escher Quartet continues to flourish in its home country, performing at Alice Tully Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington DC and the Ravinia and Caramoor festivals. In 2014, the quartet gave a highly praised debut at Chamber Music San Francisco and in 2015 returned to Music@Menlo in California, focussing on the quartets of Schubert. In the 12/13 season, the ensemble performed a critically acclaimed Britten Quartets series at The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and this season is one of five quartets chosen to collaborate in a complete presentation of Beethoven’s string quartets.

Elsewhere, the ensemble made its first Australian appearance at the Perth International Arts Festival in 2012, and last season made its debut at the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival. Return engagements took the quartet to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel and the Campos do Jordão Music Festival in Brazil for coaching activities. The quartet fervently supports the education of young musicians and frequently gives masterclasses, including regular coaching at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

In Spring 2015, the quartet released Volume 1 of the complete Mendelssohn Quartets on the BIS label, received warmly by critics with comments such as “This is full-blooded quartet playing in the grand, classic manner: extrovert and eloquent… hugely engaging music-making” (BBC Music Magazine) and “The Eschers sound warm, relaxed and responsive to all of Mendelssohn’s expressive nuances…” (The Guardian). The Mendelssohn series continues this season with the release of Volume 2. The quartet has also recorded the complete Zemlinsky String Quartets in 2 volumes, released on the Naxos label in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Their great critical acclaim included 5 stars in the Guardian with “Classical CD of the Year”, a Recommendation in The Strad, “Recording of the Month” on MusicWeb International and a nomination for a BBC Music Magazine Award.

The Escher Quartet takes its name from Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by Escher’s method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole. See less.