Love's Philosophy

through Songs and Keyboard Music of Mozart and Haydn

Friday April 3 @ 8:00 PM

"...standout was the soprano MeeAe Nam, whose voice, was the epitome of Mozartean elegance and lyricism…” ~New York Concerts Review

"...Bengtson’s playing throughout the duo selections is superb -- energetic, vibrant, technically impeccable, and in perfect coordination with his partner." ~Daniel Morrison, Fanfare

Soprano, MeeAe Nam, and fortepianist, Matthew Bengtson, present a journey of various stories and emotions experienced in love, intertwined with one’s life, that are vividly described through popular and also rarely heard vocal and keyboard music of Mozart and Haydn.
 
Dr. MeeAe Cecilia Nam, soprano, has received the following praise: “…whose voice is the epitome of Mozartean elegance and lyricism…” (New York Concerts Review), “…sings easy, flawlessly and effortlessly expressive” (the German Passauer Presse). She has appeared as guest artist with numerous ensemble groups and festivals in the U. S., Germany, Austria, Luxembroug, and S. Korea. Known for her musical versatility, sensitivity and genuine interpretation (the Denver Post), she has had a rich performance experience as a soloist in recitals, oratorios, sacred music, chamber and orchestral concerts, and stage works in major Cathedrals, concerts halls including Carnegie Hall, Meyerson Hall, Boetcher symphony hall and Ellie Caukins Opera House among many others.
 
She has performed and premiered music written for her, and participated in many artistic collaborations with current composers in their works, including Joseph Dorfman’s one act opera Shulamith (Colorado premier), Voice of River Han by David Mullikin, David Kirtley’s Haiku songs of Karigane, Tan Dun’s Silkroad, and James Mobberly’s Words of Love. Her performances of Georgy Kurtag’s Kafka Fragmente have received the acclaim “…Challenging music….Nam soared through it brilliantly, but brought that necessary degree of dramatic involvement as well … it was first-rate.”, by Colorado Rocky Mountain News.
 
In addition to her position as Professor of Voice at Eastern Michigan University, she has been on the faculty of the Church Music Association of America and at the Vianden International Summer Festival and School in Luxembourg. She has also been Guest Artist and Clinician at numerous institutions such as the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, the Korean National University of Arts in Seoul, the Seoul National University of Education, University of Colorado in Boulder, and University of Tennessee in Knoxville, among many others.
 
Dr. Nam has developed a well-deserved reputation as an important scholar of the rare French song literature of Théodore Gouvy (1819-1898). She has recorded a CD, Songs of Gouvy, for the Toccata Classics label and has also published a critical edition of Gouvy’s songs in two volumes with EC Schirmer in 2018. These two volumes are a unique and exclusive publication, and a valuable contribution to song literature. They are the result of her extensive scholarship and research in France, Germany, and the United States.
 
Critically acclaimed as a “musician’s pianist,” Matthew Bengtson has a unique combination of musical talents ranging from extraordinary pianist, to composer, analyst, and scholar of performance practice, and thus is in demand as both soloist and collaborator. An advocate of both contemporary and rarely performed music, he commands a diverse repertoire, ranging from William Byrd to György Ligeti and numerous contemporary composers. He is especially known as an outstanding interpreter of Scriabin and Szymanowski. He has performed concerts in France, Germany, Italy and Hungary, in Mexico, and at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. He has appeared with violinist Joshua Bell on NPR’s “Performance Today” and XM Satellite Radio’s “Classical Confidential.” His piano recordings can be heard on the Roméo, Albany, Navona, and Musica Omnia record labels.
 
An advocate of early keyboard instruments, Mr. Bengtson performs on harpsichord and fortepiano, both as a soloist and as a collaborator in the Ensemble Aurelio, the Sierra Duo, with Tempesta di Mare, and accompanying singers such as baritone Max von Egmond and sopranos Laurie Heimes and Julianne Baird. He performs on a copy of a 1785 Anton Walter fortepiano made by Gerard Tuinman in Utrecht. His recordings of the Charles West Wilson collection are available from Griffin Renaissance Records, and recordings on his fortepiano and harpsichord are available from Arabesque Recordings. His educational video on the fortepiano, popular on YouTube and MindTV, is a helpful introduction to the world of the Viennese 5-octave instrument. Mr. Bengtson teaches fortepiano at the University of Michigan and at UMEKI, an Early Keyboard Institute held annually in the summer. His students took the top two prizes at the inaugural “sfzp” International Fortepiano Competition in New York.
 
Mr. Bengtson is Assistant Professor of Piano Literature at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, where he teaches piano, fortepiano, and courses in piano repertoire, history and culture.