In Mo Yang




October 23, 2016, 4pm

In Mo Yang, violin
Renana Gutman, piano

"One of the new generation’s most talented young string virtuosi" (The Violin Channel), Korean violinist In Mo Yang is the First Prize Winner of the 2014 CAG Competition. In March 2015 he earned First Prize at the 54th Int’l Violin Competition "Premio Paganini" in Genoa, Italy, the first time since 2006 that the jury has awarded the First Prize.


Artist Website:

Violin Sonata No.1 in G minor, BWV 1001                      J.S. BACH
     Adagio                                                                        (1685-1750)
     Fuga (Allegro)

Violin Sonata                                                            LEOS JANACEK
     Con moto                                                                    (1854-1928)
     Ballada. Con moto




Three Paganini Caprices, Op. 40               KAROL SZYMANOWSKI
     No. 1, in D Major                                                          (1882-1937)
     No. 2, in A Major
     No. 3, in A minor

Violin Sonata in F Major (1838)                    FELIX MENDELSSOHN
     Allegro vivace                                                              (1809-1847)
     Assai vivace

In Mo Yang is First Prize Winner of the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition
and appears by special arrangement with CAG.

Program Subject to Change



Program Notes

Michael Lebovitch

J.S. BACH                                                        Violin Sonata No.1 in G minor, BWV 1001

Bach completed the set of Partitas and Sonatas for solo violin in 1720.  The 35-year-old composer was in the service at the court of Cothen (1717 – 1723) where he was able to concentrate on secular music and where he had 17 capable instrumentalists at his disposal.  Bach was an excellent violinist, and often lead his orchestra with violin (or viola) in hand, but he hardly was sufficiently proficient to perform his own works.  While revolutionary in so many ways, his choices of musical style were conservative, backward looking.  While at the court, audiences were looking for Minuets, he was writing Allemandes and Sarabandes.  Many prominent violinists acquired hand-produced copies of these works, more as pedagogical tools and for their use as musical exercises.  The first complete publication of these solo violin masterpieces did not occur until 1843.  Today they are a permanent staple of every violinist’s repertoire and are often performed on stage and on recordings.

First in the set, the G minor Sonata No. 1 starts with an Adagio – a broad, richly ornamented melody supported occasionally by chords.  The Second movement is a Fugue.  The subject is brief and precise, and is often punctuated by chords.  The movement contains many broken chords, and open strings are used to create an illusion of pedal points.  At the climax toward the end, the subject theme appears in the bass line with chords piled on top.  The movement concludes by a brilliant coda (Bach loved this Fugue – he made two transcriptions of it:  one for the organ and another for a lute).  The Third movement is a Siciliana – a leisurely dialogue between the low G string and the three upper strings.  The Finale is brilliant and entirely homophonic whose whirlwind motion brings the sonata to its breathless conclusion.


LEOS JANACEK                                           Violin Sonata

In 1880, while still a student, Janacek wrote two violin sonatas, but, like many of his earlier compositions, they have disappeared (likely destroyed by the composer himself).  The sole surviving sonata for a violin is a work of his full maturity, dating in its original form from 1914 (his sixtieth year), but not reaching its final shape until 1921. 

The First movement follows the pattern of a sonata form with a conventional repeat in the exposition section of the movement.  The two themes are very similar, almost can be regarded as an extension of each other.  The development section of the movement is devoted to a rhapsodic treatment of a motif derived for the second theme.  The Second movement is a Ballade which is a slow rondo, with its refrain a folk-like tune.  The Third movement is a scherzo, with repetitive and even more folk-like melody played by the piano with scurrying interjections from the violin.  The Trio section is lyrical and dreamy.  The Finale is again in a sonata form, with repeated exposition section.  Here, the two themes are well differentiated:  the first a somber, curving melody played on the piano, while the second, is a shapely tune.  In the development section, Janacek uses the first theme to build to a powerful climax, with tremolo patterns high up on the piano (representing, per Janacek, “the Russian armies entering Hungary”).  The work ends with a disillusioned epilogue based on elements of the first theme.


KAROL SZYMANOWSKI                       Three Paganini Caprices, Op. 40

Three Paganini Caprices op. 40 were written in the winter and spring of 1918 in Elisavetgrad, at the time of the centenary celebration of the publication of the original Paganini composition.  The Paganini cycle had inspired many composers; one need only mention the bravura piano works by Liszt, Brahms and, closer to our times, Lutoslawski and Rachmaninov.  Szymanowski’s aspirations were more modest: he needed a repertoire for the concerts he gave with violinists who were his friends.

Op. 40 is a combination of modified versions of the original Paganini works with new independent piano parts.  Thus he wrote a free paraphrase of three caprices: No. 20 in D minor, No. 21 in A minor, and the most famous one in the cycle, the theme with variations No. 24 in A minor. The presence of the piano provided Paganini’s works with “harmonization”, which obviously changed the character of the music while preserving the unabashed virtuosity of the violin part.

Szymanowski had rented an apartment in Vienna before World War I, but had found Viennese cultural life enclosed and stifling.  The emergence of Paganini in waltz form here, sometimes dripping with sentimentality, may be an ironic comment on Vienna, or on Paganini, or on both.


FELIX MENDELSSOHN                           Violin Sonata in F Major

In 1838, 29-year-old Felix Mendelssohn was at the peak of his fame and prominence as a conductor, composer, and pianist. As music director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus since 1835, he had built the resident orchestra into one of Europe's most prestigious ensembles and persuaded the renowned virtuoso Ferdinand David to serve as its concertmaster. In addition to conducting the orchestra's regular season of 20 subscription programs, Mendelssohn organized a series of popular chamber music concerts at the Gewandhaus, for which he wrote a number of pieces, including the F-Major Violin Sonata.

The first draft of the Violin Sonata is dated June 15, 1838, which suggests that Mendelssohn intended to introduce it in Leipzig with Ferdinand David the following winter. Instead, unhappy with the first movement, he tossed his "wretched sonata" aside. He later picked it up and started to revise the score, only to abandon it again. Mendelssohn's dissatisfaction, and David's understandable reluctance to add the problematic work to his repertoire, helps explain why the F-Major Sonata remained unpublished and virtually unknown until Yehudi Menuhin came across the manuscript in 1953. Since then, this bracingly virtuosic work has enjoyed a new lease on life, taking its rightful place alongside Mendelssohn's Violin Sonata in F Minor, Op. 4, of 1825 and his two cello sonatas.

Mendelssohn was an accomplished violinist, as his confident and idiomatic writing for the instrument attests. The opening Allegro vivace combines two basic ideas: a briskly striding four-note theme in dotted rhythm that surges higher and higher, and a smoother, more lyrical version moving in the opposite direction. The music bears Mendelssohn's fingerprints in its almost reckless melodic facility, transparency of texture, and subtle chromatic inflections. In the Second movement, the songlike Adagio in A major is by turns sweetly introspective and excitedly lyrical, with violin and piano sharing the thematic material on equal terms. The Finale Assai vivace flies like the wind, a rushing torrent of 16th notes that flirts with seriousness but remains resolutely playful.


About the Artists

In Mo Yang, violin

Korean violinist In Mo Yang, First Prize Winner of the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition, has been hailed by the Boston Globe for his "...seamless technique and a tender warmth of tone," combined with " ability to project an engaging sense of inner sincerity through his playing."

In March 2015, he won the 54th International Violin Competition "Premio Paganini" in Genoa, Italy, marking the first time since 2006 that the Paganini Competition jury has awarded the First Prize. He also garnered the following special prizes: Youngest finalist; Best performance of the contemporary original piece; and Performance most appreciated by the audience, confirming The Violin Channel’s praise of In Mo as "one of the new generation’s most talented young string virtuosi."

These impressive First Prize honors have resulted in numerous performance prizes for In Mo with prestigious orchestras and at renowned recital venues worldwide, including his recent Carnegie Hall recital debut at Weill Recital Hall (read New York Times review), a concerto engagement with the Danish National Symphony conducted by Fabio Luisi, and a special recital in Genoa using Paganini’s own Guarneri Del Gesu violin, among many others.

Born in Asia to a Korean family in 1995, In Mo Yang gave his debut recital at age 11 on the Ewon Prodigy Series in Seoul, followed by his concerto debut at age 15 with the KBS Symphony Orchestra. He graduated from the Korean National Institute for the Gifted in Arts in February 2011 and was then admitted into the Korean National University of Arts as a prodigy in music. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at New England Conservatory, where he studies with Miriam Fried as a recipient of the Laurence Lesser Presidential Scholarship.

In Mo plays on an Antonio Stradivari violin (composite c.1705/1718), courtesy of an anonymous donor, with a loan generously arranged by Reuning & Sons, Boston.

Renana Gutman, pianist

Praised by the New York Sun for playing “with great vigor and aplomb” and for the “true poetry in her phrasing”, Renana Gutman has performed across three continents as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and collaborative artist.

A top prize winner at Los Angeles Liszt competition, International Keyboard Festival in New York, and Tel-Hai Internationl Master Classes, she has performed with orchestras including Jerusalem Symphony, Haifa Symphony, Belgian “I Fiamminghi”, Mannes College Orchestra.

An earnest student of Beethoven’s music, she was one of four young pianists selected by the renowned Leon Fleisher to participate in his workshop on Beethoven piano sonatas hosted by Carnegie Hall where she presented performances of “Hammerklavier” and “Appassionata” to critical acclaim. Her new recording of Chopin etudes op.25 will be released in 2015.

Renana spent summers at the Marlboro and Ravinia Music Festivals where she collaborated with Richard Goode, Mitsuko Uchida, members of the Guarneri quartet and clarinetist Anthony McGill. She toured with “Musicians from Marlboro” in series like People’s Symphony Concerts (NY), Gardener Museum (Boston) and Freer Gallery (Washington).

High in demand as a chamber musician, Renana serves as the staff collaborative pianist of Steans Institute at Ravinia Festival, where she performs chamber music and lieder extensively. Highlights from 2014 concert season included collaborations with violinist Miriam Fried, violinist/violist Paul Biss, and a world premiere by composer Paul Schoenfield.

Last seasons, Renana performed solo and chamber music concerts at St. Petersburg’s Philharmonia (Russia), Stresa Music Festival (Italy), Carnegie’s Weill Hall and Rockefeller University (NY), Ravinia Rising Stars and Dame Myra Hess (Chicago), Jordan Hall (Boston), Herbst Theatre (St. Francisco), Marlboro (VT), Washington National Gallery. She tours regularly with violinist Dan Zhu.

As a former member of the piano trio “Terzetto”, Renana won first Prize at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition in Ohio, performed Beethoven Triple Concerto with Lansing Symphony. The trio was featured at “Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival”, the Banff Center, Canada, Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival, North Carolina and Saugatuck Music Festival, Michigan.        

From 2008-2010 Renana had been on the piano faculty of the Yehudi Menuhin Music School in the UK, as an assistant of prof. Marcel Baudet. She currently teaches at 92nd Street Y, and Bard College Preparatory in NY.

A native of Israel, she started piano playing at the age of six. Soon after, she garnered multiple awards and honors, and became a recipient of America Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship with distinction from 1992-2004, and later on of Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women Scholarship.

Her most influential teachers were pianists Natasha Tadson and Victor Derevianko in Israel, and Richard Goode at Mannes College of Music in New York where she completed her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. Her musicianship teacher was the established Israeli composer Arie Shapira.