Duo Recital: Presented by Joanne Wong & Shawn Neo

22 Nov 2017Wed
1hr 30mins (including a 15min intermission)
Esplanade Recital Studio
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Duo Recital is a collaboration between violinist, Joanne Wong and pianist, Shawn Neo. They will be performing a selection of beautiful classical works that are rarely showcased. These include Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dances No. 1 and 5 arranged by virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim, Aaron Copland’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, Edward Elgar’s Sonata in E minor for Violin and Piano and William Kroll’s Banjo and Fiddle. The works each have a distinctive history and through the music, the composers showcase a variety of influences and evoke a gamut of emotions.

The programme opens with the energetic Brahms’s Hungarian Dances no. 1 and 5. Brahms was inspired by gypsy music during the mid-19th century. After years of playing his Hungarian Dances for friends, Brahms decided to write them down and have them published. Following the Dances, Copland’s Sonata for Violin and Piano present inspirations from various styles including jazz, American folk music and folk styles from South America. He dedicated the work to his friend, Lieutenant Harry H. Dunham, who lost his life during World War II while on duty. The Sonata is free and expressive, encapsulating a simple optimism and beauty. Next, Elgar’s Violin Sonata was written after the First World War where Elgar had retired to a country cottage in Sussex. It was the last creative period of Elgar’s musical life. The violin sonata is dedicated to his family friend, Marie Joshua, who passed away just days after receiving it. The sonata begins in an agitated duet, which melts into contemplative lyricism, and finally bursts into an optimistic and dramatic fashion. The programme concludes with Kroll’s Banjo and Fiddle – a fun tune inspired by American folk fiddling. The violinist alternates between banjo-like plucking passages, ricochet bowing techniques at rapid speeds and lyrical passages.

The performers are excited to move home from their overseas studies and will be bringing their knowledge from their classical training with international artistes to the Singapore stage.

About the violinist: Joanne Wong
Violinist and teacher, Joanne graduated from New York University with Masters in Violin Performance and Bachelor’s in Violin Performance with Honours. She was a recipient of the Lawrence Ferrara Scholarship, NYU Steinhardt Scholarship and the NYU Steinhardt Departmental Orchestral Scholarship. In 2011, Joanne became a Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music in Violin Performance. In the same year, she performed at Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall) after winning the American Fine Arts Festival’s Golden Strings International Competition. She has performed in various countries including Singapore, Malaysia, China, Sweden, Italy and the USA.

About the pianist: Shawn Neo
A scholar with the Ministry of Education Singapore, Shawn graduated in 2016 with a Masters in Music in Piano Performance (Distinction) from the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), UK. In 2016, he also became a Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music in Piano Performance. Shawn graduated with a Bachelor in Music with First Class Honours from the King’s College of London in 2015. He emerged as top music student of his cohort and was awarded the Purcell Prize in recognition of his academic achievements.

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