Swiss Music Night 2023

 

Confluence of Friendship 

10 Years Swiss Music Night in Taiwan 

The World-class Ensemble the «Festival Strings Lucerne» presents a fascinating program with distinguished soloists from Taiwan and Switzerland. 

The Swiss Music Night celebrates its 10th birthday. 10 years of vivd musical exchange between Switzerland and Taiwan must be celebrated with an exceptional festive program. 

The Festival Strings Lucerne is one of the worlds finest and most versatile ensemble with a long history of international success. Its artistic director violinist Daniel Dodds has Taiwanese roots in his family and in this program he joins with two distinguished taiwanese soloists Pi-Chin Chien, cello and Ching-Yun Hu, piano for the brilliant Concertino for Piano Trio and String Orchestra by Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959). All the composers in this program have a strong relationship with Switzerland. Martinu, who came in his late years to  Basel (Switzerland) and lived in a house of his patron Paul Sacher until his death wrote this enjoyable piece in Paris in 1933. After writing this piece he forgot about it and was finally remembered three years later, when conductor Paul Sacher premiered it in Switzerland with Swiss soloists.

 

In 1930 Sergej Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) bought some land near Lucerne and build a for his time very modern house in the Bauhaus style. From 1932 until 1939 he lived during the summers in Switzerland, which was his beloved retreat from his turbulent life. The Swiss Music Night 2023 starts with his charming first string quartet, which he composed still as a student and which stayed unfulfilled with only two movements. Nevertheless it already announces an exceptional talent. Also the Silhlouettes original for 2 violins and piano by late romantic Swiss composer Paul Juon (1872-1940) are an early composition, but show an upcoming mastership of melodic lines. Written still in a very romantic style, he creates a wonderful dialogue between the two solo violins and the piano, which was orchestrated for string orchestra by Swiss composer Fabian Müller.

 

The two Swiss composers Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) and Fabian Müller (*1964) share the same origin a small village of Lengnau in northeastern Switzerland. Ernest Bloch was inspired by the Swiss landscape in his early works. However, he found his very own style in the search for a Jewish musical language in works such as Bal Shem or Schelomo. Like Martinu he was fascinated by the genre of the Concerto Grosso and to translate this barock genre into the 20th Century. His fulminant first Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra and piano obbligato was written 1925 and culminates in  a grand fugue. Before this grand finale you will enjoy variations by Swiss Composer Fabian Müller about one of the most remarkable themes of  the western music history, the Spanish dance La Folia, which inspired numerous composers from Baroque until today.  

 

Swiss Music Night 2023 – The Artists

 

Daniel Dodds - violin (Switzerland)

Concerts have led Daniel Dodds to major classical music venues in all inhabited continents, as Artistic Director of Festival Strings Lucerne, as a soloist together with conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Oksana Lyniv, Alexander Briger and Stanley Dodds, and as a chamber musician, documented by numerous live radio and TV performances. The Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, the Sophia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the Australian World Orchestra and the Festival Strings Lucerne are amongst the orchestras with which Daniel Dodds has collaborated with as a soloist.

With his critically acclaimed solo CD “Time Transcending” released by Oehms Classics, Daniel Dodds shows that he knows no limits on the violin.

As Artistic Director of Festival Strings Lucerne, Daniel Dodds has expanded the Festival Strings Lucerne‘s repertoire to include exciting performances of works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Milhaud, Vasks and Gubaidulina, as well as commissioned works by Swiss composers. Enthusiastic responses from audiences the world over have led Daniel Dodds and the Festival Strings Lucerne to be invited as the first Swiss orchestra to perform at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, to inaugurate the Giovanni Arvedi Auditorium in Cremona, and to appear regularly at major music Festivals such as Lucerne Festival, Schleswig Holstein Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Musica Insieme Bologna and Hong Kong Music Festival. 

Daniel Dodds appears regularly as concertmaster of the Australian World Orchestra, working together with acclaimed conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Sir Simon Rattle and Simone Young, and appearances as guest concertmaster include concerts with Camerata Salzburg and Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

Daniel Dodds has a violin class at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. 

Born in Australia to Australian Chinese parents, Daniel Dodds started playing violin at the age of five with Alita Larsens. He completed his violin studies with Gunars Larsens in Lucerne, Switzerland as well as Keiko Wataya in Utrecht, Holland. Daniel Dodds gained further guidance and inspiration from personalities such as Rudolf Baumgartner, Franco Gulli and Nathan Milstein, who, upon hearing Daniel Dodds rendition of a Paganini Caprice, remarked: “Who is this violinist, he could truly be Paganini‘s Grandson!”

Daniel Dodds performs on the “ex Hämmerle – ex Baumgartner” 1717 Stradivarius, kindly loaned by the Festival Strings Lucerne foundation.

Pi-Chin Chien 簡碧青 - cello (Switzerland-Taiwan)

Pi-Chin Chien is a sought-after, internationally active soloist and chamber musician. She has performed in major concert venues around the world, including New York's Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Konzerthaus Berlin, Berlin Philharmonic and Tonhalle Zurich. She appears as a soloist on recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra London and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra under the direction of David Zinman, Ruben Gazarian and Wen-Pin Chien. 

Pi-Chin Chien has performed and recorded world premieres of a number of violoncello concertos and chamber music works, including several compositions dedicated to her.

In 2015, Pi-Chin enjoyed great success with “Taiwan Rhapsody”, an album of romantic-symphonic rhapsodies for violoncello and orchestra based on folksongs of her native Taiwan, written by her husband, the Swiss composer Fabian Müller and released on the Sony Classical label. On this recording she is accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London under the direction of Wen-Pin Chien. In January 2015, Pi-Chin premiered “Taiwan Rhapsody” together with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan. Further performances took part in 2017/18 concert season in Germany, including the Berlin Philharmonic, and in 2019 in the National Concert Hall.

Pi-Chin Chien is a champion of works by lesser known composers. In the 90ties Pi-Chin Chien contributed significantly to the rediscovery of the late romantic Swiss composer Paul Juon with numerous concerts of his chamber music and first recordings of his cello concerto "Mysterien", the Triple Concerto "Epidodes Concertantes" and his cello sonata.

In 2016, the Triple Concerto was first performed in Asia at the National Concert Hall in Taipei. Together with Willi Zimmermann, violin and Pi-Hsien Chen, piano, she played the work accompanied by the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra NTSO under the direction of Kaspar Zehnder.

She performed at the Kaiser-Otto Medal award ceremony in honor of the late former German President Richard von Weizsäcker, and twice (1998 and 2016) at the renowned concert series at Taiwan’s Presidential Office on invitation of the President of Taiwan. 

A native of Taiwan, Pi-Chin Chien studied with Markus Stocker, Claude Starck, Marek Jerie and Stanislaw Apolin in Zurich, Lucerne and Prague, graduating with a soloist’s diploma with distinction. She received further artistic impulses in masterclasses with Pierre Fournier, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Daniil Shafran and Arto Noras. Pi-Chin Chien has won numerous awards at national and international music competitions.

Pi-Chin Chien is the artistic director of the "Swiss Music Night" concert series in Taiwan and of the "Confluence" Music Festival in Zurich. www.pichin.net

 

Ching-Yun Hu 胡瀞云 - piano (USA - Taiwan)

Hailed by Philadelphia Inquirer as “first class talent” and International Piano Magazine (London) claims that “praises follow her around the world“, Taiwanese-American pianist, Ching-Yun Hu, is recognized and acclaimed worldwide for her dazzling technique, deeply probing musicality, and directly communicative performance style. Her distinguished and multi-facet concert career has taken her to five continents after winning the top prizes at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Israel and the Concerts Artists Guild Competition.

Hu made her concerto debut at the age 13 on a tour in Japan and Taiwan. She made her Aspen Music Festival debut at age 16, playing Prokofiev Concerto No. 3. A year later, she performed Grieg Piano Concerto to a sold-out house at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia with the Philadelphia Orchestra. After her successful Lincoln Center recital debut at Alice Tully Hall in 2007, she has continued to perform at prestigious concert halls and music festivals across the globe.

Hu offers eclectic programming each season, ranging from standard repertoire to world premieres. Besides regularly performing piano concerto of Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, she gave the world premiere of “The Red Cliff” piano concerto by Yiu-Kwong Chung, with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center (2016). This performance was followed by the concerto’s Asia Premiere at the National Concert Hall in Taipei with Chung himself conducting (2019). For Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, she performs the complete Beethoven Piano Concerti on tour in China and Colombia in 2020-2021 season.

Considered a star pianist in Asia, Hu curates an ambitious recital project titled “Ching-Yun’s Four Classical Seasons”, performing four distinctive recital programs throughout 2020 that covers over 30 cities worldwide. She received a Classical Post Award for the “Most Innovative Instrumentalist” in the piano category (2018) for her innovative and entrepreneurial projects.

As an award-winning recording artist, her debut album “Ching-Yun Hu plays Chopin” (ArchiMusic) won the Best Classical Album of the Year by the prestigious Golden Melody Award. Her recordings by CAG Records and BMop Sound received critical acclaims. Her latest album, “Ching-Yun Hu: Rachmaninoff”, released in 2019, received “Five stars” by the Pianist Magazine in London and was called “essential listening for Rachmaninoff admirers“. The latest recording is now available worldwide digitally on Naxos and Centaur Records.

As a passionate educator and keen advocator of classical music, she founded the Yun International Music Festival in Taipei and the PYPA Piano Festival in Philadelphia, which is a highly-sought summer piano festival encompassing intensive recitals, master classes and guest lecture series. She is invited to give master classes and artist residences at universities and music festivals worldwide.

Hu moved to the U.S. at the age of 14 to continue her musical studies at The Juilliard School, studying with Herbert Stessin. She went on to work with Sergei Babayan at the Cleveland Institute of Music and with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling in Hannover, Germany. Besides her busy performing schedule, she is an artist in residence and piano faculty at the Temple University in Philadelphia. Ching-Yun Hu is a Steinway Artist. www.chingyunhu.com

 

Festival Strings Lucerne (Switzerland)

The Lucerne Festival Strings have been one of the «most distinguished chamber orchestras in Europe»¹ and have ranked for more 60 years now as the leading chamber orchestra of Central Switzerland. The Australian-Swiss violinist Daniel Dodds has been artistic director and leader of the orchestra since 2012.

The very busy Lucerne Festival Strings offers a deliberately wide-ranging repertoire in its own concert series at the Lucerne KKL, as guest ensemble at the Lucerne Festival, in the recording studio and on tour. Since its foundation in 1956, it has premiered more than one hundred works, compositions by Jean Françaix, Frank Martin, Bohuslav Martinu, Sándor Veress, Iannis Xenakis, Krzysztof Penderecki, Klaus Huber and Peter Ruzicka among them.

For more than forty years, from the ensemble's establishment, Rudolf Baumgartner played a role as a performing artist and in due course as conductor and artistic director of the «Strings», as citizens of Lucerne affectionately refer to the orchestra with its basic core of twenty one musicians. Apart from Baumgartner, formative influence derived from his fellow-founder, the legendary Viennese violinist Wolfgang Schneiderhan and the master pupils of his who originally joined him in the violin section; they were oriented towards the Austro-Hungarian string tradition and its special «golden sound».² 

The core consisting of sixteen to seventeen string soloists and a harpsichordist can be expanded depending on requirements, so that the ensemble can perform as an approximately 25-strong chamber orchestra or, for symphonic repertoire, as an up to 60-strong «real top-ranking orchestra».³  In smaller chamber groupings, the Festival Strings Lucerne Chamber Players also have their place in the concert schedule.

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Artistic direction „Swiss Music Night“

Pi-Chin Chien & Fabian Müller

© by Swiss Music Night in Taiwan