ARTISTRY & THE ARTIST:SEUNGHEE LEE. REVIEW by VINCENT NAUHEIMER

Artistry and the Artist by V. Nauheimer

Last night, Seunghee Lee opened Charles R. Hale’s 2018 series “Thoroughly New York.” She was an unequivocal success.  

Ms. Lee, a brilliant clarinetist, is a storyteller like Charles, who enhances story through musical performance.  Effectively handled, there is a synergy in which the narrative and the music become greater than the sum of their parts. What made this show different is that Ms. Lee was both the musician and the storyteller, engaging the audience with her humor, life experiences and carefully selected musical scores to punctuate each story. It made for a richly rewarding experience. 

Ms. Lee played her clarinet with ease and grace, but her performance went far beyond her immense musical skills. She shared an inspirational story of how she’d arrived at this time and place in her life and how she’d wrestled with her love for music and roles as a clarinetist, a mother and wife. At one point she described a moment in her life when in despair, she gave up her music, but turned it into a humorous moment by flashing a photo onto the screen of her clarinet, in her home, with a lampshade over it. Ms. Lee explained that even though she wasn’t actively using it at that point in her life she did not want to let it go. Clearly, the world is richer because Ms. Lee came back to her clarinet.

Ms. Lee opened her show with an Elgar piece that is very dear to her, Salut d’Amour Bravo, (Salute to Love) She explained how the piece was written for violin, but because of her love for the work, she became the first clarinetist to record it. It was a pattern that she would repeat often, which included producing a book containing sheet music for the clarinet called “Hidden Treasures.”

Ms. Lee also regaled us with tales of her love of golf even comparing it to music, noting that each discipline required,  “practice, practice, practice…” as well as finding a good teacher, having fun and developing a good rhythm and tempo. To punctuate the story, she played Gabriel Faure’s 1893 piece, Sicilienne, which she stated gave her a sense of freedom and wonder while she played golf.

As the evening progressed, it was clear that little held back Ms. Lee. When it came to performing and her love of her instrument…anything was possible. Nothing underscored that more than her two Puccini arias “O Mio Bambino Cara” from Gianna Schicchi and “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot. I’m an opera fan, but hearing these well known arias performed as clarinet solos was a richly rewarding experience. While Sunny performed, accompanied by pianist Evan Solomon, it would have been impossible not to hear Kathleen Battle or the great Pavarotti, whose signature song was Nessun Dorma, singing these arias.  Quite riveting. 

The most moving moment of the evening was Ms Lee’s tribute to her father, who was taken from her in a most unfortunate and untimely manner. To honor his life, which included introducing her to the clarinet, as well as instructing her, Ms. Lee performed her father’s favorite song, “Danny Boy.” The soul and emotion she put into the song was a magnificent tribute. The audience was on the edge of their seats, the emotion palpable.  

I’d never experienced a classically trained musician of Seunghee Lee’s talent, combine superior musicality and riveting storytelling. A novel concept, superbly crafted.  It was an exceptional evening and if this is a portent of things to come, I await the next performance in this series, “Thoroughly New York,” with great anticipation

Photos by Mitch Traphagen

ARTISTRY & THE ARTIST: SEUNGHEE “SUNNY” LEE, WEDNESDAY at THE CELL

 

Seunghee Lee, “Sunny”

TICKETS FOR SEUNGHEE LEE ON MAY 16  CLICK HERE.

“Now here is a talent…  who has as warm, silvery, and woody a tone as anyone could imagine with fast and keen finger work to match… amazing expressive capabilities… positively lovely” – Review by Allmusic.com

Seunghee Lee is a multi-faceted musician, international recording artist, and musical entrepreneur, Seunghee (Sunny) brings a vivacious energy, an exquisite elegance and extraordinary precision to all her endeavors. Ms. Lee has been recognized by the Clarinet Magazine as “an uncompromising soloist, destined to be an upcoming contender of top stature”.

Sunny’s 2017-2018 season included a tour of northern Italy performing the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, visiting professorship at Yale School of Music, and a Sold-Out debut recital at Carnegie Hall. An advocate for exploring new ideas, embracing all musical genres, one of the greatest highlights was her collaboration with DEEPAK CHOPRA on his new album & book: HOME: Where Everyone is Welcome, a collection of thirty-four original poems and twelve songs inspired by a diverse group of immigrants.

Click here to listen to Sunny performing “Gabriel’s Oboe” with composer Andrea Morricone, who is also the composer of the “Love Theme” from Cinema Paradiso, which you can hear Sunny perform here.

Join us for, “Artistry & the Artist, a great night of music and storytelling.  TICKETS FOR SEUNGHEE LEE ON MAY 16  CLICK HERE.

YURI JUAREZ’S AFROPERUANO BAND at THE CELL THEATRE: PHOTOS by VERA HOAR

Yuri Juarez’s Afroperuano Band, which includes pianist Renato Diz, drummer Hector Morales, bass guitarist Moto Fukushima, cajon Freddy Huevito Lobaton Beltran and vocalist Sofia Tosello, performed in brilliant fashion at the fourth in Charles R. Hale Productions’ series’, “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song.

Here are photos from the event that were taken by Vera Hoar.

Yuri Juarez and Sofia Tosello

Sofia Tosello

 

Renato Diz, Freddy Huevito Lobaton Beltran, Moto Fukushima, Yuri Juarez, Hector Morales

Charles R. Hale

Martha Pinson and Hector Morales

John Moran and Friends

Freddy Huevito Lobaton Beltran

Hector Morales and Moto Fukushima

Renato Diz

 

PIANO VIRTUSO HARRIET STUBBS at THE CELL by VINCENT NAUHEIMER

The following was written by Vincent Nauheimer:


In an ongoing effort to present multicultural artistry and international talent, Charles  R. Hale  Productions’ “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song” featured English pianist Harriet Stubbs at the Cell Theatre last Thursday. This was the third show of a six performance series.

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Ms. Stubbs, who was recognized as a child prodigy, has a well-deserved reputation and a lengthy repertoire of both individual and collaborative works. Her solo performance at the Cell Theatre last Thursday was at once riveting, nuanced and fresh, as she soared through four warhorses of the piano repertoire.

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Ms Stubbs opened the recital with the Bach-Busoni, Chaccone in D Minor. The Chaccone is regarded as one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s violin masterpieces;  Busoni’s piano transcription has long been recognized as a splendid interpretation of Bach’s work. Ms. Stubbs played this dramatic piece with the insight it deserves,  delighting the audience with her musicality and talent, accentuated by her intensity and expressiveness.

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Ms. Stubbs followed the Chaccone with Alexander Scriabin’s Sonata No. 2, Op 19, one of Scriabin’s most popular works. Scriabin’s sonatas are known as technically difficult works and Ms Stubbs was up to the task, bringing her vast technical skills to the piece, while capturing the very distinctive “voice” of Scriabin’s music.

Ms Stubbs final work of the first section of the program was Frederic Chopin’s Scherzo No. 2, which composer Robert Schumann compared to a Byronic poem, “so overflowing with tenderness, boldness, love and contempt.”  Ms. Stubbs successfully articulated the full range of Byron’s emotions.

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After a short intermission, Ms Stubbs performed the Dante Sonata/Fantasia Quasi Sonata by Franz Liszt. During the piece, commonly believed to be based on Dante’s Inferno, Ms. Stubbs took the audience on a musical journey, deftly navigating the works emotional highs and lows, which served to highlight her prolific talent. The rousing work induced a well deserved standing ovation from the audience.

Photos by Tom Myles and Mitch Traphagen

 

NEW YORKERS TOGETHER in STORY and SONG: NIAMH HYLAND and BAND RAISE the ROOF at THE CELL

The first Charles R. Hale Productions performance of six shows for the 2017 Spring / Summer season “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song” was an unqualified success with a sold-out house and an emotional, impassioned performance by Niamh Hyland and her band, featuring Ado Coker, Ron Negro, Traci Robinson-Greene, Danny Weller, Sybil Scoby and Shu Nakamura.

A glimpse of a remarkable, memorable evening at the cell. Photos by Mitch Traphagen

Niamh Hyland

Nick Garr welcomes the audience and introduces the band.

Niamh Hyland

Shu Nakamura

Shu Nakamura

Ron Negro

Ron Negro

Ado Coker

Ado Coker

Danny Weller

Danny Weller and Niamh Hyland

Traci Robinson-Greene and Sybil Scoby

Traci Robinson-Greene and Sybil Scoby

Niamh Hyland

Niamh Hyland

Closing the show on an amazing up note.

The performers at Niamh Hyland’s show at The Cell. From left: Ado Coker, Ron Negro, Traci Robinson-Greene, Danny Weller, Niamh, Sybil Scoby and Shu Nakamura.