Sue-mi Shin, Christina Mok, Adelle-Aikko Kearns & Chad Kaltinger
The Monterey County Symphony continued its series of chamber concerts yesterday with two programs featuring a group of its principals performing a concert at 1 pm (free to faculty and students) and a second program at 7:30 pm (open to the general public). These concerts took place in the California State University – Monterey Bay Music Hall, and both were preceded by a brief pre-concert lecture by Dr. Todd Samra.
Although Concertmaster Christina Mok has had a high visibility in Monterey Symphony concerts, the concert I heard last night was my introduction to the other three players: violinist Sue-mi Shin, cellist Adelle-Aikko Kearns and violist Chad Kaltinger. These fine musicians play extremely well together and in the process introduced us to two works unknown to most audiences — Zoltán Kodály’s Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7, and Ernő Dohnányi’s Serenade in C for String Trio. Not to deny us at least one work solidly in our comfort zone, the musicians ended the evening’s concert with the more familiar String Quartet No. 12 “American” by Antonin Dvorák.
Ms. Mok put this program together to feature masterpieces from Eastern Europe, and succeeded in treating us to some exotic sounds plus an exciting blend of virtuosity and superb ensemble playing. Each of the players had an opportunity to step into the limelight to dazzle us as a soloist, but also displayed the skill to recede into into the background when the music called for it.
Ms. Mok’s playing is well known to us from previous concerts, but in the Adagio movement of the Kodály we were introduced to some beautifully sensuous cello playing by cellist Kearns. In the second movement Romanza of the Dohnányi Serenade, we heard a lovely viola solo by Kaltinger accompanied by pizzicato effects by Mok and Kearns. Also in the Dohnányi was the fabulous fourth movement Theme & Variations, which made a powerful effect. Ending the concert with the Dvorák Quartet, the players pulled out all the stops and wowed us with beautiful sounds, lovely melodies and lots of visceral excitement.
Although it was a small audience that managed to navigate through the lonely CSUMB campus and find its way to the Music Hall, there were on hand some distinguished guests: Music Director & Conductor of the Monterey Symphony Max Bragado-Darman, Monterey Symphony President of the Board Lee Rosen and his wife Shirley, Co-Presidents of the Carmel Music Society Anne & Peter Thorp, and CSUMB faculty members Professor Richard Bains and newest member of the Performing Arts faculty, Dr. Enrique Rios-Ellis and his wife, Dr. Britt Rios-Ellis, founding Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services at CSUMB! .