On Thursday, June 28, as part of the week’s Chopin Festival in Miami, Kyung Wha Chung came from Seoul, Korea, to perform a recital with pianist Kevin Kenner at the Frost School of Music. As a student at Juilliard, Chung studied with the legendary Ivan Galamian and later with Joseph Szigeti. She was considered one of the world’s greatest violinists, who performed and recorded with many major pianists and conductors, until her concert career was interrupted for several years by an injury.
Thursday’s program began with the Fauré Violin Sonata in A Major, Opus 13. The beautiful performance and collaboration with Kenner reminded of what a great violinist she is. The first half ended with Kenner playing his reconstruction of Chopin’s Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 68, No. 4 and the Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52, in which his wide range of sonority and fluid technique demonstrated why he had been chosen to be awarded First Prize in the 1990 Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
After intermission, Chung and Kenner collaborated in a mesmerizing and captivating performance of César Franck’s great Violin Sonata in A Major. Not only was her mastery and beautiful warm sound from her Stradivarius memorable, but her utterly charming stage demeanor won our hearts. Kenner, with whom Chung has had a long-term music relationship, was an ideal partner for the highly demanding piano part.
The standing, cheering audience was rewarded with two encores: Rachmaninoff’s Vocalize and Debussy’s Beau Soir.
Among one of the previous Chopin Festival Concerts, 17-year-old Chelsea Guo from the Juilliard Pre-College Program, gave a beautiful performance of Chopin’s Funeral March Sonata. It will be interesting to follow her career.