Lee News

String Theory to Open 2019-20 Series With “L’Histoire du Soldat”



String Theory, in partnership with Lee University and the Hunter Museum of American Art, will open its 2019-20 series with a performance of “L'Histoire du Soldat” by Igor Stravinsky. The concert will take place Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga.

String Theory was founded in 2009 by pianist and Artistic Director Gloria Chien with the mission of exposing new audiences to chamber music, invigorating the local classical music scene, and cultivating a future generation of music lovers.

Written for a narrator and septet ensemble, “L’Histoire du Soldat” retells a Faustian legend in which the hero sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for the promise of wisdom and good fortune. The quirky, witty, and rhythmically intricate score displays several influences such as Russian folk song, Romani fiddlers, klezmer music, the popular music of Spain, and the composer’s recent exposure to jazz.

Prior to the concert, Musical Dialogues will take place at 6 p.m., hosted by Robert Bernhardt, featuring in-depth conversations with the artists on their lives, inspirations, and the masterpiece being performed that evening.

The artists include Tom Van Dyck, bass; Ji Hye Jung, percussion; Alexi Kenney, violin; Peter Kolkay, bassoon; Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet; Brandon Ridenour, trumpet; Jeremy Wilson, trombone; and Bernhardt as narrator.

Van Dyck, an avid chamber musician and recipient of the Maurice Schwarz Prize at Tanglewood and the Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Prize, has played at the Mostly Mozart Festival, the New York City’s Town Hall, and at Carnegie Hall. He has been an artist-teacher of double bass at the Longy School of Music and guest teacher at the New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, and the Hartt School of Music.

Jung began concertizing in her native South Korea at the age of nine where she performed more than 100 concerts with every major orchestra in Korea. She received consecutive first prizes at the 2006 Linz International Marimba Competition and the 2007 Yale Gordon Concerto Competition. She has performed at Portugal’s Tomarimbando Festival, the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in Ireland, and the Grachtenfestival in Holland.

The recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Kenney has been named “a talent to watch” by the New York Times. Highlights of his 2018-19 season include debuts with the Omaha Symphony, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Asheville Symphony, and Wheeling Symphony. He has been profiled by Strings Magazine and the New York Times and has been featured on Performance Today, WQXR-NY’s Young Artists Showcase, and NPR’s From the Top.

Called “stunningly virtuosic” by The New York Times and “superb” by The Washington Post, Kolkay claimed First Prize at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition and was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2004. He actively engages with composers in the creation of new works and has performed the world premiere of Joan Tower’s bassoon concerto and Red Maple with the South Carolina Philharmonic.

Praised as “extraordinary” and “a formidable clarinetist” by The New York Times, de Guise-Langlois has appeared as soloist and chamber musician on major concert stages throughout Asia, Canada, Europe, and the United States. She is an alumnus of Ensemble Connect and The Bowers Program and is an assistant professor of clarinet at University of Massachusetts.

Ridenour won the 2006 International Trumpet Guild solo competition and the 2014 Concert Artist Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. He has performed concertos with the National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Indianapolis and Edmonton Symphony Orchestras. At the age of 20, Ridenour became the youngest member to join the iconic Canadian Brass, going on to record 10 albums and receive two Juno Award nominations with the group.

Wilson is an associate professor of trombone at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. He has performed hundreds of orchestral concerts in the U.S. and in 28 countries around the globe under some of the world’s leading conductors. At the age of 25, he won a prestigious position with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and its sister organization, the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera.

Bernhardt served as music director and conductor for 19 seasons with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera (CSO) and is the first to hold the title of music director emeritus of the CSO. He has also been principal pops conductor of the Louisville and Grand Rapids pops orchestras. Bernhardt joined Lee's School of Music in the spring of 2011 as conductor of the Lee Symphony Orchestra and is an artist-in-residence at the university.

Chien currently serves as the director of the Chamber Music Institute at Music@Menlo, the co-artistic director of the Lake Champlain Music Festival, and the co-artistic director of Chamber Music Northwest. She is an artist-in-residence at Lee University, as well as a Steinway Artist.

Individual concert tickets are $35 for Hunter members, $45 for non-members, $10 for students with a valid student ID, and $25 for groups of 20 or more people. Season subscriptions are available for $175 for Hunter members and $225 for non-members.

For more information on String Theory at the Hunter or to purchase tickets, call (423) 414-2525 or visit String Theory.
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