String Theory Opens Season with Menlo Family Tour: “What You Are to Me”

News, String Theory

String Theory at the Hunter, in partnership with Lee University and the Hunter Museum of American Art, will begin its 13th season on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 6 :30 p.m. with Menlo Family Tour: “What You Are to Me.” The concert will include the much-anticipated world premiere of Patrick Castillo’s Winter Light, performed by friends from Music@Menlo reunited with String Theory Artistic Director Gloria Chien.

“What a thrill it will be to be back together again for String Theory Season Thirteen, experiencing live music after a long and uncertain hiatus,” said Chien. “We made the best of our time apart, finding new ways to connect and share music virtually, but nothing beats live concerts.”

String Theory was founded in 2009 by Chien to expose new audiences to chamber music, invigorate the local classical music scene, and cultivate a future generation of music lovers.

The Menlo Family Tour includes violinists Kristin Lee and Sean Lee, cellist Dmitri Atapine, and pianists Hyeyon Park and Chien. The artists will perform Bohuslav Martinů’s Variations on a Theme of Rossini, the world-pre miere of contemporary composer Patrick Castillo’s Winter Light, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Suite for Two Violins, Cello, and Piano Left Hand. The concert is generously sponsored by Pinnacle Financial Partners.

Castillo’s Winter Light takes its title from Ingmar Berman’s 1963 film “Nattvardsgästerna” (“The Communicants”) and shares certain elements with Bergman’s Winter Light, including a hymn at its beginning, a parlando section, and a prevailing existential dread over an inevitable crisis.

Kristin Lee has performed concertos with orchestras throughout the United States and abroad, performing recitals at Ravinia’s Rising Stars Series, the Salon de Virtuosi at Steinway Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre in Paris, the Kumho Art Gallery in Korea, and throughout northern Italy. She has a vibrant career a s a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician and recently joined the faculty of University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Sean Lee’s performances have been described by the New York Times as “breathtakingly beautiful,” and he has received prizes in the Premio Paganini International Violin Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in Alice Tully Hall, as well as on tour at the LG Arts Center in Seoul, Korea, the St. Cecilia Music Center, and the Naumberg Bandshell in Central Park.

Atapine, described by Gramophone as a cellist “with brilliant technical chops,” has appeared as a soloist and recitalist at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Chicago Cultural Center, the National Auditorium of Spain, and Zankel and Weill halls at Carnegie Hall. His multiple awards include top prizes at the Carlos Prieto International, the Florian Ocampo, and the Llanes cello competitions, as well as the Plowman, New England, and the Premio Vittorio Gui chamber competitions.

Since making her orchestral debut at the age of nine with the Seoul Philharmonic, Park has achieved international acclaim with orchestras such as the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Chamber Orchestra of Belgium, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Tokyo. The youngest ever first prize winner of the ARD International Music Competition in Munich at the age of 17, she was also a recipient of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2011 and went on to receive the London Music Masters Award in 2012.

Chien is the co-artistic director of Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon, as well as the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont, along with her husband, Soo vin Kim. For the last decade, she was the director of the Chamber Music Institute at Music@Menlo. She frequently appears with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and is a Steinway Artist. She also serves as an artist-in-residence at Lee University.

At 6 p.m., prior to the concert, the musicians will hold “Musical Dialogue,” a conversation on their lives, inspirations, and the masterpieces being performed at the concert.

“What You Are to Me” will be available through WTCI-TV Channel 45 broadcast on November 20. It wil l also be presented at Apex Music in Reno, Nevada, and Emerald City Music in Seattle, Washington, where the musicians serve as artistic directors.

Tickets are on sale now through Oct. 19 and are $45 for general admission, $35 for Hunter members, $10 for students and music teachers, and $25 for groups of 20 or more. Season subscriptions are also available.

String Theory at the Hunter is dedicated to the health and safety of its members, guests, and the surrounding community. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, attendees must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the concert. Temperature checks will be taken for guests under age 12. Masks are also required, regardless of vaccination status, and social-distancing guidelines will be observed.

To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit

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