American Composers Orchestra

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Leon Fleisher, photo credit: Christian Steiner

Leon Fleisher, piano

Renowned pianist and conductor LEON FLEISHER is a native of San Francisco, where he began his keyboard studies at 4 and gave his first public recital at 8. One year later he became a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel, who was his most important mentor both as a pianist and as a teacher. In 1944, at age 16, Mr. Fleisher made his debut with the New York Philharmonic under Pierre Monteux. He went on to become the first American to win the Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition in Belgium. Regular appearances with orchestra and in recital on the world's great concert stages followed. His celebrated collaboration with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra resulted in a series of recordings, among them the Beethoven and Brahms Piano Concertos, that have remained touchstones of the classical catalogue to this day.

Midway through the 1964-65 season, Mr. Fleisher's illustrious career was interrupted by the onset of a debilitating ailment affecting his right hand, later diagnosed as repetitive stress syndrome. During the intervening years, he devoted his musical career to work as a teacher, to conducting (which he has pursued actively since 1967) and, eventually, to the left hand alone piano literature. His performances and recordings of the repertoire for the left hand, beginning in the 1980's, won him immediate critical and popular acclaim, as well as two Grammy nominations for his Sony Classical recordings (both solo works for the left hand and the Ravel and Prokofiev Concertos). It was in 1995, at a concert with Cleveland Orchestra, that Mr. Fleisher was able to play the Mozart Concerto in A Major, K. 414 successfully with both hands again. He now performs both the left-hand repertoire and select works for two hands.

Over the past few seasons, Mr. Fleisher has performed the Brahms Piano Concerto No. I with the San Francisco Symphony, the Orchestre de Paris (under Carlo Maria Giulini) and the Berlin Staatsoper Orchestra (under Daniel Barenboim), among other orchestras. He has also continued to play the Mozart Concerto, K. 414 with such orchestras as the Boston Symphony, theChicago Symphony (at Ravinia) the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the New York Chamber Symphony and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (which he also conducted) and the Ravel Concerto for the Left Hand with the Toronto Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the BBC Symphony, and the Orchestra de Paris (as soloist on its European tour in the fall of 1997). His recitals, which in 1998-99 included appearances in Vienna and London (Wigmore Hall), combine two-hand and left-hand alone repertoire. He has also played chamber music at the Verbier and Santa Fe festivals.

Mr. Fleisher's reputation as a conductor was quickly established when he founded the Theater Chamber Players at the Kennedy Center in 1967 and became Music Director of the Annapolis Symphony in 1970. He made his New York conducting debut at the 1970 Mostly Mozart Festival and in 1973 became Associate Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony. Since that time, he has appeared as guest conductor with the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, among others. He conducted his first opera in Baltimore during the 1988?89 season. He also had a regular association with the New Japan Philharmonic as its Principal Guest Conductor, leading the orchestra in a series of concerts each season.

Holder of the Andrew W. Mellon Chair at the Peabody Conservatory of Music since 1959, Mr. Fleisher also serves on the faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. From 1986?1997, he was Artistic Director of the Tanglewood Music Center. Teaching activities have been an important element of his activities at the Aspen, Lucerne, Ravinia and Verbier festivals, among others. He has also given master classes at the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Paris Conservatory, the Ravel Academy at St. Jean de Luz, the Mishkenot in Jerusalem and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Leon Fleisher holds honorary doctorates from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Towson State University and the Cleveland Institute of Music, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1994 Musical America named him "Instrumentalist of the Year." He has also been the recipient of the Johns Hopkins University's President's Medal.

Jin Hi Kim, photo credit: Andrea Morrison

Jin Hi Kim, komungo

JIN HI KIM is highly acclaimed as both a komungo (a fourth century fretted board zither) virtuoso and for her cross-cultural compositions. She is active worldwide as one of the leading compositional voices of a new Generation East, which is rooted in a profound Korean history and evolving a distinctive Pan-Asian/American compositional approach. Kim's work celebrates the different energies of Buddhist and Confucian-influenced Korean court music and the spirit of vigorous Shamanistic folk music. Meanwhile, her works approach contemporary composition with a bilingual tongue, drawing on the most stimulating aspects of each of these cultures.

She has developed for twenty years a series of compositions, "Living Tones" -that each tone is alive, embodying its own individual shape, sound and subtext-and that have been presented at the Lincoln Center Festival, Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Juilliard School's Focus Festival '96, Carnegie Hall, Darmstadt Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, Festival Nieuwe Muziek, Institute for Contemporary Art (London) and the Asian Pacific Festival (New Zealand). Josef Woodard of the Los Angeles Times wrpte "This (Living Tones) is new music/world music at its finest, beyond political correctness, into the realm of the sublime, where words and cultural postures fall away."

She has pioneered a wide array of compositions for the komungo in combination which she has performed with the Kronos Quartet, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Xenakis Ensemble. She has co-developed the world's only electric komungo with Joseph Yanuziello in 1999. She also has co-created, with Alex Noyes, interactive pieces for electric komungo and the MIDI computer system, which have been presented at Smithsonian Freer Gallery in Washington DC and Asia Society in New York. Kim has performed extensively throughout the USA, Europe, Canada, South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Rusia at many international festivals both as a soloist and with leading improvisers such as Derek Bailey, Eugene Chadbourne, William Parker, James Newton, Oliver Lake, Peter Kowald, Evan Parker, Joelle Leandre, Hans Reichel, Elliott Sharp and Henry Kaiser. She also collaborated with virtuosos of the Indian sitar, Japanese koto, African drum and Australian didgeridoo on her "Komungo Around the World" CD project, which emphasizes an inclusiveness of ethnic influence in moving towards a blurring of global delineations. Peter Watrous of The New York Times wrote, "virtuoso, Jin Hi Kim promises thoughtful shimmering East-West amalgams in combinations that are both new and unlikely to be repeated."

Kim's widely acclaimed cross-cultural mask dance music theater, "Dragon Bond Rite" (1997), featured artists from Korea, Japan, India, Indonesia, Tuva and the U.S., and was presented at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Japan Society (New York) and at City Hall for The Festival of Asian Art in Hong Kong. Jospeh McLellan of The Washington Post wrote "[Dragon Bond Rite] cut across barriers of language, culture and tradition, touch us at deep, irrational levels, and result in a work that speaks to our common humanity."

The Asia Society commissioned a presented her work, "Garden of Venus", scored for Korean komungo and changoo, Chinese pipa, Japanese yokobue and Indonesian kinder and voice. It was co-presented by World Music Institute and Thomas Buckner's Interpreations, in association with the International Alliance for Women in Music in 1999. For the Millennium Celebration of Sacred Rhythm Festival in Bali, Indonesia, she made the compositional structure and directed "Golden Dragon Bond Rite" for Korean changoo and kwengar, Indian ghantam, Indonesian kendang and Senegalese djembay. The Jakarta Post wrote "One of the most fantastic performances during the festival was a jam session involving Indonesian and foreign artists led by Jin Hi Kim. Kim united all the melodies and sounds into a solid music composition that deserved a standing ovation from all of the audience".

Currently she is creating as new multi-media music ritual, "Touching the Moons", which was performed at the Kitchen in New York in May, 2000. The project utilized multi-media interactive live performances, both interweaving and juxtaposing newly developed Korean electric komungo and Indian performing art forms within the contact of 21st Century Western scientific knowledge and advanced art technology.

She received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, art International Inroads for Ford Foundation, Meet The Composer's Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, National Endowment for the Arts, Lincoln Center Commission, Kronos Quartet Commission, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, Korea Society Fund, Japan Society Commission, Asia Society Commission and Asian Cultural Council.

She has given lectures about Korean music and her compositional concept, Living Tones, at Wesleyan University, Cornell University, Yale University, Skidmore College, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Indiana University, Tufts University, Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Smith College, Stanford University, Hartwick College, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Drake University, American Museum of Natural History, New York, California Institute of the Arts, Cornish College, Calvin College, University of Dayton, Vassar College, Kent State University, University of Minnesota, Hemline University and many other universities and events in Japan, Korea and Europe. She has presented extensive radio broadcasts throughout North America including NPR, KPFA-FM, WNYC-FM, the Canadian Public Radio/TV stations and in Korea, Japan, Australia and Europe.

Born in Korea in 1957, Kim earned a BA degree in Korean traditional music at Seoul National University before coming to the US, and received an MFA in electronic music/composition at Mills College, CA. Jin Hi Kim has studied ten years of traditional music with National Living Treasures at the National Center for Korean traditional Performing Arts and with a noted ethnomusicologist at Seoul National university. She has written over 30 articles for Korea's largest music magazine, Eumak Dong-A which is published by Dong-A Daily News. These articles about American new music included reviews of concerts and festivals, interviews with and research of some of America's most significant composers including John Cage, Steve Reich, Philip lass and many others. These articles were the initial exposure to Korean audiences of contemporary musical ideas, concepts and composers from the United States.

Her article "Asia as Silent Soul in the West" was published by Asian American Renaissance for "Dancing Mosiac: A Pan-Asian Performance Showcase" Handbook, MN (1999); "Female Energy in Music" was published by Festival Nieuwe Muziek, The Netherlands (1998), Evterpe Magazine Sweden (1998), and Logos Blad Magazine, Belgium (1998); a biographical essay was published by the Society of Composers, Inc. (1998); "Asian Women in Music" was presented at the International

Symposium, Donne in Musica, Italy and published by IAWN Journal (1997); and "Panel Discussion on Asian Women in Music" was presented by the 18th Asian Composers League in the Philipines, and published by IAWN Journal (1997).



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