TACOMA, Wash. — Puget Sound School of Music student and pianist Jinshil Yi ’14 was left “absolutely speechless” the first time she sat down and played with freshmen Faithlina Chan ’16 (cello) and Jonathan Mei ’16 (violin).
“We sight-read through an entire 30-page Mendelssohn movement without stopping once,” Yi said. “Of course it wasn’t perfect, refined, or flawless—but the flow, the magic, the consonance was there. I knew, in those 11 minutes, that I had met the perfect piano trio, here at Puget Sound.”
Trio Consonare was formed, and within a few short months the three students got big news. They had been chosen to perform in the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Festival in San Francisco. The Jan. 29–Feb. 3, 2013, festival at San Francisco State University has attracted high-caliber performers and faculty members from The Julliard School of Music in New York, as well as from schools in Toronto, Canada, and London, England. An undergraduate student trio is far from the festival’s normal stage fare.
“This is an indescribable honor,” Yi said. “It is an exceedingly rare privilege and opportunity to be able to attend and learn from some of the greatest masters in the world.”
The impetus behind the trio’s formation and their coaching came from Puget Sound artist-in-residence David Requiro. Requiro, a Naumburg prize- and Irving M. Klein International String Competition-winning cellist, has also been invited to play and teach at the festival.
For their performance Chan, Mei, and Yi will play the Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 1 in d minor, as well as a second work, possibly from Beethoven, Shubert, or Haydn.
Faithlina Chan, from Danville, Calif., says she first took up cello when her two older siblings inspired her to join them in their musical practice.
“Now I just love the sound of the cello and enjoy the variety and depth of the instrument,” she said.
Jonathan Mei, from Oakland, Calif., said his first exposure to the violin was at about age 8, during a Balkan music festival, deep in the Mendocino redwoods. A year later his family returned to the festival, and this time he begged his mother for a violin. He got one but his lessons were in the classical, not traditional Balkan, style.
“I hope to eventually return to the Balkan festival and revisit the now unfamiliar music that captivated me as a child,” he said.
Jinshil Yi, a politics and government major who has lived around the world, most recently in University Place, became fascinated by the piano when she was a child in church. Her first teacher, a Tokyo Symphony Orchestra conductor, quickly ditched her beginner’s piano book, and by the age of 11, Jinshil became the youngest full-time contract pianist at her church in Bad Kreuznach, Germany.
“Piano has always been a treasured part of my life, and coming here to Puget Sound, it has been a privilege and joy to work with Dr. Duane Hulbert (chair of piano),” she said. “Preparing for this festival will probably consume my winter break, but it will be worth every hour of labor, painstaking study, and diligent practice that goes into it.”
The Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Festival is sponsored by the May T. Morrison Chamber Music Center. It was launched in 2003 to honor the late American violinist’s association with San Francisco, the city where he first performed solo violin at age 7, and with San Francisco State University. It has been widely reported that Menuhin’s genius was such that after he gave a performance at age 13 in Berlin, Albert Einstein came up and declared, “Now I know there is a God in heaven.”
Press photos of the Trio Consonare can be downloaded from: www.pugetsound.edu/pressphotos
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