Bessie Bartlett Frankel Chamber Music Festival Faculty Recital

The Scripps College Department of Music will host the Bessie Bartlett Frankel Chamber Music Festival, featuring Mei Duo with Dr. Hao Huang, piano, and Dr. Rachel Huang, violin, on Sunday, February 19 at 2 p.m. at Balch Auditorium, Scripps College. The program will feature Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 18 , by Richard Strauss and works inspired by Hungarian, Viennese, and Spanish folk dances. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please call the Scripps College Department of Music at (909) 621-8280.

German composer and conductor Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was hailed as a successor to the great composers of the romantic era. Throughout his youth, the accomplished pianist and violinist wrote numerous chamber pieces, including the Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 18, which was his last contribution to the genre. Heroic and celebratory themes alternate with moments of repose throughout the piece. The song-like middle movement, full of simplicity and grace, was originally published as a separate work. While the overall form of the piece is a sonata, the resulting work reflects Strauss’ interest in orchestra and is reminiscent of the artist’s symphonic poems, such as the Don Juan, Op. 20.

Nineteenth and twentieth-century composers created some of their most colorful compositions by interpreting folk dances. Mei Duo will perform a number of pieces inspired by folk songs of Europe, including Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, Bela Bartok’s First Rhapsody, a Viennese waltz by Fritz Kreisler, and Spanish dances by Claude Debussy, Pablo de Sarasate, and Manuel de Falla.

Winner of various prestigious international music awards including the Van Cliburn Piano Award at Interlochen, Dr. Hao Huang has gained acclaim in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Dr. Huang performed as a featured soloist at the George Enescu International Music Festival and the Barcelona Cultural Olympiad. He has also appeared with the Timisoara Philharmonic, the Brevard Music Center Orchestra, the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and more. A graduate of Harvard University, the Juilliard School, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, he is the chair of the Department of Music at Scripps College and head of piano faculty at Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Rachel Vetter Huang holds the rare distinction of being honored by both the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has received NEA grants towards production of chamber music festivals in New York and Colorado, and has enjoyed the privilege of being chosen to participate in an NEH Summer Seminar, the 1989 “JAZZ: A Comparative View” at Yale University, directed by John Szwed. Huang has been invited to make presentations on the topic of violin-piano duo repertoire as chamber music at state and national conventions of the Music Teachers National Association and the College Music Society. She has performed extensively on both coasts and in Asia, from Washington D.C.’s Coolidge Auditorium in the Library of Congress to Beijing Central Conservatory Hall. Dr. Huang holds degrees from Harvard University and the State University of New York, Stony Brook.