Joanna Kurkowicz & Gloria Chien

violin and piano

May 11, 2014, 4 PM

Music Room

Artist Images

Violinist Joanna Kurkowicz currently serves as concertmaster of the Boston Philharmonic and Berkshire Symphony. She enjoys an active career as an award-winning soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician, praised by Gramophone Magazine for her “disciplined virtuosity.” Kurkowicz‘s fluency and passion for new music has led her to premiere works by some of the most prominent composers today. Gloria Chien returns as pianist in a program entitled 'Voices of Eastern Europe.' 

Alfred Schnittke (1934–1998)
Suite in the Old Style

Witold Lutoslawski (1913–1994)
Partita for violin and piano


Vytautas Barkauskas (b.1931)
Partita for violin solo

Karol Szymanowski (1882–1937)
Sonata for violin and piano in D minor, Op.9

Praised in Gramophone Magazine for her “disciplined virtuosity,” violinist Joanna Kurkowicz enjoys an active and versatile career as an award-winning soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and concertmistress. She has performed on many of the great concert stages of the world, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall, Boston and the Grosse Saal, Salzburg, and has appeared as a soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, the Jefferson Symphony, the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the New England String Ensemble, the Berkshire Symphony, the Poznan Philharmonic, the Polish National Radio Orchestra in Katowice and Warsaw, and others. She has received awards from the Samuel Chester, Presser, Saint Botolph, Kosciuszko, and Olevsky Foundations, the Harvard Musical Association, the Irving McKlein International Competition, the Carmel and Coleman Chamber Music Competitions, and in Poland, the Henryk Wieniawski and Tadeusz Wronski International Competitions. She was recently a recipient of the New England Conservatory Outstanding Alumni Award.

Kurkowicz currently serves as concertmaster of the Boston Philharmonic and the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, and previously held the same post for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Vermont Symphony. She was a member of the acclaimed Metamorphosen and Orpheus Chamber Orchestras. Since 2011 she has served on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music. An avid and sought-after chamber musician, she has collaborated with such eminent artists as Jaime Laredo, Charles Treger, Laurence Lesser and James Buswell. She is a founding member and artistic advisor of the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston and the Plymouth Chamber Music Festival. As a guest artist, she has participated in the Mozarteum Festival in Salzburg, the Ravinia Festival, Barge Concert Series, the Asia Pacific Festival in Wellington, New Zealand, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, the EuroSilesia International Music Festival, the Warsaw Music Gardens Festival and the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society.

Kurkowicz is a strong advocate of contemporary music; she has premiered works by Gunther Schuller, Ralph Shapey, Poul Ruders, David Kechley and Grazyna Bacewicz. Her world premiere of Shirish Korde’s Violin Concerto with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra met with enthusiastic response. Subsequent performances in Europe and New Zealand were equally well received, and the United States premiere with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra was a highlight of the 2007/2008 concert season.

A native of Lublin, Poland, Joanna Kurkowicz earned a master of music degree with distinction from the Paderewski Conservatory of Music in Poznan, Poland, in the studio of Jadwiga Kaliszewska. She came to the United States in 1992 to complete a second master of music degree as a student and teaching assistant of Charles Treger at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Kurkowicz completed the prestigious artist diploma program at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Masuko Ushioda. Kurkowicz plays on a Petrus Guarnerius violin dated from 1699.

Picked by the Boston Globe as one of the Superior Pianists of the year, “… who appears to excel in everything,” pianist Gloria Chien made her orchestral debut at the age of 16 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Since then she has appeared as a soloist under the batons of Sergiu Comissiona, Keith Lockhart, Thomas Dausgaard, and Irwin Hoffman. She has presented recitals at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Jordan Hall, Harvard Musical Association, Caramoor Musical Festival, Verbier Musical Festival, Salle Cortot in Paris, and the National Concert Hall in Taiwan. An avid chamber musician, she has been the resident pianist with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston since 2000. She has recorded for Chandos Records, and recently released a CD with clarinetist Anthony McGill. In 2009 she launched String Theory, a chamber music series at the Hunter Museum of American Art in downtown Chattanooga, as its founder and artistic director and the following year was appointed Director of the Chamber Music Institute at the Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival. A native of Taiwan, Chien is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, where she was a student of Russell Sherman and Wha-Kyung Byun. She is an Associate Professor at Lee University in Cleveland, and is a member of Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society Two. Chien is a Steinway Artist.