Quatuor Hermès, Kerson Leong & Jonathan Fournel

string quartet, violin, and piano | Exhibition Concert

January 12, 2020, 4 PM

Music Room

In partnership with the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Brussels, we explore connections between music and the visual arts as part of the exhibition Bonnard To Vuillard, The Intimate Poetry of Everyday Life: The Nabi Collection of Vicki and Roger Sant. For Nabi painter Maurice Denis, music was central to his thinking about art, possessing a “lyricism that poets and artists strove to convey in their works.” Denis’s friendship with composers like Ernest Chausson led to lively exchanges about music’s fundamental relationship to painting. The conversation went both ways; Chausson’s Concert for violin, piano, and string quartet, performed on the program, evokes a painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an artist who was a major influence for the painters of the Nabi. The Hermès Quartet also performs Claude Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10, a masterpiece of light and shade and the dreamlike effect that was so valued by the Symbolists. Kerson Leong and Jonathan Fournel complete the program with the Légende Norvégienne by Eugène Ysaÿe, a recently discovered work by the violin virtuoso and composer who was a major figure in the cultural milieu of late-19th-century France.

This concert is presented in partnership with the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel.

PROGRAM:

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10

ERNEST CHAUSSON (1855-99)
Concert for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet in D Major, Op. 21

EUGÈNE YSAŸE (1858-1931)
Légende Norvégienne 

The luminous talent of the Hermès Quartet members has consistently brought acclaim. The Washington Post writes that it “will likely take its place among the top quartets of our time.” The Quartet’s far-reaching and flourishing career has taken it to the United States, Japan, Argentina, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates. Upcoming appearances include a concert at the Wigmore Hall in London.

Winner of the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Hermès Quartet made its acclaimed US debuts at the opening concerts of the YCA Series at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, and at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. Among its other numerous concerts throughout the US are recitals at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City, National Gallery of Art and Embassy Series in Washington, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Lied Center of Kansas, the University of Georgia, the Friends of Chamber Music in Texas, Iowa State University, University of Florida Performing Arts, Manhattan’s Peoples’ Symphony Concerts, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Schneider Concerts at The New School, Hayden’s Ferry Chamber Music Series, Wave Hill, and Stephens Performing Arts Center.

The Quartet has been awarded many prestigious prizes, including First Prize at the Geneva International Music Competition and the special “Coup de Coeur Breguet” prize, which brought a recording on the Ysaÿe Records/Nascor label, and First Prizes in the European Young Concert Artists Auditions in Leipzig, Germany; European Chamber Music Competition in Paris, and Lyon International Music Competition. It has been honored with the Helen F. Whitaker Chamber Music Chair of YCA and the Florence Gould Foundation
Fellowship, and served as Artist in Residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Brussels from 2012 to 2016. The Quartet's CD, Schumann’s 3 Quartets Op. 41, is garnering critical praise and prizes including Classica Magazine’s “Choc de l’année” and “Le Choix de France Musique.”

Currently based in Paris, the members of the Hermès Quartet met at the Lyon Conservatory and formed the ensemble under the tutelage of Zoltan Toth and Reiko Kitahama in 2008. They have worked with Alfred Brendel, the Artemis Quartet and the Ysaÿe Quartet. The Quartet receives support from France’s Banque Populaire and Singer-Polignac Foundations.

Kerson Leong first took the music world by storm in 2010 by winning the coveted Junior First Prize at the prestigious Menuhin Competition. Ever since, the young Canadian violinist has astonished and won over both fellow musicians and audiences alike the world over with his rare and innovative mastery of his instrument, his natural ability to convey the subtlest of emotions, and the colossal scope of his live performances. Having been called “Canada’s next great violinist” (Ludwig van Toronto), he has distinguished himself with his unique approach as one of the most brilliant musicians of his generation.

In the 2018/2019 season, Kerson is Artist-in-Residence with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montreal under Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Other highlights to look forward to this season include his debuts with the Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal, Liège Royal Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and London Symphonia.

Kerson has played in some of the most prestigious concert venues around the world from Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium and the Auditorium du Louvre to Wigmore Hall and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. He is in regular demand as a soloist, having performed with such ensembles as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National de Lorraine, the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra Gulbenkian, the Stockton Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, as well as numerous other orchestras in his home country.

Kerson is also an avid and passionate chamber musician. Since his debut at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Switzerland in 2011, he has been featured at many renowned international festivals and concert series, including the Verbier Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Fraenkische Musiktage, Flâneries musicales de Reims, Bergen International Festival, Trasimeno Music Festival, Schiermonnikoog Chamber Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Ottawa International Chamberfest, Music and Beyond, Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s Virée classique, and Domaine Forget International Music Festival among others.

Kerson released Bis, his first album for Analekta showcasing a collection of encore pieces, to critical acclaim.  He recorded John Rutter’s Visions with the composer himself and the Aurora Chamber Orchestra for Collegium Records, after giving its world premiere in London, UK.  He has also been invited by Canadian composer Francois Dompierre to record his piece, Les Diableries. Kerson can also be heard on CBC Television, CBC/Radio Canada, the BBC Radio 3, Radio France, Radio Television Suisse, American Public Media’s SymphonyCast, NRK, RAI, Deutschlandradio Kultur, and Czech Radio. He has been a recipient of many awards such as the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award (2015-2017) and the Young Soloist Prize 2015 by the Radios Francophone Publiques, as well as having received a Mentorship Award from the Lin Yao Ji Music Foundation of China for inspiring younger generations. He was named Revelation Radio-Canada 2014-2015 for classical music.

Since 2015, Kerson has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in Belgium, mentored by Augustin Dumay. Teaching is becoming a growing passion for Kerson, having given masterclasses and taught at various festivals and universities including the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the University of Ottawa, and Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He has always been keen on making connections between music and other fields. Ever since his dad started introducing him to physics concepts about string resonance, they have strongly influenced his playing and philosophy on sound production. Together with his dad, he has given lectures about this subject in places such as the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, the Barratt-Due Music Institute in Oslo, and various universities in California. Kerson performs on a 1741 Guarneri del Gesu courtesy of Canimex Inc, Drummondville (Quebec), Canada.

Jonathan Fournel is regularly invited to perform in festivals such as Les Concerts de Poche, Les folles journées de Nantes, La Roque d’Anthéron, the Lille Piano Festival, Le Terroir Wasseyen, Piano Campus, the Festival International de Colmar. He has performed in major concert venues including UNESCO (Paris), Salle Cortot (Paris), Salle Gaveau (Paris), Auditorium Stefan Zweig (Nantes), CAC (Forbach), the Gustav Mahler Auditorium (Milan), Sala Verdi (Milan), Teatro Communale di Modena, L’Arsenal (Metz), the Carlo Felice Theater (Genova), the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall, the Usher Hall (Edinburgh) and the Caird Hall (Dundee).

In 2011, he gave the world premiere performance of Nicolas Bacri’s Sonata No. 3 for Piano as a part of the Pianoscope festival in Beauvais.

At age 15, Jonathan performed with the orchestra of the Musikhochschule in Saarbrucken, Symphonistes Européens, and l’Orchestre Universitaire de Strasbourg. Since then he has performed regularly as a soloist with orchestras, recent collaborations including with the Donna Musica Orchestra, the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, l’Orchestre National de Lorraine, the Wallonie Royal Chamber Orchestra, the Filharmonia Podkarpacka, the Sinfonia Varsovia, the Czech Virtuosi Orchestra, the Zagreb Radio-Television Orchestra, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, the Zilina Chamber Orchestra, the Jiangsu Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He has worked with Franck Braley, Éric Darrigrand, Tobias Deutchmann, Pierre-Yves Gronier, Nicola Guliani, Jonathon Heyward, Lio Kuokman, Éric Lederhandler, Gergely Madaras, Jacques Mercier, Peter Oundjian, Wojciech Rajski, Simon Rigaudeau, Fan Tao, Mladen Tarbuk and Jean-François Verdier.

An avid chamber musician, Jonathan has collaborated with individuals including Gauthier Capuçon, Augustin Dumay, Victor Julien-Laférriere, Christine Lee, Chi Li, Régis Pasquier, David Petrlik and Vassilena Serafimova, and also with ensembles including Le trio les Esprits, the Varèse Quartet, the Hermès Quartet, the Akilone Quartet and the Modigliani Quartet.