The Cameron University Department of Music will present piano virtuosos Thomas Labé and Hyunsoon Whang in concert on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the McCutcheon Recital Hall. The recital will provide a rare opportunity showcasing Labé and Whang in performance together. Proceeds from the recital will be used for Cameron University Department of Music scholarships. Tickets are $20 per person. Additional donations to the scholarship fund will be accepted. A reception honoring Drs. Labé and Whang will follow the recital. Limited seating is available and advance reservations are recommended. To reserve seats, call the Cameron University Department of Music at 581-2440.
Labé and Whang will perform selections by a wide range of classical composers, including Schubert's "Fantasie in F Minor," Bizet's "Children's Games," Rossini's "Overture to La gazza ladra," and Dukas' "Sorcerer's Apprentice."
Dr. Hyunsoon Whang, the McMahon Endowed Chair of Music, and Dr. Thomas Labé are both professors of music. In addition to their teaching schedules, they both maintain active performance schedules.
The husband and wife duo first burst on the international scene in 1992 when they were chosen by legendary pianist Alexis Weissenberg to premiere his original two-piano score for the musical “Nostalgie.” Following a string of sold-out performances at the Staatstheater Darmstadt (the third largest stage in Germany), the duo was hailed by Germany’s leading newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, as the “hero pair of the evening.” The work was subsequently recorded for the Arkadia label and heard again at “Midem classique,” the international conference of the recording industry held annually in France. As a two-piano team, they recently recorded “A Spiritual Concert: Music from the Cantatas and Chorale Preludes of Johann Sebastian Bach Arranged for Two Pianos,” a compilation of world-premiere performances of rare scores captured on a pair of matched Hamburg Steinways in the pristine acoustic of Salt Lake City’s Libby Gardner Concert Hall. The disc, currently in postproduction, will be released in 2011. As a four-hand duo, they first appeared in a sold-out benefit concert for Cameron University’s public radio station KCCU in May 1996.
As a soloist, Labé has performed in recitals and with orchestras on three continents, including appearances with the Houston, Chattanooga and Kenosha Symphony Orchestras and in prestigious venues including New York's Carnegie Hall, Chicago's Ravinia Festival, the International Piano Festival Monterey (Mexico) and the Staatstheater Darmstadt (Germany). He has recorded for the Dorian, Naxos and Arkadia labels, and his seven commercially released compact discs are heard with great frequency on the playlists of classical music stations the world over. His debut recording, “The Virtuoso Johann Strauss,” received a Best of the Year Citation from the editors of H&B Recordings Direct.
Thomas Labé’s performances and growing list of internationally released recordings have been embraced by audiences and critics alike. His 1987 debut at New York's Carnegie Hall (as winner of the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition) was singled out by The New York Times as “the most interesting among the week's debutantes.” His engagements have included appearances as soloist with numerous ensembles including the Chattanooga, Houston and Kenosha Symphony Orchestras and recitals in prestigious venues such as Chicago's Ravinia Festival and Dame Myra Hess concert series, the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (Troy, NY), at Washington University in St. Louis and the Staatstheater Darmstadt (Germany). His commercially released recordings have garnered exceptional praise in such diverse publications as The Washington Post, Gramophone Magazine, American Record Guide, CD Review (U.K.), and The Age (Australia) and are heard with great frequency on the playlists of classical music stations the world over. In May 2011 he will embark on a tour of Taiwan performing numerous recitals, giving master classes and serving as keynote speaker and presenter/performer at an international conference on the editing of piano music.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Whang has been a member of the Cameron faculty since 1993. Trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Juilliard School, she holds a doctorate from Indiana University in Bloomington. Whang has given more than 500 concerts since her first public performance at age twelve and is a versatile pianist who enjoys playing solo recitals, chamber music concerts, and with orchestras. Critics have praised her as “the kind of player who appears to immerse her entire being in the music,” and as one who has “always delivered with grace and beauty.” She will receive the Governor’s Arts Award for Arts & Education, which recognizes an individual, organization, school, educator or group for their outstanding leadership and service in the arts benefitting youth and/or arts in education, on November 10.
November 1, 2010