Duo Dotto-Cho 

Arianna Dotto, violin

Hyejin Cho, piano

May 26, 2021

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts

David Schwan, host


Robert Schumann – Sonata No. 1, Op. 105 (20′)

I. Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck

II. Allegretto

III. Lebhaft

Clara Schumann – Three Romances, Op. 22 (10′)

I. Andante molto

II. Allegretto

III. Leidenschaftlich schnell

Johannes Brahms – Scherzo from the F.A.E. Sonata (6′)

Born in Chicago and raised in Milan, Italy, violinist Arianna Dotto has performed across the U.S.A., Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Germany, including at Carnegie “Weill” Recital Hall, the Sala Verdi (Milan), and with the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne at the BCV Concert Hall amongst others.

She was awarded first prizes at the LMM Young Artist Award, the “Vittorio Veneto”, “Luigi Nono”, “Guido Papini”, and “Rosetum” international competitions, and was a laureate and participant at the prestigious “Concours international de Violin d’Avignon” (France), “Kloster Schöntal Wettbewerb”, ARD Competition (Germany), Bartok World Competition (Hungary), and the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.

Arianna has performed for Radio Classica, the Swiss radio RTS, and WRCJ Radio’s Classical Brunch Series. Her interview for the Wall Street International Magazine appears in the book Milano è Donna (2017), a collection celebrating noteworthy contemporary women of Milanese origin. An avid chamber musician, she studied with the Artemis Quartett in Berlin as first violin of the Lyskamm Quartett, winning several international prizes with that ensemble.

Arianna obtained her Master’s Degree at the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne, under the guidance of P. Vernikov and S. Makarova, while at the same time completing a Praktikum at the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zürich. Her continuing education brought her to the Cleveland Institute of Music to work with Jaime Laredo, and she is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan in the studio of David Halen. Arianna plays on a violin by G. Tononi (ex-Amati, ca. 1690).


Pianist Hyejin Cho is an active performer with recent recitals across the U.S.A., Germany, Italy, Austria, England, Japan and Korea. Frequently invited as a guest artist, Cho has recently given solo recitals at institutions such as Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Northern Illinois University, Wheaton College as a part of the concert series of piano works by Robert Schumann, a project that she has established in six different states – Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin and Utah. In 2021, Cho will bring the series to the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in December 2021. The first album of the Schumann project will be released through the Orpheus Classical in May 2021.

As a passionate chamber musician, Cho has had extensive collaborative performance experiences. She is a founding member of the American Prize winner Koinonia Piano Trio, a performing and teaching ensemble that has performed in New York, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Alaska and 5 cities in Europe as a part of a tour in Austria, Germany and Italy. In addition, she has collaborated with internationally renowned artists, including Nathan Giem, David Halen, and members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra among others.

Originally from Korea, Cho graduated from Ewha Women’s University as a Valedictorian. After graduation, she came to the United States, studying with Menahem Pressler at Indiana University and earning a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma in Piano. In 2018, she completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at the University of Michigan. www.hyejinchopianist.com

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Sonata No. 1, Op. 105 (1851) 

1851 was a turbulent year for the Schumanns, having moved from Dresden to Düsseldorf to flee the 1849 insurrection and expecting their seventh child. Despite this context of uncertainty,  Robert wrote his first violin sonata in barely a week. The first movement bears the heading Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck (with passionate expression), to highlight the Sturm und Drang character of the music. The violin melody leaps erratically from the beginning, amidst a foggy  storm of dark, rumbling arpeggios from the piano. The pure, lyrical melodies of the second movement are a radical contrast from the first, with a childlike playfulness reminiscent of the composer’s Kinderszenen set. Curiously, Schumann remained dissatisfied with the third  movement, a Bach-ian moto perpetuum cast within an “unyielding, brusque tone.” The public première was given by his wife Clara Schumann and violinist Ferdinand David, who also premiered Felix Mendelssohn’s violin concerto. 


Clara Schumann (1819-1896)

Three Romances, Op. 22 (1853) 

In 1853 Clara Schumann wrote her three romances for Joseph Joachim. The Duo then toured with these pieces and received ecstatic reviews. Clara’s peculiar use of harmony makes her writing distinctive. Yet  she famously wrote “I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea. A woman must not desire to compose – there has never been one able to do it. Should I be the one?” Thankfully she didn’t take her own advice, composing countless gems performed today.

Likely inspired by her husband’s 1851 Op. 94 Romances for oboe, she composed what could be described as three Lieder for violin and piano. The first Romance, the most lyrical of the three, begins in D-flat major but quickly drifts away in a long, dreamy path of harmonic exploration to reach the distant key of F Major – a sudden burst of light, with the violin leaping up to the highest registers, through a series of beautiful singing embellishments. The melodic gestures of the second Romance resemble those in Robert’s romances. The violin’s  octave leaps become descending sigh motives, complementing the piece’s minor tonality, only to switch moods in the middle section, with an effervescent, innocent play of trills. The final romance is a show piece for the pianist. The violin plays a simple, lyrical melody, while the piano has a seemingly endless flow of arpeggios. The only romance beginning in a major key, it brings together all the elements of the previous two movements in a joyful finale.



Johannes Brahms (1833-1896)

Scherzo from the F.A.E Sonata (1853) 

1853 was an important year for Johannes Brahms, a talented but unknown young pianist  struggling to obtain recognition and success as a composer. Joseph Joachim introduced Brahms to  Robert Schumann, who recorded in his diary: “Visit from Brahms, a genius.” The F-A-E sonata, a gift for Joachim assembled from compositions by Schumann, Brahms, and Albert Dietrich (a student of Schumann), was written shortly thereafter, its four movements  bound together by the musical cipher derived from Joachim’s personal motto, “Frei aber  Einsam” (free but alone). 

Having already mastered the scherzo genre, Brahms fashioned this third movement as a  showpiece for Joachim’s expressive skills, without neglecting the contribution of the piano. Any reference to the F-A-E motto is, however, oblique at best: rather than openly spelling out the three-note cipher, Brahms preferred to revisit the opening motif of the first movement by  Dietrich, using its same expansive melodic contour in the second part of the A section of the  scherzo and again in the latter half of the trio.

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are made possible through the generosity of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and the Union League Club of Chicago.
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are presented in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and 98.7 WFMT

Don’t miss Marguerite Lynn Williams, harp

next week on the

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts!

Wednesday June 2, 12:15pm

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