Andrew Byun and Victor Asunción

Andrew Byun, cello

Victor Asunción, piano

November 18, 2020

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts

David Schwan, host


Robert Schumann – Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70 (9′)

Germaine Tailleferre – Berceuse (3′)

Ludwig van Beethoven – Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 5 No. 2 (25′)

I. Adagio sostenuto e espressivo – Allegro molto più tosto presto

II. Rondo. Allegro

Andrew Byun is a Canadian cellist studying under the tutelage of Hans Jorgen Jensen at Northwestern University.  Byun has appeared in masterclasses with Steven Isserlis, Ida Kavafian, Jian Wang, Frans Helmerson, Laurence Lesser, Thomas Riebl, Jérôme Pernoo, Jennifer Higdon, and Wen Sinn Yang among others and has worked closely with members of the Borromeo, Brentano, Shanghai, Emerson, Vermeer, Orion, and Dover Quartets.  In 2015, Byun was named a Jack Kent Cooke Artist and was invited to perform at Jordan Hall on NPR’s program “From The Top” 300th Anniversary Show.  In 2014, he won the Grand Prize at the Seoul Arts Concours and in 2015, he won the Gershwin International Music Competition and Boston Trio Competition, performing with the Boston Trio in Jordan Hall.  He has been a laureate at other competitions including the Sejong Philharmonic Competition, NEC pre-college Concerto Competition, and American Protégé International Competition among others and was a semi-finalist at the 2018 Stulberg International String Competition.

Byun has had solo performances in many venues including the Mozarteum Foundation’s Wiener Saal, Jordan Hall, and Weill Recital Hall.  A passionate chamber musician, he has appeared at festivals worldwide including:  Taos School of Music, I-M-S Prussia Cove, L’Académie Musicale de Villecroze, Orford Musique, Cello Akademie Rutesheim, Great Mountains Music Festival, Mozarteum Summer Academy, National Arts Centre’s Young Artist Program, and Heifetz International Music Institute, where he appeared in concert with violinist Hagai Shaham.  He was also a semi-finalist at the 2020 Fischoff Competition as a member of Trio Noré.

A native of South Korea, Byun attended high school at Milton Academy in Massachusetts and is currently majoring in Cello Performance and Philosophy at Northwestern University.  Byun has studied with Myung-wha Chung, Yeesun Kim, Soyun Kim, and Emmanuel Feldman.

Hailed by The Washington Post for his “poised and imaginative playing,” pianist Victor Santiago Asunción has appeared in concert halls in Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Spain, Turkey and the USA, as a recitalist and concerto soloist.  He played his orchestral debut at the age of 18 with the Manila Chamber Orchestra, and his New York recital debut in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in 1999.

A chamber music enthusiast, he has performed with artists such as Lynn Harrell, Zuill Bailey, Andres Diaz, Antonio Meneses, Joshua Roman, Cho-Liang Lin, , and many others. He was on the chamber music faculty of the Aspen Music Festival, and the Garth Newel Summer Music Festival.  He was also the pianist for the Garth Newel Piano Quartet for three seasons.  His recordings include the complete Sonatas of L. van Beethoven with cellist Tobias Werner, Sonatas by Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff with cellist Joseph Johnson, and the Rachmaninoff Sonata with the cellist Evan Drachman. He is also featured in the award winning recording “Songs My Father Taught Me” with Lynn Harrell, produced by Louise Frank and WFMT-Chicago.

He received his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in 2007 from the University of Maryland at College Park under the tutelage of Rita Sloan. Victor  Asunción is a Steinway artist.

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Adagio and Allegro, Op, 70 (1849) 

Praised by Clara Schumann as “a magnificent piece, fresh and passionate,” Robert Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro Op.70 was composed in A-flat Major for horn and piano in 1849 with alternative editions for violin and cello. Originally entitled “Romance and Allegro,” the Adagio is a heartfelt dialogue between two instruments with moments of emotional outburst, embodying the spirits of both Eusebius and Florestan. The Allegro starkly contrasts the Adagio with its youthful exuberance and ends the piece with an enraptured hurrah, despite a brief moment of peace and longing for the tenderness of the Adagio.

Germaine Tailleferre


Berceuse (1936) 

A student of Maurice Ravel, Germaine Tailleferre was the only female member of Les Six: a group of six French composers who worked in Montparnasse. Tailleferre composed her Berceuse in E Major for violin and piano in 1913 and dedicated it to her mentor and friend, Henri Dallier (1849-1934). Composed at the young age of 21, the Berceuse reflects Tailleferre’s youth in its innocence, simplicity, and dreaming quality. She asks for a mute to be used throughout the piece, creating a warm texture and ethereal atmosphere with the piano’s fluid arpeggiations. Though brief, the Berceuse provides refuge from the thoughts that cloud our minds, taking us on a sweet journey of longing for what could be.


Ludwig van Beethoven


Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 5 No. 2 (1796)

Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in G Minor Op. 5 No. 2 was written in 1796 at the court of King Friedrich Wilhelm II in Berlin. Though Beethoven dedicated both Op.5 sonatas to the King, the sonatas were premiered by the King’s principal cellist, Jean-Pierre Duport (1741-1818), whose command of the instrument had a decisive impact on Beethoven’s composition of the Op.5 sonatas. Like the first Op.5 sonata, the G Minor Sonata is written in a two-movement form in which the first movement begins with an introduction marked Adagio sostenuto e espressivo. The introduction is slow and grave with descending scale figures and dotted rhythms passed around between the two instruments. Followed by this introduction and a long pause comes the impassioned Allegro of the opening movement, which is filled with drama and moments of sweetness and nostalgia. The first movement closes with a coda, which is reminiscent of the movement’s opening themes with a restrained tone before returning to a tempestuous dance put to a stop by a declamatory Picardy third. The second movement is a jovial and elegant Rondo filled with chatter and mystery, which contrasts the austerity of the Allegro. The Rondo begins with the piano in the “wrong” key of C Major, introducing a humorous tone and a change of character, and the movement sails on a journey whose brightness prevails to the conclusion of the piece.

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 the Lincoln Trio

in two weeks on the

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts!

Wednesday December 2, 12:15pm

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