One of the world's best young pianists will perform today with our Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra in a concert that is sure to be the talk of the town for some time.
Yekwon Sunwoo will join the symphony for Sergei Rachmaninoff's fiery Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 30, in D minor. Sunwoo, 28, won the gold medal at this year's Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the most prestigious competition for young pianists in the world.
Today's concert will be at 5 p.m. in Rudder Theatre on the campus of Texas A&M University. Tickets at the door are $44 for adults and $16 for students.
The Cliburn competition is held every four years in Fort Worth and is named for the Texan, then 23, who stunned the world by winning the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958.
"We will be making music with one of the top pianists in the world, one who, over the span of three weeks, was tested in every aspect of his musical abilities and won this prestigious competition," said Marcelo Bussiki, music director and conductor of the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra.
Sunwoo is the first native of South Korea to win the Cliburn Competition.
The San Francisco Examiner praised Sunwoo for "his total command over the instrument and its expressiveness."
Sunwoo began piano lessons at age 8 before moving to the United States in 2005 to study at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he earned his bachelor's degree. He earned his master's at The Julliard School, as well as an artist diploma at the Mannes School of Music.
In past seasons, Sunwoo performed with the Houston Symphony, Julliard Orchestra and Itzhak Perlman, the Fort Worth Symphony and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He also preformed in Japan, London, Paris, Germany, South Korea, Hong Kong, Denmark, Spain and his native South Korea.
Sunwoo won first prize in the 2012 William Kapell International Piano Competition, 2013 Sendai International Music Competition, 2014 Verbier Festival and the 2015 International German Piano Award.
Bussiki, who has attended several Cliburn Competitions, said, "This year's competition was unique in the sense that it was particularly difficult to 'guess' the winner with a level of certainty.
"The level of the candidates was so high that any of the six finalists could have won. I had narrowed it down myself to a couple of candidates, one of them being Sunwoo."
Since winning the Cliburn Competition, Sunwoo has launched a world tour. He said, "Winning Cliburn Gold means just so much because Van Cliburn is one of my favorite pianists, and he was a humble and sincere human being whose life and music touched so many people,"
He said, "I feel extremely privileged to be the first Korean to win the Cliburn Gold. The Korean people I meet abroad, especially in the U.S., say that they are really proud, and this makes me even prouder for the valuable award."
In addition to the Rachmaninoff, the orchestra will perform Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3, Op. 56, in A minor, also known as the Scottish after Mendelssohn visited the remains of Holyrood Chapel during a walking tour of Scotland.
Ann Thompson of Houston will give insight to the music during a free talk one hour prior to the concert in the Rudder complex. Following the concert, there will be a patron social hour at Napa Flats.
Today's concert is sponsored by the always generous Rose P. VanArsdel and the Derby Day 2017 Fund-a-Concert Donors.
A cool breeze
It will be an evening of spooky delights on Oct. 29 when the Brazos Breeze Flute Choir presents its first concert of the season at First United Methodist Church in Bryan.
The concert will begin at 5 p.m.. The church is located at 506 E. 28th St. in Bryan.
Brazos Breeze will present a selection of Halloween music, including Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns, Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky, Valse Triste by Jean Sibelius, Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas, and two original works for flute choir, Of Wizards and Witches by Phyllis Louke and Marie Leveaux, Voudou Queen of New Orleans by Ruben Flores.
Concert attendees are encouraged to come in Halloween costumes.
Although there is no charge for the concert, contributions will be dedicated to Hurricane Harvey relief, administered by First United Methodist Church. Checks may be made out to FUMC Bryan, with Hurricane Relief in the memo line.
Brazos Breeze is an ensemble in residence at the church. Composition of the group is piccolo, C flutes, alto flutes, bass flutes, contrabass flute, string bass, bassoon, and percussion. Members are professional musicians from cities around the area including Huntsville, Bellville, Brenham, Anderson, Austin, Waco, Greater Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Bryan-College Station.
Rob Towell is the conductor.
• Thursday through Oct. 29 -- Lanterns & Legends, Navasota Theatre Alliance's living history tour of Oakland Cemetery in Navasota, tours leave every 15 minutes from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a flashlight. An indoor session will be at 2 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Sunny Furman Theatre, 104 Washington Ave. in downtown Navasota. $10. (navasotatheatre.org)
• Nov. 2-4 -- Youth Steelband Open and a Festival of Trinidad's Arts & Culture, a Hurricane Irma charitable event featuring scholars, steelbands and performers from Texas, Florida and Trinidad, events at Texas A&M University, Brazos Valley African American Museum and the city of Bryan. (305.804.3283, firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Nov. 4 -- KEOS Fall House Party and Lone Star Music Series featuring Claire Domingue, 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For information and location, email email@example.com by 5 p.m. Saturday. Suggested donated $25 at the door.
• Every Sunday -- Open mics and poetry slams sponsored by Mic Check Poetry, 8:30 p.m. Revolution Café in Downtown Bryan, (miccheckpoetry.com)
Items for Arts Watch should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is noon Tuesday before the weekend you want it to run.