Cameron University’s Hyunsoon Whang to explore diversity of styles and composers in upcoming piano recital

In presenting her first piano recital of the academic year, Cameron University’s Hyunsoon Whang, Professor of Music, will explore a diversity of styles and composers with a repertoire that spans 227 years. Whang’s program will consist of selections by Mozart, Liszt, Chopin and Villa-Lobos as well a 2016 composition by fellow Cameron faculty member Dr. Greg Hoepfner. The recital is slated for Thursday, October 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the University Theatre. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $8 for senior citizens, K-12 students and members of the military. Cameron students, faculty and staff are admitted free with valid ID.

For this recital, Whang deliberately refrained from choosing a specific theme when it came to selecting her repertoire.

“Themed recitals are popular, but I believe the general public really loves hearing a variety of styles and composers,” she says.

It’s safe to say that if there is an underlying theme for this recital, it is that of music that speaks to the performer. Whang has often cited Mozart, Liszt and Chopin among her favorite composers, and the prolific output of each of them provides her with a seemingly unlimited repertoire. Add to that the stirring and vast output of Villa-Lobos, referred to as the “single most creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music,” as well as music by Dr. Greg Hoepfner, one of Whang’s colleagues on the CU faculty, and the pianist is primed for a recital guided by the joy of performing.

“Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of premiering Greg’s ‘In D’ during a recital at the Simmons Center in Duncan,” Whang says. “I believe it is the responsibility of any performer to introduce new music, so I am grateful to Greg for letting me introduce one of his compositions to audiences. It has a unique, ethereal quality that is a joy to interpret.”

Much of Mozart’s music, like the man himself, is larger than life, providing a challenge to the most adept pianists. “Mozart’s versatility is unrivalled,” says Whang. “His piano works, which can be intensely virtuosic, contain an emotional reach that was certainly innovative when compared to the standard music of his time.”

During his lifetime, Liszt was renowned for not only his compositions but his piano performances. “I think Liszt must have transported himself to another plane when he was performing,” Whang says. “Sources from that time mention how he played with abandonment and with a liberated feeling. Ladies in attendance would swoon and even faint from the magic of his charismatic performances. He was certainly a superstar in his day, and he continues to be a significant influence on pianists today.”

One of Liszt’s contemporaries – and friends – was Chopin, the Polish/French composer and piano virtuoso of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for the solo piano. “Although much less flamboyant and showy than Liszt, Chopin’s mastery of the piano is seen throughout his technically demanding compositions that are deeply felt and very personal,” says Whang. “He was another superstar who set new standards for music during his lifetime. It is not an understatement to say Chopin may be the most loved composer of piano music by the audience and performers alike.”

Whang is a nationally renowned pianist who has performed nearly 500 concerts across the United States, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France, Iceland, Japan and her native Korea. She studied at North Carolina School of the Arts, St. Louis Conservatory of Music, the Juilliard School and Indiana University, where she earned her doctorate. She is a recipient of the Oklahoma Governor’s Art and Education Award and holds the Louise D. McMahon Endowed Chair in Music at Cameron University.

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September 26, 2017