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Hyunsoon Whang to continue performance cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas

Cameron University professor Hyunsoon Whang will present “Beethoven Sonata Cycle 8,” the eighth in a series of piano recitals in which she performs select Beethoven sonatas. The recital is set for Sunday, March 10, at 3 p.m. in the McCutcheon Recital Hall.

Tickets purchased at the door are $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens, members of the military and non-CU students. Cameron University students, faculty and staff receive one free admission with their CU I.D. Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at 580-581-2346. Tickets can also be purchased in advance online at https://www.cameron.edu/art-music-and-theatre/events/buy-tickets. (Taxes and processing fees apply.)

In September 2019, Whang set the goal of performing the entire cycle of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas, which are considered one of the most important collections of works in the history of music, over the next few years.

Whang built the program for this recital around Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Op. 3 No. 2, which will be played after the intermission.

The program will open with Piano Sonata No. 12 in A Flat major, Op. 26.

“This is a lyrical, intimate sonata that opens with a beautiful set of variations,” Whang says. “It is cast in four movements, and the slow movement is a funeral march which probably was shocking to the public in 1800. A few years later, Beethoven would write another funeral march for a slow movement in his celebrated third symphony, Eroica.’"

Whang will follow that piece with Sonata No. 18 in G Minor, Op. 49 No.1.

“This is a small sonata with only two movements,” she says. “It was published in 1805 but was written a decade prior to that. Apparently, Beethoven did not want it to be published but his brother thought it was worthy of being published. Another story is that Beethoven needed the money so he went along with his brother. The two sonatas from Op. 49 are considered ‘easy sonatas,’ hence ‘sonatinas’ might have been a better title for them. It is interesting to note that this is the only piano sonata in the key of G minor that Beethoven wrote. The first movement is melancholy and is followed by a charming rondo movement.”

Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Op. 3 No. 2 will close the program.

“Written in 1795 and dedicated to Haydn, I consider this sonata one of the best works from Beethoven’s early period,” Whang says. “Exuberant, brilliant and virtuosic, it was written to please and impress the public. Its general character, feeling, length and scope remind me of his first symphony which was composed in 1800.”

The longest of Beethoven’s three Op. 2 sonatas, this composition presents a variety of challenges for many performers, including difficult trills, awkward hand movements and forearm rotation. The sonata consists of four movements: Allegro con brio, Adagio E major, Scherzo: Allegro and Allegro assai.

Korean American pianist Hyunsoon Whang began her piano studies at the age of four and has been performing publicly for over 40 years in hundreds of concerts. She has performed in most states in America as well as in Canada, Europe, Australia and Asia. Highlights of her performances this season include solo and chamber music appearances in Cleveland, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Salt Lake City and Reykjavik. Most recently, she was a guest artist on Kansas Public Radio’s live broadcast of Valentine’s Day Concert in Lawrence. She especially enjoys playing for audiences in her home state of Oklahoma. She was a featured artist at the Oklahoma Arts Conference last fall, and this afternoon’s performance marks the eighth of her Beethoven’s Complete Piano Sonata Cycle which she has been presenting at Cameron University and at the Museum of the Western Prairie in Altus.

A dedicated educator, Whang has taught and nurtured generations of students. Her students have won numerous competitions, and garnered scholarships and fellowships from prestigious institutions. She presents interactive recitals for rural public school children, fostering a love of music for the youth. She teaches at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan during the summer. She is a recipient of the Oklahoma Governor’s Arts in Education Award and a member of the Cameron University’s Faculty Hall of Fame.

Whang studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts, the St. Louis Conservatory and The Juilliard School. She earned a doctorate from Indiana University under the tutelage of the legendary pianist György Sebők. She is a professor of piano at Cameron University in Lawton, where she holds the McMahon Endowed Chair in Music. Besides teaching and playing the piano, she enjoys reading, hiking, following Major League Baseball, and being a mom to her daughter Courtney, a student at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She lives in Medicine Park with Callie, a rescue Pit bull mix.



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