Cameron University professor Hyunsoon Whang will present “Beethoven Sonata Cycle 7,” the seventh in a series of piano recitals in which she performs select Beethoven sonatas. The recital is set for Sunday, September 24, at 3 p.m. in the McCutcheon Recital Hall.
Seating is extremely limited; to reserve a ticket, call 580-581-2346 or purchase online at https://www.cameron.edu/art-music-and-theatre/events/buy-tickets.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 at no charge with valid ID.
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.
“I've built this program around the Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109 which, in my opinion, is the most perfect and satisfying sonata that Beethoven wrote,” Whang says. “I've often heard many pianists saying that this is their favorite sonata out of all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas.”
The recital will open with an early masterwork, Sonata No. 7 in D Major, Op. 10 No. 3, composed in 1798. The Op. 10 sonatas are usually described as angular or experimental, as Beethoven began moving further away from his earlier models.
“The first movement is highly virtuosic, humorous at times, and generally in good spirits,” Whang says. “However, the second movement is deeply tragic and heartbreakingly sad; it seems that Beethoven pours his broken heart out. The third movement is a gentle minuet and trio, and the sonata ends with a delightful rondo finale with much warmth and charm.”
Whang will then present Sonata No. 22 in F Major, Op.54. Composed in 1804, this is one of Beethoven’s lesser known sonatas, overshadowed by the “Waldstein” and the “Appassionata,” which were also composed in 1804.
“Sonata No. 22 in F Major, Op. 54 is a two-movement work which hardly ever gets played,” Whang says. “Although it was written in 1804 during Beethoven's middle period, there are many characteristics in the first movement that already point to Beethoven looking ahead to the late period: the unusual two movement structure, the bizarre juxtaposition of different characters and texture, and the obsession with contrapuntal writing. The final movement is a reminiscent of a toccata with an impressive, perpetual motion.”
The recital will conclude with Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109, the third-to-last of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. Dedicated to Maximiliane Brentano, the work is particularly noteworthy for its divergence from the norms of sonata form and for its harmonic and structural innovations.
“Written in 1820, this sonata is from Beethoven’s late period,” Whang says. “The first movement imbues warm lyricism which is interrupted twice by the chromatic, improvisatory, cadenza-like episode. The ‘prestissimo’ second movement is quasi-demonic and breathless in character which is followed by the final movement, a set of six variations on a heavenly theme.”
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. Highlights of her recent performances include concerto appearances with the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Norwood Symphony Orchestra in Australia, and an all-Mozart program with the members of the world-renowned Württemberg Chamber Orchestra in Germany. During the 2023-24 season, she is scheduled to perform in Cleveland, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Jacksonville, Reykjavik, as well as in Lawton and Altus, Okla.
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 public school children, fostering a love of music for young people. During the summer she teaches at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. 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, The Juilliard School, and earned a doctorate from Indiana University under the tutelage of the legendary pianist György Sebők. She is Professor of Piano at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma where she holds the McMahon Endowed Chair in Music. When she is not teaching or at the piano, she enjoys reading, following Major League Baseball, and keeping up with her daughter Courtney, a student at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She lives in Medicine Park with Callie, a pit bull mix.