February 24, 2011
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) A quintet of top-level classical musicians will take the stage at La Sierra University next week, performing works of great composers and showcasing the talent of renowned violinist and international conductor, Scott Yoo.
The La Sierra University Chamber Series will feature a quintet of two violins, viola, cello and piano performing the works of Sergei Prokofiev, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms. The concert will take place at La Sierra’s Hole Memorial Auditorium, March 5, at 7 p.m. The group will consist of Yoo on violin, Jason Uyeyama, La Sierra’s director of string studies, also on violin, Valerie Malvinni, viola, Madeleine Kabat, cello, and Vadim Serebryanny, piano.
The group’s award-winning members perform regularly and have played with orchestras around the world including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York City, symphonies in London and Tokyo and many other top ensembles.
Admission is $10 general admission; $5 senior citizens; $20 family admission; free admission for children age 12 and under. For further information call 951-785-2036. La Sierra University is located at 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, Riverside, Calif.
Yoo, who is also an acclaimed conductor of top orchestras around the world and founder of the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, arrives at La Sierra through a 10-year friendship and professional collaboration with Uyeyama. The La Sierra music professor, a regular with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, began playing with Yoo’s Metamorphosen group in 2001. “As our music director, [Yoo] inspired us with his incredible conviction and unique ability to connect with audiences, not to mention his flawless violin playing,” Uyeyama said.
“We are fortunate to have Scott Yoo as a guest artist on the La Sierra University Chamber Music Series,” said Uyeyama. “For the community, and especially for our students, this is a wonderful opportunity to hear a world-class musician in an intimate setting.”
Yoo, a resident of New York, grew up in Hartford, Conn., the son of immigrants from Korea and Japan. He exhibited musical prowess early in life and began studying violin at age three. At age 12 he performed Felix Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto” with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Yoo went on to win prestigious music competitions and awards. Meanwhile, he earned a Physics degree with honors from Harvard University in Boston while traveling and performing. After Harvard, Yoo founded the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, conducting the ensemble’s first series at Jordan Hall in Boston and more than 90 performances on tour.
He ultimately studied violin and conducting with music’s greats including, respectively, the late Dorothy DeLay, and Michael Tilson Thomas, music director of the San Francisco Symphony.
Yoo’s conducting experiences have taken him around the world and comprise the bulk of his musical work. He is music director and principal conductor of the 39-year-old Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, and in November he debuted at New York City’s Carnegie Hall conducting the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He also recently toured with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, a collaboration that included a Jan. 21 concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Yoo’s wide-ranging work includes guest conducting the Colorado, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Francisco and Utah symphonies, the orchestras of Hong Kong, Winnipeg and Mexico City, the City of London Sinfonia, the Seoul Philharmonic and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. He has released recordings on Sony Classical, Delos, Arabesque, New World and Naxos labels and has collaborated with such prominent artists as Sarah Chang and Dawn Upshaw.
Yoo recounted Uyeyama’s influence with the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra when Uyeyama began playing in 2001. “He was just a great force in that orchestra,” said Yoo. “He made everybody better around him.”
In April, Yoo will hold a chamber music festival in Medellín, Colombia. Uyeyama will also be involved in the effort and was one of the first musicians Yoo contacted to participate in the project, Yoo said. “Jason is somebody I really rely on because he’s such a good violinist and such a good guy, and an unbelievably hard worker,” said Yoo. The festival will provide underprivileged Colombian musicians an immersive musical experience by involving them in groups of top-level players.
Yoo said he spends about 80 percent of his musical endeavors conducting, a complex activity that involves in-depth knowledge of the many moving parts of an orchestral work.
Conducting and playing violin involve interchangeable skills and use of a similar part of the brain, he said. “It’s all music.” But conductors rely completely on other musicians whereas a violinist controls only his or her own instrument, Yoo said.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University