The Violin Channel recently caught up with 2018 Naumburg International Violin Competition 1st prize winner, violinist Grace Park - on the eve of her Carnegie Hall Weill Hall recital debut.
Hi Grace. You will be giving your Carnegie Hall debut recital on the 12th of November. How did this opportunity come to you and what can we expect to hear on your program?
"Yes, I'm really excited about it.
I was lucky enough to win the Naumburg International Competition last year, and debuting at Carnegie Hall is one of the prizes given to the winner"
How did you decide on this repertoire?
"For this program, I wanted to give a culmination of who I am as musician.
I did this by programming music that has lived with me for years, such as the Dvorak 'Romance in F Minor', and combined it alongside an exciting new commissioned work by Mason Bates"
A Carnegie debut is a significant achievement for any young artist. How have you been preparing for this moment?
"It is especially exciting to play at Carnegie Hall and in front of friends and colleagues, but I'm trying not to think of this as a singularly different event.
I always try to play my best anywhere I am.
My preparation consists of practice, eating, running, and coffee"
You mentioned your program will feature the world premiere of a new work for violin and piano by celebrated American composer, Mason Bates - tell us about this work? What are your impressions?
"It's a beautiful and fun work, and I can't wait to play it for people.
Mason and I had a few meetings, and decided a good and poignant way for him to understand me as a musician would be for me to send him 20 of my favorite pieces of music.
This ranged from Schubert to Roberta Flack, and to a few Irish folk tunes.
One in particular caught his attention, and from there, inspiration for his first violin sonata was born!
He takes the tune and melds it with his own language, which was wonderful to hear.
He also quotes (and titles) the American Folk Tune 'Shenandoah' - which was a heart-warming surprise when opening the score"
How have you enjoyed working with a living composer? Has the process for preparation differed from learning a traditional standard work?
"Working with a living composer is always a great learning experience.
It's fascinating to see and discuss music with the creator, and to hear how and why they were led to their final product.
It gives us, the performer that much more gravity to the music"
What can we expect next for Grace Park?
"I'm really excited about my upcoming shows in the next couple of years.
I'm playing in halls and with orchestras for the first time, which is always thrilling.
I'm also commissioning a violin concerto for the first time, that will be premiered in season 2021-2022!"