Jason C. Tramm Conducts the Adelphi Orchestra's 'Celebrating a Grand Legacy' Today
The daughter of noted violinist Byung-Kook Kwak, native New Yorker Christine Kwak, guest soloist in Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin in D Major, began violin studies at the age of 4. By the age of 11 Christine had made her Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Alice Tully Hall debuts. In 2007 Christine graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in philosophy and continued her studies at the Juilliard School, as a student of Stephen Clapp, where she received her M.M. degree in 2009. She has also been a pupil of the late Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School.
For her performance of the Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin in D Major with the Adelphi Orchestra Christine Kwak will be playing the very instrument which the 30 year old Russian violin virtuoso Adolph Brodsky first performed the Concerto in Vienna on December 4, 1881. The violin, now known as the "Ex- Brodsky" dates back to the 1751 Milan workshop of Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, esteemed to be one of the finest craftsmen of string instruments ever to have lived.
Tramm, who serves as Artistic Advisor to the Adelphi Orchestra, said the concert was conceived in equal part to honor the orchestra's exemplary musicians, individuals and artistic collaborators who have inspired and contributed to Adelphi Orchestra's distinguished history as Northern New Jersey's longest performing orchestra and as homage to the musical heritage of New York City.
The Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin in D Major featured on the evening's program has historically been surrounded by controversy, said Tramm. The December 4, 1881 premiere of Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin in D Major with the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Hans Richter had gotten off to a rocky start. Three years earlier, the great violinist Leopold Auer, for whom the concerto was originally dedicated, declared the work "too difficult" and said he, would not play it unless unsolicited changes were made to the composition. As a result, the original premiere scheduled for St. Petersburg in March of 1879 was cancelled.
The concerto quickly gained a reputation as unplayable and no one could be found in Europe to perform it until 1881 when Adolph Brodsky (who had also premiered Tchaikovsky's Sérénade mélancolique in Moscow in 1876) insisted he would play it as it was written. The influential German critic Eduard Hanslick who attended the 1881 Vienna premiere, added to the controversy by attempting to ring the Concerto's death knell by writing "the violin was not played but beaten black and blue" and accused the composer and Brodsky of putting the audience "through hell" with music "which stinks to the ear."
What is not commonly known, Tramm explained, is that Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin in D Major was first performed to acclaim, before an audience in New York City in 1879 by conductor and violinist Leopold Damrosch, one of the earliest champions of Tchaikovsky's works in America. "Through its ability to inspire and unite musicians and audience worldwide" Tramm said "Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin in D Major played a formative role in New York City's great musical institutions and musical legacy."
Damrosch, founder of the Oratorio Society of New York in 1873, launched his New York Symphony Society in 1878, and dared to play the Concerto in late 1879, only months after Auer declared it "unplayable" and occasioned the cancellation of its St. Petersburg premiere. Although Damrosch's NYC performance took place three years earlier than Adolph Brodsky's 1881 performance in Vienna, Damrosch's New York City debut of Tchaikovsky's Concerto for Violin in D Major could not be considered the world premiere because it was played with piano accompaniment instead of an orchestra.
Tramm went on to share "in the years that followed, the New York Symphony Society became the New York Symphony Orchestra - a precursor of the New York Philharmonic. The New York Symphony Orchestra was supported by Andrew Carnegie who built Carnegie Hall in 1891 expressly for the orchestra. The legendary Walter Damrosch, who followed his father Leopold Damrosch as Music Director of the New York Symphony Orchestra upon his father's death in 1885, recruited Adolph Brodsky to serve as first violinist of the New York Symphony Orchestra in 1891, the year "The Music Hall" as it was known then, opened with a five-day festival of six concerts headlined by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who was then considered to be the most famous musician in the world."
Conductor Jason C. Tramm's work in the symphonic, operatic, and choral repertoire has received acclaim nationally and internationally. Noted productions include a world premiere of the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess in Tirana, Albania at the request of the US Embassy. As Artistic Director for the NJ State Opera Tramm conducted the 75th anniversary production of the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at Newark Symphony Hall and conducted the HDTV broadcast presentation with PBS affiliate NJN, of "Verdi Requiem: Live from Ocean Grove" which garnered a regional Emmy Award nomination.
In addition to his position as Artistic Advisor and conductor to the Adelphi Orchestra Tramm currently serves as Director of Music Ministries, Ocean Grove CMA, conducting sacred and secular works. His concerts from the historic Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, New Jersey include national broadcasts of Léon Boëllmann's Fantasie-Dialogue for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 35 with famed organist Gordon Turk and the Rittenhouse Orchestra, and Alexandre Guilmant's Symphony Number 1 in d for Organ and Orchestra featured on American Public Media's "Pipe Dreams." Tramm conducted the MidAtlantic Opera's 2014 productions of Verdi's Rigoletto and the Verdi Bicentennial production Verdiana. A member of the faculty at Seton Hall University (Assistant Professor and Director of Choral Activities, College of Communication and the Arts) Tramm leads the University Choir, Chamber Choir and Orchestra. In 2015 Tramm made his Carnegie Hall debut during the Hall's 125th anniversary season conducting "A Prayer for Peace", the third concert in his 2015 Peace Trilogy which featured Behzad Ranjbaran's Elegy for Cello and Strings, Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem and Adnan Saygun's Selections from Yunis Emre.
The Adelphi Orchestra is a professional, non-profit orchestra offering symphonic, chamber, operatic and dance as well as a Young Artist Competition and concerts throughout New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area. The Adelphi Orchestra presents concerts with accomplished national and international guest soloists and distinguished conductors. Nominated by its peers for the 2016 Jersey Arts People's Choice Award in the Favorite Orchestra/Symphony Division, the Adelphi Orchestra is a member of the League of Orchestras. It is northern New Jersey's longest continuously performing orchestra and a member of the New Jersey cultural community for 62 years. The mission of the Adelphi Orchestra is to serve the musical and educational needs of the citizens of New Jersey, with special emphasis given to families with young children, seniors and those with limited financial means. To further this end, numerous concerts are offered free of admission charges. The Adelphi Orchestra strives to advance the orchestral arts through education, commissions, community partnerships and its robust young artist programing. To learn more about the orchestra and its programs visit www.adelphiorchestra.org.
Thursday, June 9, 2016 7:30 PM
Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center
129 West 67th Street, New York, NY 10036
Premium Seats $35-$45; Student/Senior $25
VIP Seats - $75 Includes reception following concert
Artwork by William Haney