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The Beauty of Chamber Music

The Beauty of Chamber Music
By Jeeyoon Kim  • Issue #31 • View online
Hello friends!
In the past month I have been working on chamber music repertoire to prepare for my upcoming concert with Hausmann Quartet on November 5, 6, and 7 in San Diego. For me the piano is the queen of all instruments - a perfect chameleon as it can be completely on its own or work in beautiful harmony with other instruments. It can imitate the most thunderous sonority of an orchestra, yet has the ability to produce the most sensitive and intimate sound. Generally speaking, the majority of my concerts are as a soloist or with an orchestra. For me the occasional collaboration with a small group of musicians feels like an unexpected excursion to the nearby countryside or a rare treat. 
How is chamber music different from performing solo? 
You have probably heard of the South Korean boy band BTS. Although I can’t say I am a huge fan of BTS, I appreciate their beautiful choreography and a personality as a group and individuals. I am sure that any of the members of BTS is capable of being an excellent solo artist, yet there is something very special about the unity created by each individual. I find that it is similar with chamber music. There is a different level of vulnerability; one has to trust and listen to each other, then create something beautiful such in an organic way as if we are in a real-time discussion about a certain theme that is broadcast. It is a dance that works only when everyone in a group is fully present, works with the others, and relies on each other through keen listening. Since one can never know how exactly the others will play a certain line, there is always a sense of improvisational character in chamber music that is thrilling for me. I often even forget that there is an audiences in a concert when I play chamber music as my every ounce of attention goes on our musical conversation and nothing matters at that moment. 
Solo performance is different. I communicate with the music and composers in the spirit, try to listen and respond to my sound where the most natural musical energy leads me somewhere, doing my best to go beyond the humane realm spiritually. In chamber music I stay connected to other human beings in the present time while I go beyond to connect with music spiritually. It is a triangular dimension that I strive to keep in balance in chamber music that makes the experience unique and fun. 
Your listening 
The next time when you have a chance to go to a live performance of chamber music try to tune into their musical conversations and how the musicians respond to each other. Did you catch any of each player’s unique character in the group? How do they interact and create unity? Who is your favorite player? What is your favorite moment? Can you create a story with the music in your head? 
I am excited for your listening treat for a live performance soon! 
Have a wonderful week! 💕

Looking forward to this concert very much!
Looking forward to this concert very much!
My favorite things this week
  1. A podcast - An episode on the Work Ethic by Jon Dengler. This almost 2 hours long conversation goes deeply into discipline, music, and metacognition. I asked the host “Will there be anyone who can listen to a 2 hours long episode?” after our talk, and he confidently said “Yes! You will be surprised how many people actually prefer a conversation that goes deeper for a long time in the world of podcasts.” Hope you enjoy it! 
  2. Korean rice cake - It was the Korean Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, which is called Chu-Seok. Although it has been over 18 years since I was in Korea to celebrate this big holiday with the family, I’ve got to enjoy the holiday with the freshly made Korean rice cake; chewy, warm, favorable, a hint of sweetness, and a taste of home. 
Have you ever tried Korean rice cakes? They are hundreds varieties of them!
Have you ever tried Korean rice cakes? They are hundreds varieties of them!
My favorite Music This Week
IGUDESMAN & JOO - Rachmaninov had big Hands
IGUDESMAN & JOO - Rachmaninov had big Hands
One of my students is working on this piece of music by Rachmaninoff and we laughed so hard at this video as we actually know that this is what it takes to play this piece with a normal hand span. 
Quote of the Week
“A good teacher does not teach facts, he or she teaches enthusiasm, open-mindedness and values.” -Gian-Carlo Rota
Tweet of the Week
Jeeyoon Kim, pianist
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@jeeyoon_pianist is creating an engaging and meaningful connection with a classical music. You can support by buying a coffee ☕️ here —
This Week's Video to Highlight
Live performance of Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 and No. 2 in F major (w/ talk at the end)
Live performance of Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 and No. 2 in F major (w/ talk at the end)
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Jeeyoon Kim

Hi, I am Jeeyoon, classical pianist, educator, author, podcaster and YouTuber from US, originally from South Korea. I am passionate about creating a classical music more relevant and friendly to everyone, creating a bridge between me and audiences, and sharing behind the scenes of a life of classical pianist. I write bi-weekly newsletter with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discovered during those weeks.

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