College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

Charleston Music Fest 2011-12


College of Charleston School of the Arts will present the sixth season of Charleston Music Fest (CMF), with the opening concert on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Director of Strings and Associate Professor of Violin Lee-Chin Siow, and Natalia Khoma, Associate Professor of Cello, both CMF co-directors, will perform in concert with renowned Finnish pianist Matti Raekallio, a member of the piano faculty at Juilliard. The program will include “Sonata No. 2 in A Major for Violin and Piano, op. 100” by J. S. Brahms, and two pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven, “Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 47” (Appassionata) and “Piano Trio, Op. 70 No. 1” (Ghost).

Siow, recently awarded the 2012 Music Performance Fellowship by the South Carolina Arts Commission, explains, “This semester, we are very excited to have Matti Raekallio join us as a visiting artist to perform and also conduct a separate masterclass at the College. I met Matti when we were on the jury at Oberlin Conservatory’s concerto competition last year, and he was thrilled with the opportunity to perform and work with students in Charleston.”

In addition to Juilliard, Raekallio has been a professor in some of the most prestigious institutions of music education, including the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hanover, Germany and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. He has a long list of students who are top prizewinners in international competitions.

The concert will take place at 8 p.m. on November 18, in the Recital Hall of the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 St. Philip St. Concert tickets are $25 each and can be purchased by calling (843) 953-0935 or emailing Tickets will also be sold at the door one hour before curtain, based on availability. Reservations are strongly recommended. For more information on the season’s performances visit

One of CMF’s main objectives is to create more opportunities for local, young musicians by providing the chance to learn from world-class artists and be inspired to strive for excellence. Musicians in Charleston’s high schools and youth orchestras are invited to attend Raekallio’s FREE masterclass at the College on Saturday, Nov. 19.

“Working side by side with top artists and teachers from the world’s best conservatories is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many young people. These days when many school music programs are affected by budget cuts, we want CMF to embrace more young people in the community and serve as a role model to inspire and to inform budding musicians of the possibilities open to them,” explains Siow.

Meghan Henson, a sophomore violin major at the College, has found that masterclasses are essential for aspiring artists. She explains, “Masterclasses with Charleston Music Fest’s distinguished musicians are exhilarating opportunities for a young performer like me. It is a joy to play in these masterclasses, and it complements what I learn from my own teachers.”

Artist Biographies
Lee-Chin Siow, violinist, is lauded by the American Record Guide as “a distinguished cultural asset of international stature” and “the trailblazing role model for string players” by The Strad, Voice for the String Music World Since 1890.  Gold medal winner of the 1994 Henryk Szeryng International Violin Competition, Siow has performed to critical acclaim throughout the world, from Carnegie Hall to Japan’s Osaka Symphony Hall. Co-founder and co-director of the Charleston Music Fest, Siow is also the Director of Strings and Associate Professor of violin at the College of Charleston. .

Natalia Khoma, cellist, “…plays with masterful authority…magical and deeply touching…” (NewYork Concert Review), thrilling audiences around the world and capturing top honors at the All-Ukrainian competition (1981), the Budapest Pablo Casals Competition (1985), the Tchaikovsky International Competition (1990), and the Belgrade International Cello Competition (1990). Khoma is an Associate Professor of cello at College of Charleston, and co-founder and co-director of the Charleston Music Fest.

Finnish pianist Matti Raekallio, has established himself as a prominent concert artist with a huge repertoire. A member of the piano faculty at Juilliard School, his students includes several top prizewinners in international piano competitions, among them the First Prize laureates in Leeds, AXA Dublin, London, Vienna, New York, and Budapest. He has been a juror in several international competitions, including Tel Aviv (Artur Rubinstein), Geneva, Shanghai, Vienna (Beethoven), American Pianists’ Association, The Gilmore Prize, Tokyo (PTNA) and many others.

Three other concerts in 2012 will continue the CMF season:

The Poinsett Piano Trio will perform on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012.
After having performed together with great success for several years and in various chamber music configurations, David Gross, Deirdre Hutton, and Christopher Hutton founded the Poinsett Piano Trio in 2008. All three members live in Greenville, South Carolina and teach at Furman University.

Moscow Conservatory Night will take place on Friday, April 6, 2012.
New York Philharmonic violinist and first prize winner of the 16th International Violin Competition in Belgrade Anna Rabinova joins cellist Natalia Khoma and pianist Volodymyr Vynnytsky to perform in Charleston Music Fest’s spring concert. A faculty member of the Manhatten School of Music, Anna has also taught at Moscow’s Gnessin Institute. Free admission to masterclass on Saturday, April 7, 2012.

Songs of Triumph will take place on Friday, April 20, 2012.
String virtuosos and co-directors of CMF Lee-Chin Siow and Natalia Khoma join forces with pianist Volodymyr Vynnytsky to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit through the music of Mozart and Chausson. The grace of Mozart’s trio  soars above his dark moments of financial despair, while Chausson, born into wealth, overcame family objections to pursue his love for music. His Trio in G minor is one of his finest creations, displaying his singular genius with its depth of feeling and sheer beauty. Join Siow and Khoma for more inspirational insights in their free masterclass on Saturday, April 21, 2012.


 The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC, November 13, 2011

 Charleston City Paper, November 16, 2011