HEAR: Sarah Plum & Francine Kay play Beethoven at IPR

Dec 8, 2015

Violinist Sarah Plum won a gold medal at the International Stulberg Competion (other medalists have included Joshua Bell and Jennifer Koh) and went on to become a great violinist - but less renowned than she deserves to be, because she usually focuses on new music, including a CD this year of two concertos composed for her.  But she also can play Vivaldi and Beethoven like a god, as she's demonstrated in performances at IPR's studio. (At her recent visit, she also played Bartok - I'll post that next week. She's in the process of recording his complete violin music; the first CD came out this year and it too is amazing.) At the piano was Francine Kay of Princeton University, herself a noted recording artist (her recordings of Ravel, Satie, and Debussy are bliss!). Francine, a student of Leon Fleisher, Gilbert Kalish, Adele Marcus, and Gyorgy Sebok, has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Salle Gaveau and on the BBC and Radio France. While in Iowa she took part in Drake University's "Keys to Excellence" piano series.

Sarah Plum and Francine Kay perform at IPR's studios in Cedar Falls, with Jacqueline Hallbloom turning pages
Credit Barney Sherman

At IPR, it turned out that they needed a page turner (that Bartok has a lot of notes!) - and our own Jacqueline Halbloom volunteered and performed admirably. Meanwhile, Sarah's son Jens hung out with recording engineer Phil Maass and the two became buddies, bonding over IPR's huge mixing board and the forthcoming Star Wars film! Phil's audio engineering was, in Sarah's words "really exceptional," as you'll hear when you listen by clicking on the arrow below.

The clip below begins with Sarah telling me a little about her main teacher, the legendary vi0linist and conductor  Szymon Goldberg - who was concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic for Wilhelm Furtwaengler, chamber-music partner of Radu Lupu, Lili Kraus, Paul Hindemith and Emanuel Feurmann, and founding conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. 

Phil Maass, IPR's engineer, and his new buddy, Jens!
Credit Barney Sherman

Click on the arrow below to hear that and Beethoven's Violin Sonata no. 10: