The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is one of the largest organizations of its kind in North America boasting a 70 city world tour and over a hundred musicians who come through to perform every year. Still, since only a handful of musicians take the stage at any given time, co-artistic director and pianist Wu Han says chamber music tends to be a much more intimate affair.
“Suddenly, I have four or five colleagues traveling with me, having dinner together, enjoying each other’s company.” She says that kind of camaraderie can translate into an inspiring rehearsal process and make for an even better performance. She adds, “when things are so in sync, it’s just the most beautiful thing.”
Wu Han serves as the co-artistic director alongside her husband, the longtime Emerson String Quartet cellist and David Finckel. She calls their partnership “incredibly inspiring,” saying he has “massive knowledge” when it comes to string playing and chamber music repertoire, setting the highest standard for all of the musicians around him.
Her reverence for Finckel aside, Wu Han has also had a formidable career as a soloist and chamber musician. On stage since she was just 12 years-old, Wu Han said she discovered chamber music when she was twenty-one and called it a “revelation.” Since then she has made her career out of performing and directing chamber ensembles. In addition to her appointment with CMS Lincoln Center, a position she and Finckel have held since 2004, Wu Han also leads several other chamber groups and festivals around the world; one of which is right here in California. Music@Menlo is a renowned chamber festival located in Silicon Valley that takes place over the course of a month in the summer.
Wu Han explains that her impetus for programming the music of Brahms and Dvorak for Sunday’s concert was that they were friends. “In these days I always feel the personal relationships are so, so important,” she stated. “If the audience knows that the two composers had a great friendship, I think it will add an extra dimension in the way you listen to the music.”
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performs in Grass Valley this Sunday at 2 p.m. presented by In-Concert Sierra. You can also catch CMS broadcasts every Sunday at 1 p.m. on CapRadio’s Music Station.