Robert Zappulla, harpsichord, and Jenny Soonjin Kim, piano: “From Couperin to Beethoven: The European Keyboard in Different Guises”

Robert Zappulla, harpsichord

Jenny Soonjin Kim, piano
Wenqing Zhang, accompanist

Sunday, April 9, 2023, 7 p.m.
Drinkward Recital Hall

A headshot of pianist Jenny Soonjin Kim with her arms folded and hair down.
Jenny Soonjin Kim. Photo courtesy of the artist.


Robert Zappulla, harpsichord: “Mr. Couperin”

Suite in D minor









Chaconne la Complaignante
Authorship of these pieces traditionally has been attributed to Louis Couperin (ca. 1626-1661), but recent research—specifically, that of harpsichordist and conductor Glen Wilson—has cast serious doubt on that attribution.  It seems much more likely that they were composed by Louis’ brother, Charles Couperin (1638-1679), father of François Couperin (le Grand; 1668-1733).

Numbers in brackets refer to the pieces as ordered in the l’Oiseau-Lyre edition (Monaco, 2004) by Davitt Moroney.

The harpsichord, based on a Flemish instrument constructed in 1640 by Johannes Ruckers, was built by Robert Greenberg in Berkeley, California in 1980.  Its range is GG/BB-d''' (short octave), and it is disposed 2x8', 1x4', buff.  It has been tuned in quarter-comma meantone temperament, using A415 as a basis, for this performance.

Jenny Soonjin Kim, piano, and Wenqing Zhang, accompanist

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15 by L.v. Beethoven (1770-1827)
Allegro con brio
Rondo: Allegro Scherzando

Robert Zappulla holds the Fred W. Smith and Grace Hobson Smith Chair in Music at Claremont Graduate University and is known primarily as a harpsichordist and scholar specializing in the field of historical performance practices. His Figured Bass Accompaniment in France (2000) is a comprehensive study of French accompaniment treatises produced during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; his translation with commentary of Vincenzo Manfredini's Regole Armoniche, a 1775 treatise dealing primarily with Italian continuo practices, also was recently published.  He is editor of the music journal, Performance Practice Review, and was consulting editor for Encyclopedia of the Harpsichord and Clavichord (2006). A former harpsichord pupil (as Fulbright Scholar) of the late, world-renowned harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt, Professor Zappulla has appeared as soloist or continuist throughout North America and Europe. He has played with local period ensembles as well, including Con Gioia, the Angeles Consort, and the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra.  He is also the director of Concordia Clarimontis.  Professor Zappulla currently is recording two CDs, of selected harpsichord works by Louis Couperinand Girolamo Frescobaldi, for the Delos label.

Jenny Soonjin Kim has established an international reputation as a performing artist on piano and fortepiano. As an exclusive Sony Classical artist, her album “Eternal Beethoven,” released in 2022, included 15 Variations and a Fugue on an original theme, “Eroica”, Op. 35; Bagatelles, Op. 126; and Sonata No. 32 in C Major, Op. 111. As a dynamic and prolific artist throughout her career, not only has she recorded keyboard works ranging from Bach to Schoenberg for Arabesque Records (which once nominated her for the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award), but also the complete keyboard sonatas of both Leopold Kozeluch and Johann Friedrich Doles (a world premiere) on fortepiano for Brilliant Classics. The complete, 12-CD box-set recording of the 50 keyboard sonatas of Kozeluch was released in October 2020. Beginning in August 2023, she has been contracted by the Euro Sinfonietta Vienna Orchestra to perform and live-record the complete 5 piano concertos of Beethoven in Vienna, Austria.

In her role as a renowned international artist, Kim has performed in major international venues in Europe, Asia, and North America. Kim was selected to perform Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonie lead by Yunsung Chang in Musikverein Golden Hall, Vienna to commemorate the 130th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Austria in 2022. Kim performed Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 with the Orquestra Sinfónica de Torrevieja conducted by José Francisco Sánchez in Spain and was invited to perform Mozart's piano concerto, K.466 (using a cadenza composed by Beethoven) with Bibiena Chamber Orchestra conducted by Frantz Schottky in Teatro Bibiena, Mantua, Italy. Kim was also invited to perform at the China Sanya International Piano Festival in Hainan Province, China and in Taipei, Taiwan, and performed Kozeluch’s First Piano Concerto in F Major with the Philharmony Hradec Králové conducted by Filippo Arlia at Smetana Hall, Prague in October 2019.

Antoni Jakubowski, music critic (Torrevieja Target: Cultural Press), wrote of Chopin’s first piano concerto: “…Guest soloist Jenny Soonjin Kim dazzled the audience with her performance, conveying all these characteristics in an impressive and convincing way. Utilizing her technical skills, she at the same time impressed with a lot of musicality, sensitivity and poetic, thoughtful and romantic interpretation…”.  Michael Allhoff, owner of Costa Blanca Leben, wrote: “…With verve, dedication and precision, the piano soloist Jenny Soonjin Kim interpreted the Concerto No. 1 by Chopin…” Sylvia Berry (Early Music America) wrote of the second Kozeluch volume:Kim’s playing is crystalline and lyrical, with exquisitely sensitive phrasing. She is an assured virtuoso who interprets Kozeluch’s music beautifully.”  Marco Frei (Germany’s Piano News) wrote of the Doles recording: “Once again the instrument convinces with an unheard-of floating tonal quality in piano and a voluminous expression in forte, and Kim knows how to use this fascinating richness of color perfectly…With this premiere recording Kim has taken an exemplary view, because it brings together the sound poetry and the gripping verve in a meaningful way.” 

Kim has been invited to teach masterclasses at the Wiener Musik Seminar International Master Classes at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna in 2023. She also served as an international judicator for notable events which included the Scriabin International Piano Competition held in Grosseto, Italy in July 2021 and the U.S. Golden State International Strings & Piano Competition in August 2021, sponsored by the Chinese government.

Kim is currently an Assistant Professor of Practice at Claremont Graduate University, overseeing its piano/fortepiano program and directing Performance Forum. She also serves on the board of directors of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble, involved as an education committee and gala host committee member.

Kim obtained the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in Historical Performance Practices/Keyboard Studies from Claremont Graduate University in California; a diploma in Music Business/Music Management and Merchandising from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA); a Master’s Degree in piano performance and Graduate Certificate at the University of Southern California (USC); a diploma at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg; and a Bachelor of Arts degree at Seoul National University.

Visit Safely
The concert series is open to the public. All audience members are required to give health attestation before entering the venue and wear a mask at all times regardless of vaccination status. The Covid-19 guidelines will be updated as new information becomes available.

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