Eunice Tong, Conductor
Randy Ryan, Piano
Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto
i. Allegro affettuoso
ii. Intermezzo: Andantino grazioso
iii. Allegro vivace
DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 8
i. Allegro con brio
iii. Allegretto grazioso — Molto vivace
iv. Allegro ma non troppo
EUNICE TONG, Conductor
A graduate of Westminster Choir College, New Jersey, Eunice Tong studied under the tutelage of Joseph Flummerfelt and Andrew Megill. Whilst there, she was able to perform with Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Lorin Maazel, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Neeme Järvi, Anton Armstrong, Alan Gilbert, Dale Warland, and Joseph Flummerfelt.
Eunice has been the Chorus Master of Jakarta Oratorio Society since 2006, leading the choir to perform the greatest works of Bach, Brahms, Handel, Mendelssohn, Bernstein, and many more. Jakarta Oratorio Society as the choir-in-residence of Aula Simfonia Jakarta is an ensemble with the most demanding choral repertoire performances in Indonesia, with up to 5 major works per year.
As the Assistant Conductor of Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra, she is engaged to conduct concerts such as Symphonic Series, Mass and Oratorio Series, Concerto Series, and the beloved Family Concert Series.
Since its opening in 2009, Eunice has been assigned as the Managing Director and the Director of Artistic Planning of Aula Simfonia Jakarta, working alongside with many local musicians and corresponding with international artists. In 2020, when the pandemic took over the world and silenced many halls, Eunice passionately introduced the Chamber Music Society of Aula Simfonia Jakarta. In this setting, music can be played by Indonesian musicians and chamber music repertoires are gently brought back to the attention of classical music lovers.
RANDY RYAN, Piano
Acclaimed as one of the most promising young pianists in his home country of Indonesia, Randy Ryan has performed frequently as a chamber musician and as a soloist around the world. He made his concerto debut at the age of 10 performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major k.414 with the Jakarta Concert Orchestra. Ever since then, he has performed with many orchestras, such as the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, Yayasan Musik Jakarta Orchestra, and Jakarta Sinfonietta. Recently, he has been featured in performances in United States, Italy, Poland, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, and various cities in Indonesia.
An avid chamber musician, he performed Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion in the Juilliard Chamber Festival 2014. Most recently he participated in the Juilliard Chamber Festival 2017, performing Mieczylaw Weinberg’s Piano Quintet after coaching by the world-renowned cellist Joel Krosnick. He was one of six participants at Piano Academy Eppan, Italy under the guidance of Pavel Gillilov. He also received an opportunity to visit Paris and Poland to give concerts and to study with the legendary pianist Paul Badura-Skoda, who praised Randy for his “ poetic nature and a warm touch from such one of the most promising young artist.”
He is a graduate of the Juilliard School where he studied with Hung-Kuan Chen and Matti Raekallio. Randy completed his masters of music degree in piano performance and pedagogy at the Peabody Conservatory of Music with a full scholarship, studying with the legendary pianist and teacher Leon Fleisher. Since his passing in August 2020, Randy has completed his graduate performance diploma in 2021 under the tutelage of prof. Yong-Hi Moon
PIANO CONCERTO IN A MINOR, OP. 54
1810 | June 8 – 1856 | July 29
Duration approximately 37 minutes
Robert Schumann composed this Piano Concerto in two parts separated by a four year gap. In 1841, he wrote a Fantasy for piano and orchestra dedicated to his wife, Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896) that later on became the first movement of the Piano Concerto. He then completed the second and third movements in 1845. It was premiered at Gewandhaus Concert in Leipzig in 1846 with Clara as soloist.
This is the only piano concerto Robert Schumann ever written and proffered a totally new idea of a piano concerto. It demands sensitivity, poise, clarity and control from the soloist. At times, the pianist had to be a good accompanist as well as soloist, evidenced herein when the soloist accompanies a clarinet solo in the first movement. Overall the piano and orchestra form an integrated whole weaving subtle textures together with delightful lyricism.
The first (Allegro affettuoso) opens in dramatic fashion, with a forte orchestral chord, immediately followed by an emphatic descending passage for the soloist. This is followed by a simple expressive melody, played by the woodwinds; the oboes, supported by the clarinets, bassoons, and horns, sing the espressivo principal theme, soon repeated by the soloist.
The brief second movement (Intermezzo. Andantino grazioso) is in A—B—A form. It is based on a gentle beautiful melody with a slightly uncertain halting character. The soloist, in dialogue with the strings, presents the charming opening theme, derived from the ascending portion of the principal melody of the first movement. A magical cello and piano dialogue occupies the middle section. The third section references the now familiar first theme, and leads to a highly dramatic conclusion as the theme fades into silence. A horn call, seemingly from a great distance, bridges directly into the vivacious last movement.
In the finale (Allegro vivace), the soloist introduces the joyous principal theme, again related to the principal melody of the opening movement. The main theme re-emerges returning for a final bow, but changes its rhythm and character. Then it concludes in a boisterous mood with brilliant passagework from the soloist and large supporting orchestral chords in a spirited coda. Herein, Schumann fully satisfied the taste and custom of concerto brilliance, but he simply saved it for the finale. Gaining acclaim slowly, the work has earned its place not only as one of the most authentic documents of musical romanticism, but also among the most beautiful concerti in piano repertoire.
SYMPHONY NO. 8 IN G MAJOR, OP. 88
1841 | September 8 – 1904 | May 1
Duration approximately 38 minutes
This symphony was written between August 26 and November 8 in 1899, and premiered in Prague on February 2, 1890 with Dvořák himself as the conductor. At the time of the composition, Dvořák said that he wanted “to write a work different from my other symphonies with individual ideas worked out in a new manner”, and he was clearly successful in that intent. Formally the works follows the classical pattern, and has obvious influences from Beethoven in the second and fourth movements, however the use of harmony and melody departs from earlier models and create a work of great originality. Most notably he makes use of simple folk like melodies with Czech character, but weaves them into a coherent form through very subtle development.
It is a work that is often described as “sunny” as well as “songful,” “warm,” and “optimistic,” and, in many important ways, it is all of those things. Biographer Hanz-Hubert Schönzeler observed, “When one walks in those forests surrounding Dvořák’s country home on a sunny summer’s day, with the birds singing and the leaves of trees rustling in a gentle breeze, one can virtually hear the music.” There are passages of drama, exhilaration, happiness and nostalgia. Overall it is a work that evokes a wide range of human emotions and is yet profoundly optimistic.
The Eighth Symphony begins with a hint of darkness to come, with a long, lyrical and melancholy melody played by the cellos. It is the most elaborate and complex symphonic movement Dvorak ever wrote, a huge span of musical architecture anchored to the three occurrences of the cello theme from the beginning- a melody that he never significantly develops or modulates. It ends in raucous good spirits and blazing energy.
In the second movement, Dvořák was most at home in rural settings, and the music of this Adagio evokes the tranquil landscapes of the garden at Vysoká, his country home. In a manner similar to Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, the music suggests an idyllic summer’s day interrupted by a cloudburst, after which the sun reappears, striking sparkles from the raindrops.
The scherzo is in G minor, and begins with a long, soulful melody which is built entirely of descending scales set in descending sequences- hardly the stuff of a naïve, upbeat symphony. The second theme is also made entirely of descending lines, only now Dvorak uses a chromatic scale, which only intensifies the sense of darkness in the music- it is a melodic gesture used since Bach to symbolize falling tears. The central trio section presents some of the most agreeably countrified material Dvořák ever wrote.
The finale begins with a trumpet fanfare and continues with a theme and several variations. The theme, introduced
by the cellos, is a natural subject of such deceptive simplicity that it cost its normally tuneful composer nine drafts
before he was satisfied. The variations, which incorporate everything from a sunny flute solo to a determined march
in the minor mode, eventually fade to a gentle farewell before Dvořák adds one last rip-roaring page to ensure the
audience enthusiasm that, by 1889, he had grown to expect. Though staying firmly in major, this is Dvorak at his
most heart breaking emotion, one gets the feeling that he is facing the prospect of letting go of something very
dear to him in this music.
Written by Steffanie Surya