Stephen Tong, Music Director
Seul Bi Lee, Violin
Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra


DVORAK Slavonic Dances
     i. Op.72 no. 2
     ii. Op.46 no. 1 & no. 8

MOZART Violin Concerto No. 5
     i. Allegro aperto
     ii. Adagio
     iii. Rondeau

INTERMISSION

DVORAK Symphony No. 9
     i. Adagio - Allegro molto
     ii. Largo
     iii. Scherzo: Molto vivace
     iv. Allegro con fuoco

STEPHEN TONG, Music Director

Stephen Tong is a man of many gifts. Fatherless at the age of 3, he was born with extraordinary sensitivity to all forms of art including music, painting, architecture, and sculpture. When Stephen was only 17 years old, he started to conduct works of oratorios and sacred music.

In 1985, Stephen led a 7-city concert rallies for the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of J. S. Bach and G. F. Handel, well attended by 27,000 people. He then founded Jakarta Oratorio Society in 1986, which regularly performs concerts in Jakarta. Occasionally Stephen would lead the choir in their tour to Singapore, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

In December 2008, Stephen took Jakarta by storm when 9,000 people attended the 2-performances of Handel's Messiah choruses. Over 200 performers of Jakarta Oratorio Society and orchestra performed under his baton. This marked the largest audience in the history of classical music performance in Indonesia.

Aula Simfonia Jakarta is another exhibit of Stephen's architectural achievement, with Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra as the newly formed and appointed orchestra-in-residence and Jakarta Oratorio Society as the choir-in-residence, Stephen inaugurated all these in October 2009 with a series of concerts to celebrate. Alongside with Jahja Ling, world-renowned Indonesian born conductor, Stephen conducted the works of Bach, Beethoven, Handel, and Haydn. Entering its 10th season, Aula Simfonia Jakarta has hosted over 200 performances of classical concerts.


Stephen has frequently conduct symphonies of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (all 9 symphonies), Brahms, and Dvorak; concertos for piano, cello, violin; overtures, incidental music, and sacred oratorios such as Haydn Creation, Mendelssohn Lobgesang, Mendelssohn Elijah, and Handel Messiah.

Stephen wanted to introduce and educate classical music to the people of Indonesia by bringing both Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra and Jakarta Oratorio Society in 2017. This Grand Concert Tour continued its journey in 2018, reaching Singapore with well received and sold out concert in Esplanade. Then in July 2019, the touring groups expanded its musical journey to Wei Wu Ying (Kaohsiung), National Concert Hall (Taipei), and Hong Kong. Jakarta as the capital of Indonesia was not left out, for its people witnessed one of the biggest crowds for classical music event in Konser Akbar Monas, attracting 23,000 people in attendance of different backgrounds, race, religion, and age.

Stephen is the Artistic Director of Aula Simfonia Jakarta, Music Director of Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra, and Jakarta Oratorio Society.

SEUL BI LEE, violin

Seul Bi Lee, was born in South Korea,started to play violin at the age of 5 under the guidance of Prof. Kyung Ik Hwang (President of Korea Suzuki Association and student of Shinichi Suzuki)

As a soloist she was invited to take part in concert tours in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Australia. Among other things, she has performed the Dvořák Violin Concerto in a minor op. 53 in Sydney, Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major op. 6 in Taipei and Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto No. 3 in b minor op. 61 in Daejeon. She has also won various South Korean national violin competitions at a very young age. At the age of 19, Seul Bi began her music education with the guidance of Prof. Elisabeth Weber and completed her Diploma of Allgemeine Künstlerische Ausbildung from Lübeck University of music, Germany. She also studied with the concertmaster of Philharmonisches Orchester der Hansestadt Lübeck, Carlos Johnson who was one of the students of Prof. Tibor Varga. After that, she continued her music education with Prof. Wolfgang Rausch at the Robert Schumann University Düsseldorf and received the Master of Music degree with the title "sehr gut".

As a chamber musician, she is a member of the Spielwerk Chamberensemble and Neues Chamberorchestra Düsseldorf. She has also appeared in world famous concert buildings such as Musik- und Kongresshalle Lübeck, Rudolf Oetker Halle and Berliner Philharmonie. Seulbi has also been invited to appear at the Bonn Beethoven Festival and the Brahms Festival.

During the summer, she also studied with world renowned violin players, such as Prof. Vladimir Ivanov at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory Summer Music Camp, Prof. Igor Oistrakh at the Mozarteum International Summer Academy and Prof. Heime Müller at Oberstdorfer Musiksommer.

Seulbi has had experiences as a member of the orchestra in Germany, such as in Philharmonisches Orchester Lübeck, Osnabrücker Symphonieorchester and Das Symphonische Detmold Orchester des Landestheaters.

From 2012 to 2017, she is a member of the Bielefelder Philharmoniker from Theatre Bielefeld.

Currently, Seul Bi Lee is resided in Jakarta and is a Co-Concert Master of Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra. As a chamber music player in Indonesia, she has collaborated with Alfred Sugiri and other famous Indonesian musicians. Not only that, as a pedagog, her students have won national and international competition. And she was often invited as a visiting professor by the Korea Suzuki Music Festival.

VIOLIN CONCERTO NO. 5 IN A MAJOR, K. 219

W. A. Mozart
1756 | January 27 – 1791 | December 5
Duration approximately 28 minutes

Mozart completed his Fifth Violin Concerto on December 20, 1775, when he was nineteen years old. It is considered the richest and most innovative of Mozart’s violin concertos, a testament to his rapid development as a composer. The brilliance of this work makes one regret all the more that, although Mozart lived another 16 years, the Fifth Violin Concerto proved to be his last. Who it was written for is not known, but it is possible that, among others, Mozart himself may have played it, since he was said to be an accomplished violinist.

The first movement is written in traditional sonata form, but also offers many inventive touches that vary the basic structure. It begins with an Allegro orchestral introduction, but then the violin enters with an Adagio of only six bars before resuming the Allegro. The soloist enters with a reflective slow episode before launching into a lively presentation of the various themes. The brief development journeys into the minor, but the recapitulation and solo cadenza recapture the high spirits with which the movement began.

In the middle of a graceful minuet movement, the music suddenly switches to an Allegro in the minor mode, and the meter changes from 3/4 to 2/4, as the violin and orchestra take up what is meant to suggest wild Turkish music. Turkish culture enjoyed a considerable fashion in eighteenth-century Europe with Turkish coffee, Turkish subjects in dramas and paintings, popular stories about Turkey in many operas, and many rulers creating janissary bands for their armies. Those janissary bands included not only loud wind instruments (e.g. fifes and shawms) but also "exotic" percussion (cymbals, triangles, and various drums), effects that many European composers imitated for special effects.

It is the third movement that gives this concerto its nickname, the "Turkish Concerto." The rondo finale, in the form A-B-A-C-A-D-A-B-A, begins as a stately, refined minuet, a stylized dance that is crisp and graceful. The Turkish dance moves along at breakneck speed, and short, rude chromatic waves sweep up and down in the orchestra between the fiddler’s sections. The low strings are even directed to play col legno, with the wood part of their bows. A cadenza links the gypsy episode back to the refined minuet, ending the movement as gracefully as it began.

SLAVONIC DANCES, OP. 46 & OP. 72

Antonín Dvořák
1841 | September 8 – 1904 | May 1
Duration approximately 14 minutes

Dvořák wrote the Slavonic Dances in 1878, at the urging of the German music publisher Fritz Simrock, to whom he had been introduced by Johannes Brahms, an early supporter of Dvořák’s music. Simrock requested a set of dances for piano duet, and, seeking to capitalize on a vogue for eastern European folk music, he specified that they should be based upon the music of the composer’s Bohemian homeland.

The eight Slavonic Dances, Op. 46, were the first efflorescence of the Czech nationalism that was to become so closely associated with Dvořák’s music. Though these pieces were originally intended for piano duet, Dvořák began the orchestrations even before the keyboard score for all eight dances was completed, and Simrock issued both versions simultaneously in August 1878. Louis Ehlert, the influential critic of the Berliner Nationalzeitung, saw an early copy of the Slavonic Dances, and wrote admiringly of their “heavenly naturalness” and Dvořák’s “real, naturally real talent.” This publication had brought Dvořák to international attention. Then eight years later (1886), Dvořák wrote a second series of Slavonic Dances (Op. 72). Both feature a variety of traditional forms, including polkas, kolos, sousedsky, and dumky.

Tonight JSO will be performing “Slavonic Dance”, Op. 42 No. 1 & 8, together with Op. 72 No. 2.


SYMPHONY NO. 9 IN 3 MINOR, OP. 95

Duration approximately 42 minutes

Until the twentieth century, American composers felt pressured to discover a truly “American” sound in their music. While Gershwin and Bernstein had jazz and blues available to them as musical material, American composers in the late nineteenth century had to search for other solutions to the problem of crafting a truly “American” music. Deciding that composers needed European help in this project, Jeanette Thurber (president of the National Conservatory of Music in America) invited Czech composer Antonín Dvořák to teach composition in New York in 1892. Thurber wanted Dvořák to help American composers discover their national sound. And while he was teaching there, Dvořák was drawn to American folk music of every kind. He frequently asked a Black composition student, Harry T. Burleigh, to sing and play him Negro spirituals and plantation songs. According to Burleigh, “Dvořák just saturated himself with the spirit of these old tunes.”

The title came to Dvořák as an afterthought, and he added it just before delivering the score to the Philharmonic, later explaining that it signified nothing more than “impressions and greetings from the New World.” But for that subtitle, a listener encountering the piece for the first time might not consider it less demonstrative of the “Czech spirit” than any of the composer’s other symphonies. Syncopated rhythms and modal melodies are emblematic of many folk and popular musical traditions, those of Bohemia and the United States included. Still, the work’s title invites one to recall how interested Dvořák was in African American and Native American music, and musicologists have found in its melodies echoes of such undeniably American tunes as Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

The second movement is a three-part form (A–B–A), with a haunting English horn melody (later fitted with words by William Arms Fisher to become the folksong-spiritual “Goin’ Home”) heard in the first and last sections. The recurring motto here is pronounced by the trombones just before the return of the main theme in the closing section. The third movement is a tempestuous scherzo with two gentle, intervening trios providing contrast. The motto theme, played by the horns, dominates the coda.

The finale employs a sturdy motive introduced by the horns and trumpets after a few introductory measures in the strings. In the Symphony’s closing pages, the motto theme, “Goin’ Home” and the scherzo melody are all gathered up and combined with the principal subject of the finale to produce a marvelous synthesis of the entire work—a look back across the sweeping vista of Dvořák’s musical tribute to America.

Written by Steffanie Surya