Archive for Monday, July 15, 2013

40 years ago: Young Lawrence girl works hard for her musical dream

July 15, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for July 15, 1973:

A front-page article this week highlighted young Lawrence resident Sarah Kwak, who at nine years old already had an ambition to become a concert violinist. Sarah, who had been playing for about four years, was to appear as guest soloist for the summer concert of the Kansas City Youth Symphony, playing Max Bruch's "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 26" on a three-quarter-size violin. According to the article, Sarah was not a member of the orchestra, which was composed of musicians aged 14 to 21, but had been asked to audition and had been chosen as soloist. Sarah came from a musical family; her mother, a pianist, had received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and Sarah's brother Larry, 14, had "followed Sarah into music three years ago" and had settled on the viola as his instrument. The Kwak family was planning to spend the next year in Vienna while Sarah and Larry's father (a Kansas University professor of physics) took his sabbatical; while there, Sarah hoped to pass another audition and a difficult entrance exam in order to attend the Vienna Music Academy.


Sarah St. John 4 years, 9 months ago

Sarah appears to have followed her dreams. A quick web search finds her in Minneapolis as recently as 2010-2011: "Acting Concertmaster Sarah Kwak, a Minnesota Orchestra member since 1988, has performed numerous solos with the Orchestra. Kwak, a 2008 McKnight Artist Fellowship winner, has also soloed with many orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and Curtis Chamber Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, she has toured internationally with the Casa Verde Trio, and has participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, Pensacola Festival, Pittsburgh Summerfest, Bargemusic of New York and Festival Mozart in France. She was a founding member of the Rosalyra String Quartet, which gave its New York debut in 1996 and was awarded a McKnight Artist Fellowship in 2000. The ensemble has released several CDs on the Artegra label.

"Born in Boston and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Kwak entered Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute at age 12, studied briefly at the Vienna Hochschule fur Musik and graduated from Curtis at age 19. Among her teachers were Joseph Sivo, Ivan Galamian and Szymon Goldberg. The winner of numerous competitions, including the 1989 WAMSO Young Artist Competition, Kwak was also the first artist ever to capture all three memorial awards at the Washington International Competition. Before coming to the Twin Cities, she served on the faculty of Princeton University." [From]

In spite of receiving early honors for his skill on the viola, her brother Larry took a different career path.......

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