Se-hee Jin

Sunday, March 10, 2024 · 4:00 pm

Program included: Procaccini, Giuranna, Harbison, Franck

Dr. Jin is acclaimed for her keen musical intelligence and exquisite sensitivity as a recitalist. She founded the American Living Composer Series, featuring solo piano music representing different nationalities and cultures. Her program will include works by Teresa Procaccini, Elena Barbara Giuranna, John Harbison, and César Franck.


Teresa Procaccini - Nove Preludi, Op. 29

1. L'airone (The Heron)

2. Il Colibrì (The Hummingbird)

3. Il Cigno (The Swan)

4. Il Passero (The Sparrow)

6. Il Cucù (The Cuckoo)

Elena Barbara Giuranna - Toccata

John Harbison - Four More Occasional Pieces

I. Minuet

II. Gavotte

III. Waltz

IV. Tango

Harbison - Gatsby Etudes

I. Parlors

II. Parties

III. The Green Lights

César Franck - Prélude, Choral et Fugue, FWV 21


Review by Paul Baker

Preludes, toccatas, etudes, chorales and fugues: these musical forms have inspired composers over the centuries.
On March 10 Se-Hee Jin presented a program illustrating how these traditional forms have been employed by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Cesar Franck and contemporary composers, including her mentor John Harbison.

Dr. Jin is a Assistant Professor of Piano at Texas Tech University, teaching applied piano lessons, keyboard literature, chamber music, and co-directing the Contemporary Music Ensemble.

Her March 10th program theme, Baroque and Classical Reflections, showcased both tradition and innovation.
She added Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in D minor and Fugue in D minor to the program after the booklet was printed. The Prelude offered pastel colors worthy of Ravel and Fauré. He composed the complex Fugue as an exercise at age 12.

Jin’s continuing search for new music by living composers led her to include works by two Italians. Each of Teresa Procaccini’s “Nine Preludes” is named for a bird: heron, hummingbird, swan, sparrow, and cuckoo. Italian composer Elena Barbara Giuranna’s “Toccata” opened with the expected velocity and drama of the form (and Jin advised he audience to listen for hints of Scarlatti) but the evolved into a stately chorale-like movement, building to sweeping arpeggios and ending suddenly on a major chord.

After intermission, Tim Farley shared the history of tonight’s instrument, a rebuilt Mason Hamlin circa 1905-1907, the brand Pablo Casals preferred that his accompanists use. This instrument has been fitted with a spoked tension resonator for increased resonance.

As a student, Se-hee Jin worked with composer John Harbison in 2011 when he served as her chamber coach at Tanglewood Music Festival. She was so impressed that she recorded a CD of Harbison’s solo piano music (John Harbison Piano Works, Naxos Records). Harbison can “sound like all different composers,” Jin said, from Bach to Stravinsky.

Wearing a floor-length black gown, Jin introduced Harbison’s “Four More Occasional Pieces” as informed by the rhythms and gestures of dance. Harbison dedicated each movement to a colleague or family member. Minuet was written for composer Joan Tower; he dedicated the Gavotte to Harriet Thiele Statz, manager of the first Token Creek International Chamber Festival. She was in the audience for this performance and took a bow. Harbison wrote the Waltz for Mary Rose Harbison for their 24th wedding anniversary; and Tango for the son of friends.

Harbison composed “Gatsby Etudes” while preparing his 1999 opera “The Great Gatsby,” commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. The three movements evoked Gershwin’s pastel harmonies (Parlors), ragtime bands (Parties), and nocturnal wisps of steam (The Green Light).

The highlight of the evening was Jin’s performance, by memory, of César Franck’s epic-length Prélude, Choral et Fugue. The 1884 piece embodies Franck's use of cyclic form, as elements of the Prélude and Choral reappear in the Fugue. Primarily an homage to J.S. Bach, the piece also hints at Beethoven, Schumann, and Liszt.

This Sunday afternoon concert was greeted with enthusiastic applause for Dr. Jin, a young performer and educator whose musicianship and scholarship have already taken her far.