Chaeyoung Park

Chaeyoung Park, piano
Virtual Piano Recital

7 p.m. CST, December 11, 2020 - January 31, 2021 | VIRTUAL EVENT (free)


NOTE: Link is available until midnight January 31, 2021.

Chaeyoung Park, winner of the 2019 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, performs around the world but calls Lawrence, Kansas, her second home.

NOTE: Link is available until midnight January 31, 2021.


  • Four Duets, BWV (802-805) (11 min.)
    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
  • Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major,
    Op. 106,
     Hammerklavier (First and second movements) (13 min.)
    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
  • Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5 (35 min.)
    Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Holiday Gift! Nutcracker Suite: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Trepak (Russian Dance) (4 min.)
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Notes on the Program

written by Patrick Neas

Four Duets, BWV (802-805) (11 min.)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

These duets are some of Bach’s finest music. They come from the Clavier-Übung III, also known as the German Organ Mass, by Johann Sebastian Bach. Although most of the works in the German Organ Mass are for organ, the Four Duets lend themselves particularly well to the piano. In these pieces, “duet” does not refer to two instruments, but to two melodic lines. Each hand plays independently, as though the music is being played by two people. All four duets display the counterpoint for which Bach is renowned. Yet all four convey different moods, demonstrating how Bach can take a strict intellectual form like counterpoint and infuse it with a variety of human emotions from pensive to delightful.

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106, Hammerklavier (First and second movements) (13 min.)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

To many connoisseurs, like the acclaimed pianist Charles Rosen, the Hammerklavier is the greatest of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. In German, hammerklavier refers to the instrument for which it was written – fortepiano, a crisp-sounding keyboard instrument that has only one pedal played with the knee. With three foot pedals and a wider octave range, the modern piano has a richness the fortepiano lacks.

The first phrase of the explosive first movement is very vigorous and then falls back into a kind of polite reply, with the two moods alternating for the rest of the movement. The much shorter second movement is almost Beethoven making fun of himself. One of the greatest – but often overlooked – qualities of Beethoven’s music is its humor, and the second movement is downright jocular. It’s a kind of relief; a very pleasant respite before the deeply felt and highly cerebral movements that follow.

Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5 (35 min.)
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Johannes Brahms was only 20 years old when he composed Piano Sonata No. 3, a work infused with the spirit of Beethoven. The famous “duh-duh-duh-DUH” motif from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is echoed in the first, third and fourth movements. The sonata begins with powerful, Beethovenian fortissimo chords. The movement is a study in contrasts between tumult and serenity with strong, contrasting rhythms.

In the second movement, two themes alternate – hinting at the beating of two hearts and painting a picture of lovers under the moon. The gushingly romantic second movement starts with a poem by Otto Inkermann (under the pseudonym of C.O. Sternau):

Der Abend dämmert, das Mondlicht scheint,
da sind zwei Herzen in Liebe vereint
und halten sich selig umfangen

Through evening’s shade, the pale moon gleams,
While rapt in love’s ecstatic dreams
Two hearts are fondly beating

The third movement is a lively scherzo full of dazzling arpeggios and a noble, chordal middle section. The fourth movement, Rückblick (looking back), is a reflection on the second movement, although the short-short-short-long figure of Beethoven’s “fate” theme is also heard. The final movement is a rondo that starts with swagger, then quickly becomes lyrical before a march tramps through the proceedings. A solemn anthem is heard among it all, casting a sort of benediction. Brahms concludes his sonata with lots of variety and virtuosic flourishes.

Nutcracker Suite: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Trepak (Russian Dance) (4 min.) Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the story on which the ballet The Nutcracker is based, is a quintessential tale of the Romantic era. Its author, E.T.A. Hoffmann, like other Romantics, was rebelling against the rationalistic Enlightenment through his fantastical tales. From a mysterious uncle with a magical nutcracker, to an expanding Christmas tree, to a battle with an army of mice, the ballet is filled with visual and aural wonders.

The centerpiece of the ballet is the visit of heroine Clara and her nutcracker prince to the Kingdom of the Sweets. Here, they are entertained with a series of tableaux that depict tasty delights from across the world like Arabian coffee and Spanish chocolate. Two of the most famous dances are the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Russian dance, Trepak. Marius Petipa, who choreographed the first production of The Nutcracker, wanted the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to sound like drops of water shooting from a fountain. Tchaikovsky achieved this effect by using the celeste, an instrument that had never before been used. Tchaikovsky described the celeste as “midway between a tiny piano and a glockenspiel, with a divinely wonderful sound.”

Although it’s referred to as a Russian dance in The Nutcracker, the trepak is a Ukrainian dance. Written in the tempo molto vivace – prestissimo, it is probably the most famous dance from the ballet and one of the greatest hits of classical music.

Since winning her first international competition at age 13, Pianist Chaeyoung Park has been a top prizewinner at numerous competitions, including the Gina Bachauer International Young Artists Competition, the Cleveland International Young Artists Competition, and the Yamaha USASU International Senior Piano Competition. Park has recorded the complete Musica Ricercata by Ligeti and Piano Sonata No. 3 by Brahms on the Steinway label (to be released in 2021).

Following her first concerto appearance at age 14, Park has performed as a guest soloist with the Kansas City Symphony with Michael Stern, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra with Neil Varon, Utah Symphony Orchestra with Rei Hotoda, New Millennium Symphony with Francesco Milioto, Canton Symphony Orchestra with Gerhardt Zimmermann, Lake Forest Symphony with Vladimir Kulenovic, and Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra with John Morris Russell. As a dedicated chamber musician, she has participated in the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Kneisel Hall and Juilliard ChamberFest.

She has presented programs at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, through livestreamed recitals featured by the Gilmore Rising Stars series and the Lied Center of Kansas virtual series.

She was born in South Korea but moved to the U.S. at an early age to study with Jack Winerock in Lawrence for eight years. Partial to intimate gatherings, she performed more than 60 house recitals during her time in Kansas. She now lives in New York City, but considers Lawrence her second home. A proud and grateful recipient of the Kovner Fellowship, Park is pursuing a Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School with Robert McDonald.