Sandy Yamamoto Strings SU Along

Violinist Satoko Sandy Yamamoto will take Seattle University students on a musical journey through four of history’s most influential artistic movements this upcoming Monday, May 5. “Our

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job as performers is to really share the composer’s music and make it come to life so that the audience is taken on a genuinely emotional journey,” she said. Yamamoto is performing a guest recital at Seattle U with her husband, violinist Daniel Ching, and Seattle U music faculty members Dr. Quinton Morris, director of chamber and instrumental music, Dr. Amber Archibald, professor of viola, and Dr. Erin Chung, professor of piano. They will perform four distinct chamber pieces: Leclair Sonata in E Minor for Two Violins, Dvorak Drobnosti Trio, Ridout “Ferdinand the Bull” for Violin and Narrator, and Elgar Violin Sonata in E Minor. The repertoire spans numerous musical movements and time periods, showcasing Yamamoto’s versatility as a violinist. She began playing violin at four years old and has since cultivated a successful career as a touring soloist and chamber musician. “I would describe my career as a violinist as a lifelong journey of discovering style, colors, textures, harmonies and emotions,” Yamamoto said. She performed for 15 years with Ching in the critically acclaimed Miró Quartet before stepping down to raise their two children. “We had (and hopefully still have) a very special musical connection, which I believe inspired each of us, and it was the kind of bond where we really made each other sound our best,” she said. “He will always be my favorite violinist.” Both Yamamoto and Ching are violin instructors at the University of Texas at Austin. “She’s the new generation of violin pedagogues in this country who are going to continue to take this amazing art form forward,” Morris said. “She’s an incredible violinist, a wonderful teacher and an overall great human being.” Though Yamamoto has performed in concert halls around the world and won major international music competitions, her favorite musical memories are the moments “where you completely feel one with the violin, the other musicians and the music, and you are truly ‘in the moment,’” she said. “These are the goosebump moments in music that make playing the violin the best thing in the world.” The repertoire she chose for her Seattle U performance features unique instrumentation and other experimental musical elements which give each piece a distinct timbre and character. “It’s a great mix of ensembles, of people and really beautiful music,” Ching said. Ridout’s “Ferdinand the Bull” is perhaps the most unusual: it is a contemporary composition for violin and narrator. The piece, which Yamamoto and Morris are performing together, tells the story of a bull that would rather smell flowers than take part in bullfights. “The music is very programmatic and thematic,” Yamamoto noted. “You really get the conversational aspect between the violinist, narrator and the audience. This is significant because the music we usually play has no words, but it is just as conversational, just as characterful and just as communicative with the audience.” The piece is a departure from typical chamber music repertoire, demonstrating the imaginative possibilities for musicians of this generation. “A lot of people say classical music is dying, which is absolutely not true,” Archibald said. “It’s just changing and adapting to the pressures of modern times.” “We’re definitely reaching out to be more experimental and interdisciplinary,” Morris noted. “It helps us develop as artists and it allows us to bring a freshness to our creativity.” Yamamoto will also teach two master classes at Seattle U for two days during her visit. “I’d highly encourage music and non-music students to go,” Ching said. “Sandy’s an amazing teacher; she really knows how to bring out the strengths of all the students she works with. She’s got a great imagination.” Yamamoto’s imagination will also help bring to life the colorful repertoire she chose for her Seattle U performance. “I want the program to be a journey for the audience,” Yamamoto said. “I would love for the audience to think of each piece as a postcard from a different country or different period of time in history.” The concert is Monday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Pigott Auditorium. Student tickets are $5. The master classes are Saturday, May 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Monday, May 5 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Hunthausen Hall Room 60. The classes are free and open to the public.