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Program for Le Due Muse – July 23, 2023

Sunday, July 23, 2023 at 4 pm

download a copy of this program here.

Le Due Muse

Sarah Hong, cello
Makiko Ooka, piano


Manuel M. Ponce (1882–1948), transcribed by Gosper Cassado

Manuel M. Ponce
Cello Sonata
            Allegro selvaggio
            Allegro alla maniera d’uno studio
            Arietta, Andantino affettuoso
            Allegro burlesco


Heitor Villa-Lobos (1885–1959)
O Canto do Cisne Negro

Heitor Villa-Lobos, arr. by Seymour Barab
Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5

Alberto Ginastera (1916–1983)
Pampeana No. 2, Op. 21 

Astor Piazzolla (1921–1992), arr. by Kyoko Yamamoto

Astor Piazzolla
Le Grand Tango

About the musicians

Le Due Muse is a cello and piano duo team formed by the Bay Area cellist Sarah Hong and her long time duo partner, Japanese pianist Makiko Ooka. They have played chamber music since the year 2000 in the US and in Asia.

Acclaimed by music critics as a “free, warm, and very expressive” performer, cellist, Sarah Hong was born in Seoul, Korea. She began studying cello at the age of six and was selected as the most promising young cellist in the nation at the age of 16, her performance broadcasted nationwide by KBS. She made her New York debut at Carnegie Hall as a winner of Artists International.

Ms. Hong studied at the Juilliard School with Zara Nelsova and Joel Krosnick while receiving both the BM and MM degrees. She finished her artist certificate in chamber music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the direction of Bonnie Hampton. She studied chamber music with Samuel Lipkin, Jacob Lateiner, Jerome Lowenthal, Toby Appel, The Juilliard String Quartet, Mark Sokol, Ian Swenson, and Jean Michel.

As a soloist, Ms. Hong won numerous competitions including the grand prize from the International Young Artists Peninsula Music Competition, the International Sorantin Young Artist Award, the first prize award from the Jennings Butterfield Young Artist Competition, the Dong-A, Korean Times, and Chosun music competitions. She was awarded the Featured Artist Award at the Arts Center, Seoul.

Ms. Hong has performed in venues including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, Sun Dorm, Herbst Theater, Sejong Cultural Center, and Arts Center in Seoul. She has been invited to perform as a guest artist at festivals such as New York Festival, Seoul International Festival, Seoul Youth Festival, and Overseas Korean Festival (with Suwon Symphony). At Overseas Korean Festival, she was selected as the most outstanding overseas Korean musician. She premiered Prokofiev Symphonies Concertante in Korea with Korean Orchestra (with Korean Symphony) at the Seoul International Festival, and this performance was broadcast worldwide by Arirang TV. She also appeared at international music festivals around the world such as Salzburg, Holland music session, Nice, Schleswig-Holstein, Bach Academy, Britten Pears, Aspen, Yellow Barn music festivals, and Juilliard string quartet seminar. She has worked with renowned musicians such as cellists Janos Starker, William Pleeth, Maud Tortelier, Boris Pergamentschikov, Mark Drobinskyand, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and chamber musicians Gilbert Kalish, Robert Mann, Felix Galimir, Peabody Trio, Beaux Arts Trio, Weilerstein Trio, St. Lawrence Quartet.

Ms. Hong lives in Los Altos where she balances a busy career as a soloist, collaborative artist, and teacher. Currently, she is a cellist of Le Due Muse (cello & piano duo) with Makiko Ooka, San Francisco Cello Quartet, and Ensemble Ari. She started the Phos (φῶς) Benefit Concert Series in Palo Alto to help support various non-profit organizations serving children in underdeveloped countries in 2014.

Makiko Ooka began studying the piano at four years of age. She graduated from Kyoto City University of Arts in Japan and received an Artist Diploma from San Jose State University.

She has performed many solo and chamber concerts throughout Japan, China and the United States. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Ooka has appeared on television for the Grand Piano series; other performances include programs for the Listening Hour at San Jose State University and the Fortnightly Music Club of Palo Alto. Ms. Ooka continues to perform solo, duo and chamber recitals with diversified chamber groups. Collaboration with the Sofia Philharmonie from Bulgaria in Japan, with the Kyoto Symphony Orchestra and with various vocalists among others shows her widely acclaimed confidence as a partner.

Ms. Ooka has performed over 50 duo piano recitals throughout Japan. The repertoire includes not only pieces originally written for four hands, but reduction pieces of the orchestra and from other genres. Her Duo gives the recital every autumn and they are highly appreciated by the audience for their innovative programming, and for the exquisite ensemble of the two pianists, which has been praised as “the spectacular sounds and the versatility of the pianos proving the unlimited possibilities of colors of the instrument”. The Duo has been received as “always fresh and always innovative”. She is also invited as a judge for the piano duo competition in Osaka. She has become a most sought after performer and an overall music coach in the area.

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