Pianist Soo-Yeon Park will share her gift for performing chamber music in a performance Sunday that is part of the Dukes Concert Series.
Park has been a faculty member at Cal State Bakersfield for more than 10 years. Currently she coordinates piano studies and directs the opera and chamber music programs at CSUB.
Music has been a lifelong passion for the pianist.
“From the beginning I loved playing the piano,” Park said in a phone interview. “For me, playing was always a joyful experience. It was quite natural for me.”
She started lessons in Korea at about age 5 and continued when the family moved to the U.S. By junior high school, she qualified to attend a special school for the arts where she became used to competition and performance. Most of her friends at the school turned out to be professional musicians.
For parents of young musicians, Park advises them to be encouraging. “Don’t give up, but be supportive. When students stop playing, it’s often the parents who have given up.”
Park holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Seoul National University, a master’s from the Peabody Conservatory and a doctorate in musical arts from USC. She has collaborated with groups such as the Long Beach Opera, Opera Pacific, the Classical Singers Association, California Conducting Institute and the Bakersfield Symphony.
The concert program will feature Piazzolla’s “Cafe 1930” and pieces by Dvorak, Poulec and Saint-Saens. Park will be joined in the performance by violinist Elbert Tsai, whom she met at USC.
Tsai manages a multifaceted career as a soloist, chamber musician and sought-after pedagogue. He currently serves on the violin faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory Pre-College as well as Center Stage Strings at the University of Michigan. Early in his career Tsai won positions with the San Francisco Ballet and San Francisco Symphony orchestras, touring with the symphony throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. He holds degrees from USC, Rice and Oberlin College.
The concert will be at 4 p.m. Sunday at First Congregational Church, 5 Real Road.
Admission to the concert is free but door donations are appreciated to help supplement the Dukes endowment to compensate musicians.
This is the latest concert of the 2022-’23 Fred and Beverly Dukes Concert Series, which has been co-sponsored by Valley Public Radio since it started in 2015.
The concert series continues this spring with Ken Burdick on April 16 and a Great American Sing-along with Gene Lowe and Jim Mahoney on May 21.
All concerts occur on Sundays at 4 p.m. and are free of change.
Marjorie Bell is a co-founding board member of the Dukes Memorial Concert Series.