“Charming, charismatic” violinist returns to WMS for groundbreaking Four Seasons program

Muskegon, MI, February 5, 2024—When shelter-at-home orders were lifted in early summer of 2020, West Michigan Symphony was the first orchestra in the U.S. to return to the stage—via a “Virtual Concert” series featuring previously scheduled but delayed programming. Violinist Chee-Yun was the featured artist for its first full-length concert video, featuring the combined Vivaldi Four Seasons and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. At 7:30pm on Friday, February 23, Chee-Yun returns to reprise this magnificent program for a live, in-person audience. Sponsored by a group of local supporters under the rubric of Friends of Chee-Yun, the performance takes place in the Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Avenue in Muskegon. Mike and Kay Olthoff are the 2023-2024 Season Sponsors; Blue Lake Public Radio is the Media Sponsor. For tickets, starting at $19 for adults, $10 for students, call 231.727.8001 or visit westmichigansymphony.org.

“Chee-Yun’s mashup of Vivaldi and Piazzolla—alternating between musical depictions of seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres—was stunning when we presented it on our Virtual Concert series during the pandemic,” said Music Director Scott Speck, who will lead the performance. “There were many times during that week that we fervently wished our audience could hear it live. So now we are making that happen.”

This time around, the “charming and charismatic” Chee-Yun will perform without a mask, accompanied by a larger orchestra—no longer required to maintain social distance—and for a live audience. While in the area she will present a student master class on Wednesday, join Scott Speck at a free downtown Lunch ‘n Learn on Thursday, and present a solo recital program at The Block on Saturday, the night after her appearance with WMS. This will include Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata, Ravel’s Tzigane, and Gershwin’s Three Preludes, as arranged for violin and piano by Jascha Heifetz. For tickets, starting at $10 for students and $33 for adults, call 231.726.3231 or visit theblockwestmichigan.org.

Chee-Yun has appeared with orchestras worldwide and maintained an active solo, recording and teaching career for more than two decades. Her first public performance at age eight took place in her native Seoul after she won the Grand Prize of the Korean Times Competition. At 13, she came to the United States and two years later soloed with the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. She plays a 1669 Ruggieri violin rumored to have been buried with a previous owner for 200 years.

Audience members and the general public are invited to learn more at a free Lunch ‘n Learn held at 12 noon Thursday, February 22 in The Block. Sponsored by Embark Financial Partners, the event will include delicious complimentary small bites by Kuntry Cookin’.

Free shuttle transport is available from Muskegon Farmer’s Market to the door of the Frauenthal on Friday night—and back again after the concert. A post-concert reception will be held in the lower level Frau Lounge. ###

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts