The Johannes Quartet consists of four outstanding musicians who take time away from their busy careers to pursue their love of the string quartet literature. This quartet brings together the first American to win the Paganini Violin Competition in 24 years, Soovin Kim; the assistant principal second violinist of the Boston Symphony, Julianne Lee; the principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, C.J. Chang; and former principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Peter Stumpf, currently on faculty at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. The Johannes has been praised by listeners and critics alike for its special combination of passion, warmth, elegance and poetry. Each member has spent numerous summers at the celebrated Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, birthplace of many of the world's renowned ensembles. New York appearances include debuts at Carnegie Hall and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as well as frequent performances on the Schneider Series at the New School and the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts at Town Hall.
Since the Johannes made its acclaimed debut there in 1998, the Chamber Music Society of Philadelphia has played a major role in launching the Quartet, presenting them regularly each season, including a two-concert series of the complete Beethoven opus 18 quartets. Their debut was described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as having "accurate intonation, vigorous interaction and careful regard for the details in the score...the passion and attack that characterize the best of quartet playing."
The 2014-15 season opened with their acclaimed annual return to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and also includes a special project focused on Bartok and Beethoven with Fred Child of Performance Today as host and narrator in Indianapolis, IN and Burlington VT, as well as tours that take them to Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, New York and Pennsylvania. Guest artists this season include members of the Guarneri Quartet, John Dalley and Peter Wiley, in addition to Harold Robinson, principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Highlights of recent seasons include the group’s collaboration with the legendary Guarneri String Quartet in a program featuring William Bolcom's Octet: Double Quartet, commissioned by the Music Accord presenter consortium specifically for the two ensembles and the premiere of Homunculus, written for the Johannes by Esa-Pekka Salonen. They received acclaim from audiences and critics alike at the Krannert Center (Urbana, IL), University Musical Society (Ann Arbor, MI), Penn State University, and Boston’s Celebrity Series, the Orange County Performing Arts Society, San Francisco Performances, Phoenix Chamber Music Society, UCLA Live, Kansas City Friends of Chamber Music, Hayes University (KS), the Islip Arts Council and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City for their performances of these groundbreaking works. Other notable partnerships have been for the “MOZART MAGNIFIED” series of concerts with Fred Child, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht with 2013 Grammy-winner Kim Kashkashian on viola, and renowned cellist Marcy Rosen, as well as week-long residencies at the Curtis Institute and Indiana University. The Johannes Quartet's 2013 Carnegie Hall mainstage performance as soloists with the NY String Orchestra, is also memorable.
In addition to their frequent appearances in Philadelphia and Santa Fe, past seasons have also included Baltimore’s Shriver Hall, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Chamber Music Society of Louisville, Middlebury College, and String Theory at the Hunter in Chattanooga.
The Johannes Quartet has been heard live throughout New England on Vermont and Maine’s Public Radio Stations, St. Paul Sunday, and on WHYY TV. The Johannes is currently recording the complete Brahms String Quartets, scheduled for release next season.
SOOVIN KIM, violin
American violinist Soovin Kim is increasingly sought after for the character, nuance, and excitement of his performances as concerto soloist, chamber musician and recitalist, both in the U.S. and abroad. Particularly known for his breadth of repertoire, Mr. Kim typically takes on everything from Bach to Paganini to big romantic concertos to new commissions within a single season. He has performed in the U.S. with orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Orchestra of St Luke’s and the Baltimore, San Francisco, and Indianapolis Symphonies, in Europe with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Prague Chamber, Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestras, and in Asia with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and KBS Symphony. He has given solo recitals at Weill Hall in New York, Terrace Theater in Washington D.C., Ravinia, Tokyo’s Casals Hall, and the Seoul Arts Center. He maintains a close relationship with the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival in New Mexico. His recording of Paganini's 24 Caprices for solo violin was released in February 2006 and was named Classic FM Magazine's "Instrumental Disc of the Month." He released a CD with Stomp/EMI of four commissioned works by Korean composers, written for and performed by his ground-breaking piano quartet MIK (Made in Korea). He recorded string quintets of Boccherini and Schubert with cellist Janos Starker and the Arensky cello quartet with Lynn Harrell, both released by Delos, and duo works by Schubert, Bartók, and Strauss with Jeremy Denk for Koch/Discover. Mr. Kim won first prize in the 1996 Paganini International Competition and was also awarded the Henryk Szeryng Career Award, the Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. He is artistic director of the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, violinist with the Korea-based piano quartet M.I.K, and artist-in-residence at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea. He joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory in autumn 2014.
JULIANNE LEE, violin
Julianne Lee has a distinctive career as both a violinist and violist, appearing frequently as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. Currently assistant principal second violinist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, she has been a member of the violin section since 2006. Ms. Lee has toured with the Marlboro Music Festival as well as multiple international tours with the Australian Chamber Orchestra as guest principal violist. She has performed at numerous music festivals including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, chamber music at the Banff Centre, and the Marlboro Music Festival. Ms. Lee graduated with a unanimous first prize at the Conservatoire Superieur du Paris in France. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in both violin and viola performance from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and a Master's Degree from the New England Conservatory. She is a member of Mistral and is on the faculties of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and Berklee College of Music.
CHOONG-JIN CHANG, viola
Choong-Jin (C.J.) Chang was appointed principal viola of The Philadelphia Orchestra in April 2006. He previously served as associate principal violist in Philadelphia for twelve years. He was a double major in violin and viola at the Curtis Institute of Music, studying with the late Jascha Brodsky and Joseph dePasquale. Mr. Chang was born in Korea, and immigrated with his family to the United States when he was thirteen. As a soloist, Mr. Chang made a successful solo debut recital at Carnegie Hall along with numerous recitals in the U.S. and Far East in 2007. He also has appeared recently with the KBS Symphony of South Korea and the Temple University Symphony. In 2008 he is scheduled to perform as a soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra during its Asian Tour and its summer residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. An ardent chamber musician, Mr. Chang has participated in numerous chamber music festivals, including the Marlboro Festival, Bridgehampton, Seattle, and Santa-Fe, Evian and Moritzburg in Europe. The list of distinguished musicians with whom he has collaborated includes Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Jaime Laredo, André Previn, Mstislav Rostropovich, and, most recently, Yo-Yo Ma, with whom he performed as viola soloist in Strauss’s Don Quixote with The Philadelphia Orchestra. He is a founding member of the Johannes Quartet. Alongside his extensive performing activities, Mr. Chang is a respected teacher on both violin and viola. Among his former pupils are current members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as several winners of major competitions. He currently serves on the faculty of Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts and Temple Music-Prep.
PETER STUMPF, cello
Peter Stumpf enjoys as multi-faceted a career as any cellist. After serving 12 years as the associate principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Peter Stumpf became the principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the beginning of the 2002/2003 season. He took a year's sabbatical from the LA Phil in 2011 to begin teaching full time at Indian University's Jacob School of Music. He left the orchestra permanently in 2012. He is in great demand as a chamber musician around the world performing on series at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Concertgebouw, and Casals Hall in Tokyo with some of the greatest living artists as Emmanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Andras Schiff, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Radu Lupu, Mitsuko Uchida, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Mr. Stumpf has performed concertos with the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Virginia Symphony. He has also been heard in recital at Jordan Hall in Boston, and at the Philips and Corcoran Galleries in Washington D.C.. Most recently he has performed the Six Suites for Solo Cello of J. S. Bach on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society Series and on the Chamber Music in Historic Sites Series in Los Angeles. As a member of the Boston Musica Viva he has explored extended techniques including microtonal compositions and numerous premieres. He is currently on the cello faculty of Indiana University's Jacob School of Music. In addition, Mr. Stumpf has taught at USC Thorton School of Music, the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, the New England Conservatory, and served as guest artist faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music, the Yellow Barn Music Festival and the Musicorda Summer String Program. He received a Bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory.