Green Bay, Wis. — When University of Wisconsin-Green Bay faculty members Michael Rector and Sylvia Hong, present a duo-pianist concert at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5, 2018, it will be with preparation in mind for a Feb. 13, 2018 concert in PyeongChang, South Korea, host site of the Winter Olympics.
Hong and Rector were in Korea last May as part of a concert tour. It was there that they were honored by the Mayor of Gangneung, Lee Seok-rai, with a request to return to play during the 2018 Winter Olympics celebration. The actual games are scheduled to take place Feb. 9-25, 2018.
“We’ll be performing Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos with the Gangneung Philharmonic (conducted by Sekwon Ryu),” Rector said. “The orchestra (like most in Korea) is a public institution, so that is why the mayor was involved. It’s not exactly an IOC event, but it is in the host city during the games.” While there, the couple does plan to take in the Olympic experience, hoping to see some of the competitive events and particularly speed skating, in which South Korean Olympians have been quite competitive.
Rector said they are looking forward to a warm-up (minus the orchestra) during the 6:30 p.m. performance on Feb. 5 — the first in the spring semester line-up of UW-Green Bay Music’s 6:30 Concert Series, in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center.
Hong and Rector began performing together as a duo shortly after being married in 2011. They have played recitals at the Kennedy Center in Washington and the Lotte Concert Hall in Seoul. In April 2013, the duo won the second prize and Abild Prize for the best performance of American music at the Ellis Competition for Duo-Pianists. In April 2014, they toured Eastern Europe, performing with the Georgian Sinfonietta and Black Sea Symphony. Highlights of their numerous tours in Korea include playing two sold-out concerts on the same day in Busan, performances all around the country and invitations to teach master classes at more than 20 different universities and music schools.
Since 2014 Rector has served as assistant professor of music at UW-Green Bay, where he is also director of the Piano Academy, a community music program. His complete biography can be found at michaelrector.net. He is committed to making the language of classical music vivid for people of all ages and backgrounds. Hong is an associate lecturer (of music) for the University. She is known to audiences worldwide as a pianist of imagination and virtuosity. She made her debut in the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall at the age of 16 as the first prize winner of the National Russian Competition. As a soloist, she has performed with the leading orchestras of Korea, including the KBS Orchestra and Suwon Symphony.
Works to be performed for the 6:30 Concert include Allegro brilliant, Op. 92 by Felix Mendelssohn, Rondo in A Major, K. 386 by W. A. Mozart, Poulenc’s Concerto, La valse by Maurice Ravel, and Scaramouche by Darius Milhaud.
6:30 Concert Series
The 6:30 Concert Series is designed to connect the campus with the community through the exploration of music. Performances feature insightful presentations by performers, composers and special guests. The series offers new perspectives on diverse styles, often exploring the music from multiple angles. All performances take place in the Weidner Center’s Fort Howard Hall. They begin at 6:30 p.m. and last between 60 and 90 minutes. To learn more about the series and upcoming performances, please visit www.weidnercenter.com/630series. Although the performances are free and open to the public, donations are accepted for the benefit of UW-Green Bay’s Music program.
About the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts
UW-Green Bay’s Weidner Center for the Performing Arts is known for its elegant design and the acoustic excellence of its 2,000-seat main hall, Cofrin Family Hall. It also houses two smaller performance spaces, the Fort Howard recital hall and the Jean Weidner Theatre, along with a dance studio and Grand Foyer. The Weidner Center has a distinct benefit in being part of a leading institution of higher learning. The Center is a home for UW-Green Bay Music and Theatre and Dance programs, community events and productions, and performances by visiting artists and touring companies. Beyond the large-scale touring productions that grace the stage, the Weidner Center also focuses on scholastic development, programming and an impactful education series — Stage Doors.
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About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,158 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.