Undergraduate Teaching at CCHK: Chamber Music

Jen Yi (violin, Operations Research & Information Engineering '22) reflects on her participation in chamber music last fall and this semester with Madeline McCanne (piano, Chemistry '21).

“Last fall, Madeline and I worked on Mozart’s Sonata for Piano and Violin, K. 304, coached by Ji Young Kim. It was an interesting semester because, while I was on campus, Madeline would Zoom in from her home in California. She would record her practice sessions prior to our coachings so that I could play along during class. The low sound quality of Zoom made rehearsals frustrating at times, but it made me appreciate making music together in person all the more.

We finally got the chance to play together this semester, with the added bonus of using the historical pianos at the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards. This was a great experience: we thoroughly enjoyed being able to try the sonata in person, and playing on an instrument with knee levers instead of pedals, a moderator, light and shallow keys, and narrower pitch range gave us a new understanding of how Mozart envisioned this piece to be performed during his time. We plan on translating to the modern piano some characteristics of the fortepiano, which include greater clarity of articulation, subtle control within the softer dynamics, and more drastic changes of character between contrasting sections.”

This semester, Jen, Madeline, and cellist Sage Lee (Information Science and English '22) have reunited to work on Brahms’s Piano Trio in B major, Op. 8. You can hear them perform at Cornell's student chamber music concert to be live-streamed on May 17.

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Jen Yi (violin) and Madeline McCanne (piano)
Jen Yi (violin) and Madeline McCanne (piano) in rehearsal at 726 University Avenue.