Again and Again
Chris Castro: Sing High, with Er-Gene Kahng (World Première Performance)
Iowa Center for New Music / Florence Price Recital (excerpts from live performance)
Er-Gene Kahng is a violinist, researcher and educator whose work came to the fore through her advocacy of the American classical composer, Florence Price. She has been featured on PBS' Great Performances series "Now Hear This: Florence Price and the American Migration", and her recording of Florence Price’s Violin Concertos (Albany Records, 2018) has been cited and praised by sources such as The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and The New York Times as an important contribution to American classical music, and has aired on programs like NPR’s Songs we Love, and APM’s Performance Today. Alex Ross, in The New Yorker states:
“Kahng’s new recording of the Violin Concertos with the Janáček Philharmonic, is Price’s best outing on disk to date. Kahng plays the solo parts with lustrous tone and glistening facility....The second concerto, which Price wrote in 1952, shortly before her death, begins with jarring chords of D major and F minor, establishing unstable harmonic terrain. The hyper-Romantic solo part now seems like a visitor from another world. This terse, beguiling piece has an autumnal quality reminiscent of the final works of Richard Strauss. It deserves to be widely heard."
Er-Gene serves as concertmaster with the Fort Smith Symphony, who completed a world premiere Florence Price recording of her Symphonies no. 1 and no. 4 in 2019, and the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra’s concertmaster, where she premiered Florence Price’s Violin Concerto no. 2. Er-Gene is a member of Chineke!, the first majority BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) orchestra in Europe, whose motto is “championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music.” Previously, Er-Gene has held title positions with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, SoNA (Symphony of Northwest Arkansas), Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, as well as section positions with the Lancaster Symphony, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Eastern Connecticut Symphony and the Artosphere Festival Orchestra. She has collaborated on co-curating the music series "Fuse" at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, received a project grant as a recipient of NWA's Artists 360, served as a faculty-artist in the Memphis-based PRIZM ensemble and has worked with the Texas Ballet Theatre, Flyover Dance Collective, and Hong Kong Arts Academy in dance collaborations. In addition, she has been a featured soloist with the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra in the UK, the Portland-Columbia Symphony, Newport Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony and the La Camellia Symphony at venues such as the Esplanade Theatre in Singapore and the Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall.
Er-Gene serves as Professor of Violin, and the Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She is a Board member of the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, President of the APA (Asian Pacific Americans) Employee Impact Group, and co-Artistic Director of the pierrot+ new music group, Khemia Ensemble, which has received grants from the Copland Fund, Ditson Fund and New Music USA, and has just released their second album, Intersections, through PARMA’s Ravello Records (2022). Er-Gene is a former Visiting Wolfson Fellow at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, UK. Er-Gene aims to continue the work of equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging by exploring the ways contemporary American classical music can intersect with, and highlight, forgotten narratives of the past and thus shape the musical values of the present and future.