Grammy-winning violinist joins symphony this weekend for 'Perpetual Motion' concerts

Guest artist Karen Kim originally was slated to work with symphony in 2020

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • The "Perpetual Motion" concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Henderson Fine Arts Center Performance Hall on the San Juan College campus.
  • Tickets range from $8 to $90.
  • They can be purchased at the door or online at sanjuansymphony.org/events.

FARMINGTON — An evening of uplifting, fast-paced music is planned when the San Juan Symphony continues its 36th season this weekend with a concert on the San Juan College campus.

Music director Thomas Heuser said the theme for the evening, "Perpetual Motion," comes directly from a line in the piece that will conclude the performance, Samuel Barber's Concerto for Violin. Barber called it "Presto in moto perpetuo," or "Fast, in perpetual motion."

Heuser said this weekend's program features the work of Barber and two other composers, American Florence Price and Frenchman Albert Roussel. All three were known for their work primarily in the 20th century, he said, and though their compositions reflect different styles, they complement each other and reflect the increased pace of social and cultural change that marked that time period.

Price's compositions include a variety of influences, including folk, ragtime and soft shoe music, Heuser said, while Barber's work favors a more traditional, 19th century approach. The two styles are contrasting, but they illustrate the idea that "American music is really all things," Heuser said.

Conductor Thomas Heuser leads the San Juan Symphony during a November performance in Durango, Colo. The orchestra is back in action this weekend with concerts in Farmington and Durango.

Roussel's compositions reflect more of a metropolitan, worldly perspective, he said. Heuser described Roussel as an underrated composer, one whose work is rarely performed, and he looks forward to bringing it to a Four Corners audience.

"It's very energetic and very exciting, very upbeat," he said. "It's a great piece of early 20th century music, and I'm looking forward to showcasing it."

Grammy-winning violinist Karen Kim joins the San Juan Symphony for a pair of performances this weekend.

The symphony's guest performer this weekend will be Grammy-winning violinist Karen Kim, who originally had been scheduled to perform with the organization in 2020, only to have those plans scuttled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Heuser said that while this will be his first time to work with Kim, they do have a personal connection, as he went to college with Kim's husband.

"She has devoted her career to the music of the 20th century, so she brings a well-studied, contemporary perspective to this music and a real voice of authenticity," Heuser said.

More:San Juan Symphony returns to action with concert of works by Romantic era composers

He said he is greatly anticipating her performance on the concert finale, which he described as a brilliant piece.

"Karen will capture that brilliantly," he said.

Kim will be in the area all week, working with students at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and leading a free master class at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18 in Roshong Hall of the Jones Building on the FLC campus.

The "Perpetual Motion" concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Henderson Fine Arts Center Performance Hall on the San Juan College campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington. Tickets range from $8 to $90. They can be purchased at the door or online at sanjuansymphony.org/events. Masks are required.

The music of composers Florence Price, Samuel Barber and Albert Roussel will be showcased this weekend as the San Juan Symphony continues its 36th season.

Heuser will present a preconcert lecture at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in the 9000 rooms of the Henderson Fine Arts Center, offering a historical perspective on the material to be performed and answering questions. He said he enjoys those sessions and encouraged everyone planning on coming to the concert to attend.

"Almost the entire Farmington (concert) audience comes to those, so we get a great turnout, a lot of students," he said. "It's a great chance to connect with me and connect with each other."

The symphony also will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, in Durango. That concert will be streamed live and recorded for all in-person ticket holders on the symphony website at sanjuansymphony.org.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.