Upcoming: An “Older” Yungen Brings Piano Brilliance Back Home

Press Release Courtesy Of: Jody Schmidt, Executive Director of SOU Chamber Music Concerts


Chamber Music Concerts (CMC) presents a recital by Joseph Yungen, a prize-winning pianist who grew up in the Rogue Valley, on Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall. Mr. Yungen, a graduate of Southern Oregon University, is currently a master of music candidate at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. This is his first full-length, solo performance in the Rogue Valley since his graduation from SOU in 2010. The program includes W. A. Mozart’s Adagio in B Minor, K. 540 and Rondo in D Major, K. 485; Arnold Schoenberg’s Sechs Kleine Klavierstucke, Op. 19; Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata in B Minor, Op. 1; and Johannes Brahms’s Seven Fantasies, Op. 116. The performance will be followed by a cake reception in the lobby.


Mr. Yungen is a Rogue Valley homegrown success story. Originally from eastern Oregon, he attended Crater High School in Central Point, and graduated from SOU as a Piano Performance Major in 2010. During his time at SOU he was in constant demand as a soloist, accompanist, and chamber musician. He performed for the Siskiyou Singers, Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts, Siskiyou Violins, Nutshell Masks & Theater, the Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Music Concerts master classes and special events. In 2007, Joseph won the Young Artists’ Piano Concerto Competition for his performance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 5, which he subsequently performed with the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon. He also competed as a finalist in the First Seattle International Piano Competition in September of 2008, where he received two prizes: “Best Performance of a Piece by Karol Szymanowski” and the “Audience Favorite” award. Currently pursuing a master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music with a double major in Piano Performance and Chamber Music, Mr. Yungen recently won First Prize in the 88th Annual Schubert Club Competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to solo and chamber recitals, he performs with two new music ensembles at Eastman, Ossia and The Rest is Noise.


Named “the hottest music school in America” by Newsweek, the Eastman School of Music is one of the most prestigious conservatories in the world, with an illustrious roster of alumni that includes soprano Renée Fleming, trumpeter Allen Vizzuti, and conductor Frederick Fennell. It is a testament to Mr. Yungen’s talent that he was not only accepted at Eastman, but also allowed to pursue two master’s degrees, in Piano Performance and Collaborative Piano (chamber music). “My time at Eastman so far has been a profoundly enriching experience in one of the most intensive and demanding musical environments I have ever been immersed in,” Yungen said. “I am loving every minute of it, and am looking forward to spending one more year in Rochester to complete my dual master’s degree program.  I have come a long way during my studies at Eastman, thanks to my instructors in both solo and collaborative piano, and from the experiences I have had working with the many outstanding student musicians here.


“As much as I enjoy Eastman, I always look forward to returning home to Southern Oregon, the natural beauty and close-knit community of which I find myself missing more each time I leave it.  I am excited for this opportunity to perform again in the SOU Recital Hall for my friends, family, teachers, and sponsors who have supported me and helped me to get to where I am today.”


Mr. Yungen was one of the first winners of a Chamber Music Concerts Scholarship, a fund established by CMC in 2006 to promote exceptional musicianship and scholarship at SOU. This fund, supported by many generous donors, provides $5000 scholarships to selected music majors chosen by the SOU music faculty. Each scholarship is a commitment of up to four years ($20,000 total per scholarship) and subject to the student keeping an excellent academic record. Since its establishment, the CMC Scholarship Fund has had ten winners, with students from as close to home as Grants Pass and Rogue River and as far away as China.


Mr. Yungen is donating his services for his performance in order to help raise money for the CMC Scholarship Fund. “The CMC Charter Donor Scholarship was enormously helpful to me in succeeding as an undergraduate student at Southern Oregon University,” Yungen explains. “Thanks to the generosity of the donors, I was able to focus on my studies and musical goals, rather than spending what could be valuable practice time working to pay school expenses. The support and opportunities provided by CMC helped inspire me to make the best of my abilities, and made sharing my work with others through collaboration and solo performance all that more fulfilling. I am deeply grateful to Chamber Music Concerts for all the kindness, support, and opportunities provided to music students like myself.”


Mr. Yungen’s concert is general admission, and tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for full-time students and Oregon Trail Card holders. To purchase tickets, please call the CMC office at 541-552-6154 or buy online at www.ChamberMusicConcerts.org.  All proceeds from the performance will be donated to the CMC Scholarship Fund for SOU music majors.

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