Rachel Choe


"...a musician of the most propulsive of lines in deftly synchronized fashion..."

The Baltimore Sun

"Her music is so lovely, mellow and precise, it touches the heart and soul of the listener."

The Cape Gazzett

Millersville University Faculty Chamber Concert

January 31, 2014 at 7:30pm at the Ware Center (Lancaster PA)

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I was invited to perform at the Millersville University Faculty Chamber Concert. It was held at the beautiful Ware Center in the center of Lancaster PA on Friday 1/31/2014 at 7:30pm. The music department professors made up a wonderful chamber music program including Beethoven Cello Sonata in A major, Debussy Trio which I was involved in and Dvorak Piano quintet. The rehearsals were full of creative ideas, professional musicianship, passionate hearts for music making, respectful collaboration and the beauty of building up a new friendship. The Ware Center where the concert was held is an exceptional hall mainly dedicated to chamber music. The acoustic is one of the most best from my experiences, and the staff members of the hall are warm hearted and professional. The musicians of the concert who are professors of the music program of Millersville University warmly welcomes Jacqueline Pollauf (a wonderful harpist and a great friend of mine) and me, and we had very encouraging backstage times together. After the concert, we were able to feel how the audience received the musical touch in their heart. We walked out to the exit of the hall to say thank you to audience, and they stepped on us to give nice words about the concert and their experiences. Warm greetings  were exchanged among all of us. My special thanks go to Professor Madeleine Darmiento who invited me, came down for rehearsals, and organized much for this performance. 

This is why I do music. I should do it more. 

Toward The Sea by Toru Takemitsu

I performed Toward the Sea by Toru Takemitsu with a percussionist Jeff Stern at the Peabody Preparatory Faculty recital at Griswold Hall on November 3, 2013. Jeff was the 4th partner to play this piece since I started to play this piece in 2004. 

Toward the Sea (1981) is a work by Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) commissioned by Greenpeace for the Save the Whales campaign. It was first composed for alto flute and guitar in 1981, the second arranged for alto flute, harp and string orchestra in 1981, and the third arranged again for alto flute and harp without orchestra in 1989.

The work has 3 movements and the titles are The Night, Moby-Dick, and Cape Code, which Takemitsu brought from Melville's novel, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851). He used his famous "SEA" tonality, based on spelling of "SEA" in German: S(Es,Eb)–E–A. The picturesque image and concept of the sea, water, night and a whale still inspires me to explore "a Floating World" of maestro Takemitsu, a self-taught composer, and his unique esthetics on music.

From the audience, it would sounds very free, colorful and spatial: a lack of pulsation from having no bar lines in general; the mysterious tone of the alto flute itself; and the extended pallet of the tone color from extended techniques of special fingerings for hollow tones like Shakuhachi (Japanese flute), harmonics to just normal sound; the various tone texture from trill-like rapid tone-change on the same note, flutter tonguing and slowing down even in trills; and frequent appearance of silence for a few seconds. 

In fact, the responsibility of the performers of this piece is quite challenging. To play this correctly is not as free and easy-flowing as it sounds. The score is rather a map with numerous nano details: wider range of dynamic markings (pppp-fff) and sudden & frequent changes; various and vague tempo markings; ritardando, rallentando and accellerando all the time, undecided length of a note with markings like very long, short, or dying away. To anybody who is about to start to learn this piece, it would be overwhelming with amount of details that the performers have to follow. Almost 10 years ago, I wrote <Respect Every Detail> on the top of my score. 

I thought of Yuna Kim, who is considered a queen of the figure skating these days. To be able to perform a show for a couple minutes on ice, she has to be both technically and artistically perfect. Her team measures every movement, speed, height of jumps, angle of arm, and timing as well as facial expression, custume, choreography and music. We do the same. 

Anyways, the Griswold hall was full of friends, students, visitors and guests. It is truly a blessing and privilege to share my commitment with the world.   

Fantaisie brillante on themes from Bizet's Carmen

Opera "Carmen" is one of the most frequently performed operas in every year. The fiery and exotic love between the sensual Spanish woman Carmen and the naive French country soldier Don Jose leads this story to a dark and brutal killings in a jealous rage. It was written by the french composer George Bizet and was first performed on March 3rd, 1875. In 1900, Francois Borne, a french flutist of Bordeaux Opera House, wrote this fantasie on the themes from the opera.  

Introduction comes from the entry of Carmen in Act 1 and the scene when Carmen reads her fortune from the card with her friends and finds that the cards are foretelling her death and Jose's. The entrance of the flute comes from the music of the final duo of Carmen and Jose when Jose finally entreats her to return to him before he kills her. The music continues with well known melodies from the fate theme, Micaela's song that Jose's mom told her to look for him in Seville  the famous "Habanera" of Carmen, the Bohemian Song on the rhythm of the castanets, finally to the glorious Toreador Song, and the virtuosic variations on the flute ceaselessly pleases our ears by recognizing the songs and being amused by the splendid performance of the flutist. While the flutists don't have many repertoires that the general audience could easily discern unlike the ones for violin or  piano, this would be almost a popsong that everyone knows and enjoys. 

have performed this piece more than 50 times in various places from a prestigious concert hall to a living room for a house concert. It will be still a biggest joy to be asked to play this at any time. I will just need 5 minutes of warm-up.