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An American in Paris


About the Program


As an American who moved to Paris to learn more about its rich musical traditions, I'm proud to present a solo flute program of works by French and American composers - many of whom have hybrid backgrounds like me.


Throughout the pieces, you'll also notice a theme of mythology, history, and nature. Thank you for joining me on this introspective musical journey.





The Program


Debussy: Syrinx


Claude Debussy was one of the most influential French composers of the 19th and early 20th centuries. People often refer to him as the first Impressionist composer, but he rejected this label.


This piece is a classic in the solo flute repertoire, and it is based on a Greek mythological story. Syrinx was a beautiful wood nymph, who was pursued by the god Pan. Desperate to get away, she asked for help from the river nymphs, who turned her into reeds. Pan turns the reeds into the first ever panpipes, which are now known as syrinx.


Uebayashi: Le Vent à Travers Les Ruines


Yuko Uebayashi is a Japanese-born composer who has lived in France since 1998.


For me, this piece embodies feeling I get when I look at ruins from a past civilization and realize that the world is so big and I am so small. So much time has elapsed, and I've only witnessed the tiniest fraction of it. The vastness of it all makes me feel at peace.


Beeftink: Iroquois Suite

IV. Wings

V. Tree of Peace


Herman Beeftink is a Dutch-born composer currently residing in the United States. He is a flutist himself, and has composed for a variety of Hollywood films and TV shows.


Beeftink's "Iroquois Suite" was inspired by the music of the Iroquois Native American tribe, and I've chosen to share 2 movements from the piece that I find particularly compelling.


Honegger: Danse de la Chevre


Honnegger was a Swiss-born composer and member of "Les Six," a collective of 20th century French composers who led a counter-movement to the trending compositional styles of the time, including that of Claude Debussy.


In this piece, I invite you to picture a scene of goats on a mountain and to listen for the less traditionally beautiful harmonies Honegger uses.


Hovhanness: Meditation on Ardalus


Alan Hovhanness was an American composer of Armenian descent. While he one of the most prolific 20th century composers, this particular piece remains unpublished. I was able to find the sheet music by contacting the creator of the sole recording of this piece.


In Greek mythology, Ardalus was the inventor of the flute.


Crawford: Peeck at the Kil


Michael Shingo Crawford is a Japanese-American composer, and a good friend of mine. He composed this piece in 2020, and I've had the privilege of recording and premiering it in both the US and France. Here are Michael's program notes for the piece:


Jan Peeck was a Dutch trader who was the first European to make contact with Native Americans in the New Amsterdam region that would later become the state of New York. The modern city of Peekskill takes its name from Peeck, combined with “kil,” the Dutch word for stream. Peeck at the Kil takes a snapshot from this 17th century history and imagines Jan Peeck gazing over the Hudson River, envisioning the possibilities of this unknown land. The choice of subject is a result of my recent trip to Peekskill, a place where I spent much of my childhood. The more playful and jocose moments in the music refer to these early memories and acknowledge the titular pun.


 

About Me


Serena Huang is a graduate of the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division as a student of Bart Feller, Temple University’s Boyer College of Music & Dance as a student of Mimi Stillman, and l'École Normale de Musique de Paris as a student of Mihi Kim. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kimmel Center, and other popular venues as both a soloist and an ensemble musician. Serena has been the recipient of various awards including those of the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra (NJIO) Concerto Competition, the Boyer College Alumni Award, and the Young Opus International Music Competition. She is currently based in Paris, where she regularly teaches and performs.



 

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