Female composers focus of concert, debut CD

Cal Lutheran faculty recital will feature cellist and pianist

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The highlight of the recital will be the premiere of a piece commissioned by cellist Yoshika Masuda and written especially for him and pianist HyeJin Kim by Indian American composer Reena Esmail.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — March 18, 2022) A recital of cello and piano music at California Lutheran University will consist entirely of works written by female composers.

Cellist Yoshika Masuda, director of string studies at Cal Lutheran, and guest pianist HyeJin Kim will present the faculty recital at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 3, in Samuelson Chapel.

They will perform works for cello and piano written by female composers over a 250-year span. The concert will help Masuda prepare to record his first CD, which is being funded in part by a Cal Lutheran Faculty Research and Creative Work Award.

“My goal with this recital and CD is not just to highlight these underappreciated female composers, but to bring to light their talent and skill as simply great composers,” Masuda said.

The concert will feature hidden gems and well-known works. The highlight will be the premiere of a piece commissioned by Masuda and written especially for the duo by Indian American composer Reena Esmail. The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 2020-2023 Swan Family Artist-in-Residence was the Seattle Symphony’s 2020-21 Composer-in-Residence, a 2019 United States Artist Fellow in Music, and a 2017-18 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow.

“I love the language of her music,” Masuda said. “Reena’s music incorporates Western harmony with the harmonies found in traditional Indian music. She does a beautiful job marrying the East and West through fusing the two very different sound worlds.”

The concert also will feature pieces by Amy Beach, the first successful American female composer of large-scale art music; Nadia Boulanger; Clara Schumann; and Rita Strohl.

Masuda, who was born in Japan, is an assistant professor of music at Cal Lutheran. He began playing the cello at age 5 and studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music in the United Kingdom, where he graduated with distinction. A recipient of the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe String Scholarship Award, he has won national competitions in Australia, Japan and the United States and performed across the United States, Europe and Asia. He has a doctorate in musical arts from USC.

Born in South Korea, Kim attracted international attention at 17 when she placed third in Italy’s prestigious Busoni Piano Competition as its youngest participant. Since then, she has received many awards including prizes at the Hong Kong and Toronto international piano competitions. She has performed with numerous orchestras including the Russian State Philharmonic, Budapest Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and made her Carnegie Hall recital debut in 2016. She teaches at the Colburn School in Los Angeles.

Donations will be accepted. Audience members must wear masks. For information, contact the Music Department at 805-493-3306 or music@CalLutheran.edu, or visit CalLutheran.edu.