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Frequency: Variations

Monday, January 22, 2024 - 7:30pm
$20 General; $15 UW affiliate; $10 students/seniors.
Chamber group Frequency

Chamber group Frequency—violinists Michael Jinsoo Lim and Jennifer Caine Provine, violist Melia Watras, and cellist Sarah Rommel—performs works by Sergei Prokofiev, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint Georges, Benjamin Britten, Felix Mendelssohn, Kaija Saariaho, and the world premiere of a new work by Melia Watras in this exploration of the musical form of theme and variations.


Tema con variazioni from Sonata for Solo Violin in D major, Opus 115: Sergei Prokofiev  (1891-1953)

Sonata for Two Violins in A major: Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint Georges (1745-1799)
I. Quarter note = 120                                                                                                           
II. Aria con variazioni

Aure (2011) for violin and cello: Kaija Saariaho  (1952-2023)

Tema con variazioni for String Quartet in E major, Op. 81, No. 1: Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Mnemosyne’s breath for string quartet (2023): Melia Watras (b. 1969)

Chacony from String Quartet No. 2 in C major, Op. 36 (1945): Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)



A “dream” ensemble, according to King FM-Seattle’s Second Inversion, Frequency presents innovative, invigorating and intriguing chamber music concerts. Composed of violinists Michael Jinsoo Lim and Jennifer Caine Provine (who share the front violin desk of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra as Concertmaster and Associate Concertmaster) and violist Melia Watras and cellist Sarah Rommel (who are on the faculty of the University of Washington School of Music), Frequency is a modular chamber music group, breaking into different parts to present solos, duos and trios, while also expanding with renowned guest artists to perform in a variety of formations. Frequency members have performed as soloists and chamber musicians worldwide, in leading concert halls such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, La Seine Musicale, and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  

Michael Jinsoo Lim

Violinist Michael Jinsoo Lim has been praised by Gramophone for playing with “delicious abandon,” and hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “conspicuously accomplished champion of contemporary music.” Concertmaster and solo violinist for the internationally acclaimed Pacific Northwest Ballet, Lim’s solo appearances with the company include performances in Paris, New York City, Los Angeles and Seattle, in concertos by Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bach, Max Richter and others. Lim is the founder of the Seattle-based ensemble Frequency and was co-founder of the award-winning Corigliano Quartet, with whom he appeared on over a dozen albums, including the groups’s Naxos label CD which was honored as one of The New Yorker’s Ten Best Classical Recordings of the Year. His discography can be found on Naxos, Planet M, Sono Luminus, DreamWorks, Albany, Bridge, CRI, Bayer Records, RIAX and New Focus. Lim has served on the faculty of the Banff Centre, taught at Indiana University as a guest professor, and currently serves on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts.

Jennifer Caine Provine

Jennifer Caine Provine, violinist, is Associate Concertmaster of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra and violinist of the Volta Piano Trio, with whom she has performed extensively throughout the Northwest and abroad, been heard on national radio stations, and recorded three discs on the Con Brio label to critical acclaim. She also performs with Seattle-based chamber ensembles Frequency and Kokopelli, and has appeared on several chamber music series and at national and international summer music festivals. She was Assistant Director and Resident Violinist at the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts in Leavenworth, WA from 2007-2010. A recipient of several awards and grants, Jennifer has also written freelance reviews for Strings magazine’s In Print column. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree from the Royal College of Music in London.

Cellist Sarah Rommel.

Cellist Sarah Rommel is a top prizewinner of the 2014 George Enescu International Cello Competition. She has been the recipient of several awards and grants including a Frank Huntington Beebe Fund Grant and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artists Award.

Sarah has given recitals at Caramoor’s Evnin Rising Stars Showcase and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in addition to solo performances in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, France, Italy, England, and Romania. She has actively participated in classes at the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, Academie Musicale de Villecroze, and IMS Prussia Cove where she has worked closely with distinguished professors such as David Geringas, Gary Hoffman, Frans Helmerson, and Paul Katz.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, Sarah was a founding member of the cello quintet SAKURA and regularly appears with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble in Boston. She has also recently toured with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Musicians from Marlboro. Sarah has been invited to perform at festivals such as the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, Music from Angel Fire, NM, Music in May Festival, Santa Cruz Chamber Players, Chamber Music Palisades, Chamber Music Sedona, as well as Caramoor’s Evnin Rising Stars Series, Chamber Music New Zealand, Yellow Barn, Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and Marlboro Music Festival. Sarah has collaborated with composers John Adams, Sofia Gubaidulina, Jennifer Higdon, Steve Mackey, and Kaija Saariaho, pianists Jonathan Biss and Gil Kalish, violinists Lucy Chapman, Pamela Frank, Joseph Lin, Scott St. John, and Don Weilerstein, violists Atar Arad, Kim Kashkashian and Nobuko Imai, and cellists Peter Wiley and Ralph Kirshbaum.

Sarah began her musical studies on the piano at age nine and was later introduced to the cello at age twelve. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where she pursued a Bachelor of Music studying with Peter Wiley. Previous teachers include Efe Baltacigil and Hans Jørgen Jensen. She received her Master’s Degree from the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles studying under the tutelage of Ralph Kirshbaum. Sarah is currently based in Seattle, WA where she is Artist-in-Residence and cello faculty at the University of Washington. When not playing the cello, Sarah can be found knitting, reading, or playing fetch with her yellow Labrador Retriever named Rhubarb or cuddling with her orange Siberian cat named Laptop.

Melia Watras (Photo: Michelle Smith Lewis)

Melia Watras has been hailed by Gramophone as “an artist of commanding and poetic personality” and by The Strad as “staggeringly virtuosic.” As a violist, composer and collaborative artist, she has sustained a distinguished career as a creator and facilitator of new music and art. The 2023-24 season includes the release of her new album Play/Write, which features her own compositions and works by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti and Frances White; the world premiere of Watras’s Fantasies in alto clef for viola ensemble, commissioned by the American Viola Society for their 2024 festival in Los Angeles; and the debut of Watras’s Sarabanda for solo viola, which will be premiered and recorded as part of Atar Arad’s project, Partita Party.

Watras’s discography has received considerable attention from the press and the public. Her album String Masks, a collection of her own compositions including the titular work which utilizes Harry Partch instruments, was praised for “not only the virtuoso’s sensitive playing, but also her innovative and daring spirit,” by the Journal of the American Viola Society. Her compositional debut album, Firefly Songs, was hailed for “distilling rich life experiences into strikingly original musical form” by Textura. Schumann Resonances was described by the American Record Guide as “a rare balance of emotional strength and technical delicacy.” The Strad called 26 “a beautiful celebration of 21st century viola music.” Ispirare made numerous Best of 2015 lists, including the Chicago Reader’s (“Watras knocked the wind out of me with the dramatically dark beauty of this recording”). Short Stories was a Seattle Times Critics’ Pick, with the newspaper marveling at her “velocity that seems beyond the reach of human fingers.” Of her debut solo CD (Viola Solo), Strings praised her “stunning virtuosic talent” and called her second release (Prestidigitation) “astounding and both challenging and addictive to listen to.”

Watras’s compositions have been performed in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Bloomington (IN), Columbus (GA), Denmark, Spain, Switzerland and Wales. She has been commissioned by the Avalon String Quartet, violinists Mark Fewer, Rachel Lee Priday and Michael Jinsoo Lim, cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, pianist Cristina Valdés, accordionist Jeanne Velonis, violist Rose Wollman, and has had works performed by artists such as violist Atar Arad, singer Galia Arad, pianist Winston Choi, Harry Partch Instrumentarium Director Charles Corey, violinists Tekla Cunningham, Manuel Guillén and Yura Lee, vocalist Carrie Henneman Shaw, percussionist Bonnie Whiting and the ensemble Frequency. Her music has been heard on National Public Radio’s Performance Today, and can be found on the albums Play/Write; String Masks; 3 Songs for Bellows, Buttons and Keys; Firefly Songs; Schumann Resonances and 26. Watras’s adaptation of John Corigliano’s Fancy on a Bach Air for viola is published by G. Schirmer, Inc. and can be heard on her Viola Solo album.

For twenty years, Watras concertized worldwide and recorded extensively as violist of the renowned Corigliano Quartet, which she co-founded. The quartet appears on 13 albums, including their recording on the Naxos label, which was honored as one of the Ten Best Classical Recordings of the Year by The New Yorker.

Melia Watras studied with Atar Arad at Indiana University, earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. While at Indiana, Watras began her teaching career as Professor Arad’s Associate Instructor, and was a member of the faculty as a Visiting Lecturer. She went on to study chamber music at the Juilliard School while serving as a teaching assistant to the Juilliard String Quartet.

Watras is currently Professor of Viola and Chair of Strings at the University of Washington, where she holds the Ruth Sutton Waters Endowed Professorship and was awarded the Adelaide D. Currie Cole Endowed Professorship, the Donald E. Petersen Endowed Fellowship, the Kreielsheimer and Jones Grant for Research Excellence in the Arts, and the Royalty Research Fund. Watras has given viola and chamber music classes at schools such as Indiana University, Cleveland Institute of Music, Strasbourg Conservatoire (France), and Chosun University (South Korea). She frequently returns to her alma mater, Indiana, to teach as a guest professor. She plays a viola made by Samuel Zygmuntowicz.