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The Beach and Bach: SFCM Students Perform at Hawaii Chamber Music Festival

Four SFCM students served as quartet-in-residence for the Hawaii Chamber Music Festival and worked with local music students.

July 17, 2023 by Mark Taylor

A beach vacation is a summer classic, but four SFCM students brought classical music to the beach as part of a new partnership between SFCM and the Hawaii Chamber Music Festival (HCMF) in June. 

Four students—Mathea Goh and Shintaro Taneda on violins, Seongwoo Jeong on viola, and Calvin Kung on cello—served as the Kaimana Quartet for the festival, performing and working with local young musicians. The four students are all graduate students currently in the SFCM chamber music program and were selected by the Chair of the program, Dimitri Murrath

“The trip was a phenomenal experience! I loved being able to teach and perform chamber music in an environment where I normally don't get the chance to,” Calvin Kung said of the unique experience. During their stay, the SFCM students were housed in the Kaimana Beach Hotel in Honolulu.

SFCM students in Hawaii.

SFCM students at the Kaimana Beach Hotel in Honolulu.

In addition to performing in the HCMF, the four SFCM graduate students worked with students in the 2023 Summer Young Artist Program in mid-June. “It was such a joy and inspiration to receive instruction and perform side-by-side, it was incredible to see new friendships built through mentorship and guidance and I know many of our keiki (kids) admired the SFCM quartet members,” said Christopher Yick, the founder of the HCMF. “In fact, many have already asked to bring SFCM back next year!” Yick continued, “Every member had such talent, charisma, and professionalism,” Yick said of the SFCM students involved.  

Most recently the HCMF appointed violinist Stefan Jackiw as its Artistic Director. Jackiw is also an Opus 3 Artist, the management company acquired by SFCM in 2020. One of his goals will be to strengthen educational programming like the Young Artists Program. 

The trip was a first for many, including Jeong. “It was an amazing time for me. As everyone knows, as a musician, communicating and sharing my talent with someone is a great joy and happiness. Moreover, it was my first time going to Hawaii. The weather, the beach, and everything in Hawaii was perfect!” Jeong said. 

SFCM students in Hawaii.

SFCM students at the Kaimana Beach Hotel in Honolulu.

For founder Yick, he hopes the program continues next year, bringing another crop of SFCM students to Hawaii to again spread classical music to the island. “Hawaii loves San Francisco and San Francisco loves Hawaii. I know for our students, they've created lifelong memories from this experience,” Yick continued. “The community was delighted to hear such world-class talent performing here on the islands.”

For all students involved, they echo the hope that the relationship between SFCM and the HCMF continues for many summers to come. “It was such a great opportunity and a happy time,” Jeong said. Crediting both the fun of performing and the uniqueness of helping younger local musicians appreciate classical music, he added, “I hope they give valuable inspiration to local young talented artists in Hawaii and learn new things through them so that SFCM's wave goes beyond Hawaii to the wider world.”

Learn about studying chamber music at SFCM.