Interview with New Suzuki Recordings 4-6 Pianist Kuang-Hao Huang
By Kuang-Hao Huang | May 21, 2022
Alfred Music, in cooperation with the International Suzuki Association, is pleased to announce the release of new recordings for the Suzuki Violin School Volumes 4-6. Two extraordinary artists, world-renowned violinist Augustine Hadelich, and pianist Kuang-Hao Huang, have collaborated to make a stunning new version of this repertoire. Teachers, students and families will be fascinated to read below how the artists viewed this project, both from the musical interpretive standpoint, and from the logistics of the recording studio. We know you will enjoy their personal thoughts on this massive undertaking.
阿爾弗雷德音樂與國際鈴木協會合作，很高興地宣布發布鈴木小提琴學校第 4-6 卷的新唱片。世界著名小提琴家奧古斯丁·哈德利希和鋼琴家黃光昊兩位非凡的藝術家合作，為這部曲目製作了令人驚嘆的新版本。教師、學生和家庭將從音樂解釋的角度和錄音室的後勤方面閱讀以下藝術家如何看待這個項目，將會著迷。我們知道您會喜歡他們對這項艱鉅任務的個人想法。
Interview questions and editing were conducted by Allen Lieb, CEO of the International Suzuki Association.
採訪問題和編輯由國際鈴木協會首席執行官 Allen Lieb 主持。
Tell us a bit about your previous experience in the Suzuki Method. Did any of that experience come into play when making these recordings?
- Most of my Suzuki method experience came from working with my daughter and her first violin teacher. Although she stopped her Suzuki training before Book 4, I was VERY well-acquainted with how integral these recordings are to the students’ (and parents’) learning process.
- 我的大部分鈴木方法經驗都來自與我女兒和她的第一位小提琴老師一起工作。儘管她在第 4 冊之前停止了鈴木培訓，但我非常了解這些錄音對學生（和家長）的學習過程是多麼重要。
How did that experience play a role in your approach to this recording project? Did it impact your performance values differently than other recordings?
- I feel I prepare for all of my recordings with the same attention, care, and dedication, but there is no doubt that I was keenly aware that I would have a much, much larger audience for this recording!
What was your reaction on being invited to make the Suzuki recordings, especially by Augustin? Tell us about your previous collaborations with Augustin. How familiar are you with his approach to working in the studio?
- I have had the privilege to work with Augustin on several occasions over the past few years, and each time it has been an adventure, whether it was the venue (like NPR’s Tiny Desk) or the repertoire. And with the two of us living in different cities, we’ve never had the luxury of plentiful rehearsals, which has made these experiences even more exciting! However, I think we share similar musical sensibilities, and this makes putting pieces together very easy. When he asked me to take on this project, I was confident that the process would be smooth even though we had never recorded together before. Being asked by him to do this was totally unexpected and very flattering, and I will be forever grateful to him for giving me this opportunity.
- 在過去的幾年裡，我有幸多次與奧古斯丁合作，每次都是一次冒險，無論是場地（如 NPR 的 Tiny Desk）還是曲目。而且我們兩個生活在不同的城市，我們從來沒有過大量排練的奢侈，這讓這些經歷更加精彩！然而，我認為我們有相似的音樂敏感性，這使得將片段組合在一起非常容易。當他讓我接手這個項目時，我相信這個過程會很順利，即使我們以前從未一起錄製過。被他要求這樣做是完全出乎意料的，非常受寵若驚，我將永遠感謝他給我這個機會。
What were the biggest challenges you felt in the actual recording of the repertoire.
- For me, the biggest challenge was having Augustin play in a separate recording booth. Under normal circumstances, I can read his body language, hear his breathing, feel the vibrations coming from his instrument, and get a sense of how our sounds blend. For this recording, I had to listen to him through headphones, which gave me far less feedback. Wearing headphones also meant that I couldn’t hear my own sound very well. I honestly don’t know how Augustin was able to manage playing with headphones. At least I could easily get the cord out of the way, and the cups didn’t physically interfere with how I played my instrument.
- 對我來說，最大的挑戰是讓奧古斯丁在一個單獨的錄音棚裡演奏。在正常情況下，我可以讀懂他的肢體語言，聽到他的呼吸，感受到他樂器的振動，並了解我們的聲音是如何融合的。對於這段錄音，我不得不通過耳機聽他的聲音，這給我的反饋要少得多。戴耳機也意味著我聽不到自己的聲音。老實說，我不知道 Augustin 是如何能夠帶著耳機演奏的。至少我可以很容易地把繩子拿開，而且杯子不會影響我演奏樂器的方式。
What is different about a recording project from actual performance? How does that reflect in your playing during the sessions?
- For recordings, it is common to struggle with the feeling that you need to be absolutely precise and accurate, which can lead you to play too conservatively. Precision and accuracy are certainly desirable in a live performance, but it is definitely not the priority. Augustin made it very clear from the beginning of the sessions that he wanted us to play with the freedom of a live performance, and that we would take full advantage of the editing process if necessary.
How were the particular demands of this recording project different from ones you have done in the past? How was the necessity of being in two different rooms for the recording a challenge for your performance?
- In addition to what I said earlier about the difficulties of not being in the same room, our ability to rehearse in advance of the recording sessions was also inhibited by Covid.
- 除了我之前所說的不在同一個房間的困難之外，我們在錄製之前排練的能力也受到了 Covid 的抑制。
What are you listening for when you hear the playbacks in real time in the studio?
- Many things: sound, character, clarity of texture, ensemble— and I’m always listening for things to improve for the next take.
The editing process can be very daunting. What are some of the factors in that process that are especially important to you?
- For this project, I served mostly as an extra ear to catch note or editing errors in the piano. The three A’s (Allen, Augustin and Antonio, the sound engineer) did most of the heavy lifting. I know that “too many cooks in the kitchen” can be problematic, and the result can quickly devolve into a pastiche of differing demands that don’t necessarily work well together. As a result, I generally put my trust in the producer and make demands only when I hear something that I can’t live with. I am very pleased with how this recording has turned out considering all the factors that needed to be balanced.
- 對於這個項目，我主要充當額外的耳朵來捕捉鋼琴中的音符或編輯錯誤。三個 A（Allen、Augustin 和 Antonio，音響工程師）完成了大部分繁重的工作。我知道“廚房裡有太多廚師”可能會產生問題，結果很快就會演化成不同需求的拼湊，這些需求不一定能很好地協同工作。因此，我通常會信任製作人，只有在聽到無法接受的內容時才會提出要求。考慮到所有需要平衡的因素，我對這段錄音的結果感到非常滿意。
Any thoughts on the reality that these recordings will now be in households around the world on repeated listening as you have done in the past with your own children? Do they have any reaction to the fact that you are now the pianist on the Suzuki recordings?
- I hope that these recordings will not only inspire future generations of students to play the violin (and maybe the piano, too!), but also create and nurture lovers of classical music for years to come. My daughter said she is excited that so many kids will have the opportunity to play with the world’s best accompanist, but I think she’s a little biased!
Commended for his “perceptive pianism” (Audiophile) and “playing that is sensitive and wonderfully warm” (American Record Guide), Chicagoan Kuang-Hao Huang is a highly sought-after collaborative pianist whose performances have taken him throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. He has performed in New York City’s Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Merkin Hall; in Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center; and NPR’s Tiny Desk; and at every major venue in the Chicago area, including the Harris Theatre and Symphony Center. He is often heard live on WFMT and has also performed on WQXR and on Medici.tv. Mr. Huang has recorded for Aucourant, Cedille, Innova, and Naxos, including a CD of flute fantasies with flutist Mathieu Dufour and a premiere recording of early songs by Alban Berg with mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley. His most recent recordings include Notorious RBG in Song with soprano Patrice Michaels and Songs from Chicago with baritone Thomas Hampson.
A strong advocate of new music, Mr. Huang is a core member of Fulcrum Point New Music Project and Picosa. He has premiered numerous works, including pieces by Mason Bates, Jacob Bancks, Kyong Mee Choi, Stacy Garrop, John Harbison, Daniel Kellogg, and Shulamit Ran. Mr. Huang gave the world premiere performances of works by Louis Andriessen and Chen Yi at Weill Hall as part of Carnegie Hall’s Millennium Piano Book Project. He has appeared on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW
series. A dedicated teacher, Mr. Huang serves on the faculties of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and Concordia University-Chicago. He has also taught at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University.
From 2014-2021, Mr. Huang was the driving force behind Make Music Chicago (makemusicchicago.org), a citywide celebration of music every June 21st. He also founded the organization’s Pianos in the Parks program, which partners with the Chicago Park District to give all Chicagoans access to outdoor pianos as well as free lessons.
Photographer: Elliot Mandel
芝加哥人 Kuang-Hao Huang 因其“敏銳的鋼琴演奏”（Audiophile）和“敏感而美妙的演奏”（美國唱片指南）而受到讚揚，是一位備受追捧的合作鋼琴家，他的表演遍及北美、歐洲、和亞洲。他曾在紐約市的威爾音樂廳、卡內基音樂廳、林肯中心和默金音樂廳演出；在華盛頓特區的肯尼迪中心；和 NPR 的 Tiny Desk；以及芝加哥地區的每個主要場所，包括哈里斯劇院和交響樂中心。他經常在 WFMT 的現場演出，也曾在 WQXR 和 Medici.tv 上演出。黃先生曾為 Aucourant、Cedille、Innova 和 Naxos 錄製唱片，包括與長笛演奏家 Mathieu Dufour 合作的長笛幻想曲 CD，以及與女中音 Julia Bentley 合作的 Alban Berg 早期歌曲的首演錄音。臭名昭著的 RBG in Song與女高音 Patrice Michaels 和來自芝加哥的歌曲與男中音 Thomas Hampson。
新音樂的堅定倡導者，支點新音樂計劃和Picosa的核心成員。他首演過許多作品，包括梅森·貝茨、雅各布·班克斯、Kyong Mee Choi、Stacy Garrop、John Harbison、Daniel Kellogg 和 Shulamit Ran 的作品。作為卡內基音樂廳千年鋼琴圖書計劃的一部分，黃先生在威爾音樂廳進行了路易斯·安德里森和陳怡作品的全球首演。他出現在芝加哥交響樂團的 MusicNOW
系列中。黃先生是一位敬業的教師，現任教於羅斯福大學芝加哥表演藝術學院和芝加哥康考迪亞大學。他還曾在西北大學 Bienen 音樂學院任教。
從 2014 年到 2021 年，黃先生是芝加哥音樂節 (makemusicchicago.org) 的幕後推手，該節每年 6 月 21 日在全市範圍內舉辦音樂慶典。他還創立了該組織的公園鋼琴計劃，該計劃與芝加哥公園區合作，為所有芝加哥人提供戶外鋼琴和免費課程的機會。