Grace Fong and Jun Iwasaki: A Grand Encounter in Classical Music

Classical music is usually reserved for the larger, more opulent Indianapolis music venues. Huge orchestras need huge spaces to play in, and the graceful architecture and vast scope of Indianapolis theaters like Clowes Memorial Hall, Hilbert Circle Theatre, and even the amphitheater at the Conner Prairie Living History Museum are usually the best choices to house these multi-member ensembles. Despite all its pomp and grandeur, classical music still has a strong foundation in the basic building blocks of music: rhythm, melody, and tempo, all three of which can be performed without the benefit of a full orchestra. In fact, sometimes the music is more elegant when reduced to its essentials, as you’ll see if you decide to attend the most recent installment of the 2011 Grand Encounters Series, featuring Grace Fong and Jun Iwasaki at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center on Sunday, March 6, 2011 in Indianapolis.

Video of Jun Iwasaki performing Tchaikovsky’s Second Concerto with Caroline Milot andthe Zsolt Bognar orchestra; Jun Iwasaki will be performing in Indianapolis with his wife, Grace Fong


Grace Fong and Jun Iwasaki are a husband and wife duo who have more than paid their dues in classical music circles; each has played all over the world and has won numerous awards for their craft. Grace Fong is a chamber musician, soloist, and concert soloist who primarily plays the piano. She has performed for a number of prestigious companies around the world, including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Polish Chamber Orchestra, the Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra, the Shreveport Symphony, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and many, many others. Along the way, she’s appeared in countless media broadcasts (though none in Indianapolis media), from KUSC 91.5 FM in Los Angeles to a piece for “Performance Today” on National Public Radio.

Video of Grace Fong and accompanying violinist Chee-Yun performing Sonata #1 by Camille Saint Saens during the 2009 Innsbrook Institute; Grace Fong will be playing with her husband, Jun Iwasaki, in Indianapolis


Grace Fong has also proved her worth with awards and grants, most notably her 2009 Christel deHaan Classical Fellowship, awarded by the American Pianists Association after a rigorous year and a half of performances in the Circle City; she was the first female winner of the fellowship in twelve years. Other awards earned by Dr. Fong include the Grand Prize in piano from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts and top prize at the Music Academy of the West Concerto Competition. A prolific educator, Grace Fong is currently the Director of Keyboard Studies at the Chapman University Conservatory of Music, faculty at Claremont Graduate University, and has held guest educator roles at the New Hampshire Music Festival, the Salt Spring Piano Festival, and the Sitka Chamber Music Festival.

Video of classical pianist Grace Fong performing Mozart’s K. 467 with the Halle Orchestra in the United Kingdom; Grace Fong and Jun Iwasaki will be performing in Indianapolis March 6

But Grace Fong isn’t the only accomplished musician who will be performing at the Indiana History Center as part of the 2011 Grand Encounters series. Her husband, Jun Iwasaki, is currently the concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, a post he’s held since 2007. Iwasaki has been playing violin since the age of five, and he had his first professional solo performance (with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra) at the age of twelve. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and has played almost as many festivals and events as Dr. Fong, including the Mainly Mozart Festival, the Okinawa Moonbeach festival, the New York String Seminar, and many others. He’s also performed with several other professional companies, including the Rome Philharmonic (in Rome, Georgia), the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Richardson Symphony Orchestra, and prior to his spot as concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony he was the concertmaster of the Canton Symphony Orchestra.

Video of violinist Jun Iwasaki completing Tchaikovsky’s Second Concerto; Jun Iwasaki and Grace Fong will be performing in Indianapolis March 6, 2011


Together, Grace Fong and Jun Iwasaki create ethereal, powerful classical music that should be perfect for the intimate setting of the Indiana History Center. Sponsored by the American Pianists Association and part of the 2011 Grand Encounters series, Grace Fong and Jun Iwasaki’s performance will allow Indianapolis music lovers to experience the grandeur and technical complexity of classical music on the small scale, performed by two virtuosos who excel at their craft. And if you’re worried about the price of admission, it’ll console you to know that all proceeds for this Indianapolis event will benefit classical and jazz pianists in addition to Indianapolis non-profit organizations for arts outreach programs that will help Indianapolis schools, nursing homes, and community centers. Grace Fong and Jun Iwasaki will be performing at the Indiana History Center, located along the Indianapolis Canal Walk near downtown Indianapolis, on Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. Tickets range from $22 to $25 and can be purchased from the Indiana History Center box office. Don’t miss this chance to see two virtuosos of classical music demonstrate their skill in the small, unpretentious confines of the Indiana History Center.

2011 Grand Encounters Series Presents Grace Fong and Jun Iwasaki
Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
Tickets: $22 – $25
Event Homepage

Indiana History Center
450 W Ohio St
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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