Sara Su Jones and Tatyana Stepanova

June 17, 2019, 8:00 pm

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Violinist Sara Su Jones returns to the Fay and Daniel Levin performance studio with collaborative pianist Tatyana Stepanova with works of Johannes Brahms, Béla Bartók, Jean Sibelius, and more for their live recital on WFMT.

Hailed as a “violinist of enviable gifts” by a Chicago Sun-Times music critic, Sara Su Jones is an award- winning violinist who has performed as a soloist throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. In recent seasons, she has given recitals in London, England; Lisbon, Portugal; Reykjavík, Iceland; Washington, DC; Massachusetts; California; Wisconsin; and Indiana. Her Icelandic concerts include a recital on the main stage at Harpa, the home of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, for an audience of over 500, as well as recitals for ambassadors and cultural leaders, including former Icelandic president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, at the Residences of the US and Canadian Ambassadors to Iceland.

Sara Su, whose solo recitals have been recommended by the Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein, appears regularly in her native Chicago in such venues as Preston Bradley Hall (Chicago Cultural Center), Fourth Presbyterian Church (Artists in Recital Series), PianoForte, and the Cliff Dwellers Club, as well as for the Musicians Club of Women and Chapters of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Together with pianist Tatyana Stepanova, she has performed on “Live from WFMT,” the station’s full-length recital series.

At age 17, Sara Su received an A.R.C.M. certificate in violin performance from the Royal College of Music in London and was heard as a soloist on BBC Radio. A top prizewinner in various music competitions in both the UK and US, including that of the Harvard Musical Association, Sara Su served for three years as assistant concertmaster of Harvard’s symphony orchestra, and since 2006 has served as concertmaster of the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra, with which she has performed as a soloist. For most of her life, she studied with the late Mark Zinger, a former student and colleague of David Oistrakh; she currently studies with Gerardo Ribeiro. Sara Su performs on a 2017 violin made for her by the Icelandic luthier Hans Johannsson.

Sara Su holds an A.B. in Economics, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and a J.D., cum laude, both from Harvard. Formerly a diplomatic intern at the US State Department and US Embassy Moscow, she worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in New York and as a trusts and estates lawyer at Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston. In 2004, Sara Su founded Elite Educational Coaching; she now coaches students throughout the US and internationally in person and via Skype on test prep, writing skills, and college admissions.

Tatyana Stepanova is a noted performer and teacher, praised by the Chicago Tribune as a “fine” and “persuasive” pianist. Tatyana graduated from the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Kiev, Ukraine, and the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory in St. Petersburg, studying under Prof. Tatyana Kravchenko.

An active chamber musician, Tatyana has performed with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Chicago Chamber Musicians. Her concert appearances also include Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, live 98.7 WFMT broadcasts, and Rush Hour Concerts at St. James Cathedral, as well as performances with the Storioni Ensemble and as a soloist with Concertante di Chicago.

Much of her career has been devoted to collaborative music-making, particularly with violinists. Since 1992, Tatyana has accompanied the faculty and students of Northwestern, DePaul, and Roosevelt Universities; she has also been involved for many years with The Stradivari Society, performing with world-class artists. In addition, she has participated as an accompanist in the Oistrakh, Paganini, Wieniawski, and Indianapolis International Violin Competitions, as well as the Stulberg International String Competition.

Tatyana maintains a private piano studio in Mount Prospect for students of all ages. Her piano students have won prizes in numerous competitions, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Auditions, the Walgreens National Concerto Competition, and the DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers. In addition, Tatyana is a sought-after chamber-music coach whose ensembles have earned national recognition. In recent years, ensembles she coached won Grand Prizes in the Discover and Barnett national chamber-music competitions in addition to earning awards in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the University of Michigan’s M-Prize Competition. Tatyana is on the faculty at Midwest Young Artists (MYA), teaching the sonata class and coaching chamber groups, and she has also taught at the elite Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago.


Sonata in A major, Op. 100, by Johannes Brahms
Allegro amabile
Andante-tranquillo-Vivace-Andante-Vivace di più-Andante-Vivace
Allegretto grazioso (quasi andante)

O Magnum Mysterium, by Morton Lauridsen
arr. for violin and piano by the composer

Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 56, BB 68, by Béla Bartók
arr. Zoltán Székely
Jocul cu bâtă (Stick Dance)
Brâul (Sash Dance)
Pe loc (Stamping Dance—In One Spot)
Buciumeana (Dance from Bucsum—Horn Dance)
Poarga Românească (Romanian Polka)
Mărunțel (Fast Dance)

Suite in the Old Style, Op. 80, by Alfred Schnittke

Poeme in D-flat major, Op. 39a, by Zdenek Fibich
arr. Jan Kubelík

Song of Love, Op. 7, No. 1 , by Josef Suk
arr. Jaroslav Kocián

Appassionato, by Josef Suk
from Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 17, No. 2

Nocturne from Belshazzar’s Feast, Op. 51, No. 3, by Jean Sibelius
arr. Mikhail Press