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Live in Studio 4A
Our showcase for artists invited to perform on the program and talk about their music
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Our list of 50 essential classical CDs
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Bruce Adolphe's "name that composer" piano quiz
Live in Studio 4A
Yolanda Kondonassis & Chee-Yun
Yolanda Kondonassis & Chee-Yun Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis and violinist Chee-Yun met rather serendipitously a few years ago at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, and found that they hit it off personally and musically.

Listen to the feature (35:37)

photo gallery icon Photo Gallery: Yolanda Kondonassis & Chee-Yun, Live in Studio 4A

Chee-Yun and Yolanda Kondonassis in NPR's Studio 4B
Chee-Yun and Yolanda Kondonassis
in NPR's Studio 4A
Credit: Nerissa Paglinauan, NPR Online
Yolanda Kondonassis and Chee-Yun

Live in Studio 4A

audio icon 'Zerbina'
(Bernard Andres)

audio icon Fantaisie, Op. 124

audio icon Meditation from 'Thaïs'

Chee-Yun and Yolanda are each busy, sought-after solo artists, but they like to make time to play music that isn't heard very often, music for violin and harp. The pair stopped by NPR's Studio 4A to talk to Fred Child about what they're up to individually and as a team. They play music by Camille Saint-Saëns written for the harp and violin, and the beautiful Meditation from the opera Thaïs, by Jules Massenet, arranged for harp and violin. Chee-Yun thinks this violin/harp arrangement feels and sounds better than the often heard violin/piano combination. After all, the harp part is in the original context of the opera.

This violin and harp duo also introduces music by contemporary French composer Bernard Andres. Perhaps not widely known in the classical world, Andres is very well known among harpists. A harpist himself, Andres wrote several works for harp solo and a few collaborative works, including "Zerbina" for violin and harp. Yolanda explains that Andres really knows the harp and utilizes all of its interesting effects, including pedal glissandos and using the sound board for percussion elements. In "Zerbina", Andres has also incorporated interesting effects for the violin, including pizzicatos, harmonics, and the method of hitting the strings with the wood of the bow to produce chords.

While playing chamber music as a duo may not be as lucrative as playing solo engagements with large orchestras for Yolanda and Chee-Yun, Yolanda reveals that they're not in the business for the money. "We don't look at a date or an engagement and either do it or not do it based on the pay day." As long as they like the music and have fun together, and if the experience helps them artistically, they will continue to perform together. Chee-Yun asserts, "It's very satisfying musically. Absolutely!"

In Depth