Joel SMIRNOFF: “Food and Ancestry” for two violins and piano (2018)

(Commissioned by violinist Patrick T.S. Yim and premiered by violinists Patrick T.S. Yim and Joel Smirnoff and pianist Rachel Cheung)


November 1, 2018 performed by violinists Patrick Yim and Joel Smirnoff and pianist Rachel Cheung at “Concert with Juilliard Violin Faculty Joel Smirnoff, Samuel Ericsson (cello), Felix Ungar (viola), and Rachel Cheung (piano)” (Sponsored by the Institute of Creativity and the Hung Hin Shiu Charitable Foundation.), Academic Community Hall at Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong. (World Premiere Performance)

Programme Notes

Food and Ancestry is a work for two violins and piano inspired by folk traditions. The work uses music from the Yu Lan Festival and Jewish Yom Kippur and offers a window into the way two different cultures celebrate their ancestry.
The work was commissioned by violinist Patrick Yim.


President, Cleveland Institute of Music, 2008-2016. Violinist, Juilliard String Quartet, 1986-2008. Chair, Juilliard violin department, 2000-08. In 2000, made his official American conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony, conducting an all-Tchaikovsky program; has since conducted the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Phoenix Symphony, Louisiana Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, and New World Symphony, among others. In Europe, led the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and the Basel Sinfonietta in a European tour with Charles Rosen as soloist in the Elliott Carter Piano Concerto. Second-prize winner, International American Music Competition for Violin, 1983; subsequently awarded debuts at Carnegie Hall on its Emerging Artists series and at Town Hall on its Midtown Masters series. Recipient of a Lifetime Grammy Award for his recorded work with the Juilliard String Quartet and an Alumni Professional Achievement Award from the University of Chicago. As a jazz musician, had solos featured on the Grammy Award-winning CD Tony Bennett Sings Ellington Hot and Cool; has also been guest soloist with Gunther Schuller and the American Jazz Orchestra, and the Billy Taylor Trio.