NEW YORK – Violinist Danae Papamatthaiou-Matschke made her U.S. debut at the Union League Club in New York City on October 19. The talented young violinist performed with pianist Lianhua Chi. It was the first ever collaboration between the two artists though their skillful playing seemed effortless, as if they had performed together for years. The program featured the Scherzo from the FAE Sonata by Johannes Brahms, Sonata for Piano and Violin in F major Op. 24 “Fruhlingssonate” by Ludwig von Beethoven, Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major by Cesar Franck, and Notturno e Tarantella, Op. 28 by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski.
Papamatthaiou-Matschke thanked everyone for the warm welcome as she took the stage for her U.S. debut, noting that the selections for the evening’s program reflected the stages of her career so far. The first piece reflected the “emotional or artistic beginnings of her artistic life,” she said, adding that she performed the Brahms at age 16. Papamatthaiou-Matschke’s beautiful playing with emotion and excellent touch in such lovely harmony with Chi’s skillful piano playing, so moved the audience that they broke with strict classical music concert etiquette and applauded between the movements during the sonatas by Beethoven and later on by Franck.
Of the Franck sonata, Papamatthaiou-Matschke said she feels a great connection to the piece, sharing the memory of hearing it played by her father and another violinist. The final piece by Szymanowski, she noted, is a “typical show piece” which was the final piece she played during her studies in Hamburg, Germany, and “marked the start of her professional career.”
At the conclusion of the concert, the audience reacted with enthusiastic applause for a wonderful evening of music and the honor of witnessing the U.S. debut of such a gifted artist. Bouquets and congratulations were given to both musicians.
Born in Athens, Danae Papamatthaiou-Matschke belongs to a new generation of very promising Greek musical talents. She took her first violin lessons in Greece. The multiple international award-winning violinist has been performing at renowned concert venues around the world since the age of 11, including the Gewandhaus of Leipzig, The National Centre for Performing Arts of Beijing and the Athens and Thessaloniki Concert Halls.
Lianhua Chi is a double graduate of top conservatories in Germany and New York, and has performed in world-famous venues in Dusseldorf and New York City. She is a specialist in music from the classical and romantic eras, taking prizes in international piano competitions with her repertoire.
Among those in attendance were Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras and his wife Popita Pavli, Union League Club members who sponsored the concert Hercules D. Kontos and George Maroulis- Director of the Hellenic American Bankers Association, and Chairman of the Art Committee Julien “Julles” N. Vachon. Pianist Maria Asteriadou, a talented artist in her own right, was also present.
As noted on the Union League Club’s website, “Founded in 1863 by a group of concerned citizens to help preserve the Union, the Union League Club of New York has built, over ensuing years, a record of distinguished service to our country. Members of The Union League Club were instrumental in establishing The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1870 as well as the Sanitary Commission, a predecessor organization to the American Red Cross. It helped erect the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and the Lincoln Monument in Union Square. Its members were instrumental in bringing down the ‘Boss’ Tweed ring and in raising funds to outfit American soldiers in several conflicts. Many prominent civic, state and national leaders have enjoyed the fellowship of the ULC. Theodore Roosevelt managed his early political career from the Club’s chambers. J. Pierpont Morgan was a regular, along with John Jay, William Cullen Bryant, Chester A. Arthur, and Thomas Nast. Fifteen Presidents, seven Senators, many Congressmen, diplomats, cabinet members, and scores of CEOs of major corporations have been members of the Club during the past hundred and fifty years and have participated in its programs.”
Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras and violinist Danae Papamatthaiou-Matschke who made her U.S. debut at the Union League Club. Photo by Fotios Kaliampakos
George Maroulis, Hercules D. Kontos, pianist Lianhua Chi, violinist Danae Papamatthaiou-Matschke, and Julien “Julles” N. Vachon- Chairman, Union League Club Art Committee. Photo by Fotios Kaliampakos