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Musical Soiree at the Pong's Residence


July 21, 2012


Sietse-Jan Weijenberg & Li Wang




  On this beautiful Saturday afternoon, we made the trip out to Dr. Pong's residence to attend his private "Swimming Pool Soirees".   It is called "Pool Soirees" because his indoor pool area is literally converted into a concert hall.  







JS Bach:    Suite for Solo Cello No. 6 in D Major, BMW 1012 - Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gavotte I & 2, Gigue

F. Chopin:    Mazurkas Op. 24, No. 1,2,3,4

L. Beethoven:    Sonata for Cello & Piano No. 4 in C Major - Andante, Allegro vivace, Adagio, Tempo d'andante, Allegro vivace


O. Messiaen:    Louange à l’Eternité de Jésus

J. Brahms:     Cello Sonata No. 1, in minor - Allegro non troppo, Allegretto quasi menuetto, Allegro


Sietse-Jan Weijenberg:

Sietse-Jan Weijenberg studied with Jan Ype Nota at the Groningen Conservatory, the Netherlands, and Michel Strauss at the CNSM of Paris, while taking masterclasses with Richard Aaron, Janos Starker, Natalia Gutman and others.

Sietse-Jan is a laureate of many competitions, most recently taking a top prize at the 2009 Rostropovich Competition. Since 2010 Sietse-Jan performs as principal cellist at the Residentieorkest, The Hague. Also successful as a chambermusician, his trio won first prize at the Maria Canals Piano Trio competition 2009. He is a regular guest of international festivals like the Peter the Great Festival, the festival Musique à Giverny, the Storioni Festival or the Kuhmo Festival.

He appears frequently as a soloist, having performed a substantial part of the concertante repertory with orchestras such as Amsterdam Sinfoniëtta, the National Dutch Student Orchestra or the Orchestre de Paris. Sietse-Jan plays the Ex-Starker Joseph Guarneri cello (1707), on generous loan by an anonymous patron.


Li Wang:


Li Wang’s passionate and personal style has distinguished him as one of Canada’s finest young artists. Gold medal winner of the First Canadian Chopin Piano Competition, Li Wang has enjoyed success on the international competition circuit, claiming awards and distinctions in the AXA Dublin International Piano Competition, 43rd Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona, the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition held in Budapest, and the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, in which he was the only Canadian accepted to compete.


In 2003, Mr. Wang performed a benefit concert for Ethiopian famine relief in Toronto where his “flawless technique combined with his light touch to produce the most exquisite tonal effects”(John Terauds, The Toronto Star). Born in Beijing, Mr. Wang discovered his passion for the piano while studying under his father, and furthered his musical training at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, the Conservatoire Nationale Superieure de Musique in Paris, and The Royal Conservatory’s Glenn Gould School in Canada under the tutelage of James Anagnoson. A resident of Toronto, Mr. Wang is currently piano faculty at both The Glenn Gould School and Young Artists Performance Academy of The Royal Conservatory.






The breaktaking performance by Sietse-Jan Weijenberg was intimate and upclose.   Never have I sat so close to the performer ever before, I was literally 10 feet away from him.    In Louange à l’Eternité de Jésus, the music was gentle yet emotionally charged, captivating the audience's attention with a melody which stretches majestically into a kind of gentle and regal elegance.

The cello he played is the ex-Janos Straker Joseph Guarneri Cello, on generous loan by an anonymous patron.    Janos Starker is famous amongst audiophiles for his famous Mercury Living Stereo Back Cello Suites recording.   Even with the slightly glide of bow across the string, the cello can be heard even from the furthest position of the hall with the utmost detail.     The timber was rich, and texture was perfect.




Listening to Li Wang and Sietes Jan perform Beethoven's Sonata for Cello & Piano No. 4 up close was pure delight for me as they gave a brilliant performance, catching every mood and nuance of the sonata.  I was completely drawn into the performance.





















Post concert refreshments, generously prepared for concert attendees.



Dr. Edward Pong, & Rick of

Dr. Pong is the recording engineer for all his concert recordings.    



After the concert, I took the liberty of introducing myself to Dr. Pong’s technical guru.  Tony designed and built all the tube recording / playback equipment for Dr. Pong.   I have been wanting to meet him for a long time.   Tony was nice enough to provide members of the GTA Audiophile Club a private tour of Dr. Pong’s audio system.   He played for us the recording which was made just a few minutes ago, so we can experience first hand what live vs tape recording is all about.


I have a feeling Tony could very well be one of the best technicians in town. Tony is not just any ordinary person who knows about circuits.   He learned from Nobu Shishido in Japan (designer for Wavac Audio), and he has a thorough understanding of single ended high voltage circuits which are considered by many as the ultimate audio circuits.  Due to high voltages involved, many technicians will not even service them, let alone design one from the ground up.   As a designer, Tony has built a wide range of audio amplifiers, almost everything you see at Dr. Pong's house were custom built by Tony.  



























This has been one of the most enjoyable afternoon of my entire summer.    Because of the added tour at the end, the entire event literally became two concerts combined into one !  It was as much a music lovers, as well as an audiophile's delight. 

I'm eagerly looking forward to Dr. Pong's next concert which will be held in October:

Date: Saturday October 20

 he New Trio - violinist Andrew Wan (concertmaster of Montreal Symphony), cellist Patrick Jee, and pianist Julio Elizalde playing:

Brahms B Major trio
Beethoven's Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 11
Schoenfield Trio

The New Trio won Grand Prizes at the 2008 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and 2007 Coleman Chamber Music Competition

Please check their website for their Bios etc.









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