Free Concert Offers Music for Food

Violist John Stulz and violinist Siwoo Kim return to Columbus to perform a perform a concert to help fight hunger, Thursday, June 19.(Photo: Alice Yoo)
Violist John Stulz and violinist Siwoo Kim return to Columbus to perform a perform a concert to help fight hunger, Thursday, June 19.(Photo: Alice Yoo)

Two emerging professional musicians from New York City are slated to perform in Ohio next week. Originally from the Columbus area, they are set to bring two of their colleagues with them to perform a concert to give back to the community that nurtured them.

Violinist Siwoo Kim, who grew up in Westerville, and violist John Stulz, a Columbus native, will return with cellist Alice Yoo and pianist Naomi Kudo to perform a concert to fight hunger as part of the Music for Food project.

The program will feature chamber works by Beethoven, Brahms and contemporary composer Garth Knox. It will take place Thursday, June 19, 7:30 p.m., at Ohio State University’s Weigel Hall Auditorium. Admission is by donation, and all proceeds will go to local food banks. A reception will follow the concert.

“It’s fun and great to play concerts and to play in our hometown again, but we wanted to do something a little more special and that would actually give back to the community,” Stulz said in a recent phone interview.

Stulz became involved with the Boston-based Music for Food project years ago through his former teacher, violist Kim Kashkashian, who founded Music for Food to raise money for the Greater Boston Food Bank. He and Kashkashian created and have distributed a guide to help musicians in other locales present hunger-fighting concerts under the Music for Food banner. Music for Food performances have now taken place in Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles and also recently in Columbus and in other U.S. cities.

“There’s Music for Food happening all over the country,” Stulz said, “people basically doing the same things, which is partnering with food banks and getting their friends together to play concerts to raise money for that. Siwoo and I thought that it would be a great opportunity to bring that to Columbus with this concert.”

But beyond raising awareness about hunger and raising money for central Ohio food banks, Stulz and Kim say that they hope this concert also will demonstrate that classical music can make a difference for a community when people get involved as audience members. One of the works on the program, Garth Knox’s Up, Down, Sideways, Round, Stulz says offers an example of his view that audience members can be equal collaborators in a performance, and also of how people joining forces in any endeavor can make a difference for and as a community.

“It’s (a work) you can’t learn from just looking at the score; it’s something that has to be taught from person to person. So Alice and I thought this would be a good piece as kind of a model of basically how Music for Food itself works: musicians perform a concert and the audience is a complete collaborator in that process in every sense of the term,” Stulz said. “For all of us I think that performing music is not something that we go out on the stage and we give people music. It’s something that we share with the audience. So for us, it’s really special to share that music and to share in the experience and have it be something where the audience is equally engaged as the performers.”

Violist John Stulz, violinist Siwoo Kim, cellist Alice Yoo and pianist Naomi Kudo perform a concert of Music for Food Thursday, June 19, 7:30 p.m. at OSU’s Weigel Hall Auditorium. Click here for other event details.