Helen Kim reads her sheet music as she performs the opening act of the Summit Piano Trio event on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Photo credit: Kevin Barrett

Kennesaw State’s Bailey Performance Center hosted a musical performance from the Summit Piano Trio and Friends Tuesday, Sept. 10.

This show featured an ensemble made exclusively of KSU professors.

KSU Professor of Violin and String Department Coordinator Helen Kim played on violin along with Instructor of Violin Kenn Wagner. Coordinator of Piano Studies and Assistant Professor of Music Robert Henry played the piano, while KSU Lecturer of Cello Charae Krueger played the cello for the group.

The performance consisted of many classical selections from the likes of composers such as Jean-Marie Leclair, Bedrich Smetana and Felix Mendelssohn. These pieces were well-received by the audience of around 100, who gave a standing ovation after the finale of the concert.

“As someone who doesn’t know much about classical music, I thought it was magical,” freshman psychology major Lila Vollmer said. “That music made me want to listen to more.”

The group said the song selections had a wedding theme in mind — something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

Collectively, the group decided their favorite works were those written by Mendelssohn and that is why they were chosen for the climactic finale of the show.

“Performing these works run you through a gamut of emotions,” Kim said. “Life flashes before your eyes and you experience an emotional journey. The Mendelssohn finale, in particular, is beyond words.”

Kenn Wagner and Helen Kim perform the opening piece during the Summit Piano Trio on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Photo credit: Kevin Barrett

Summit Piano Trio and Friends — who has performed in world-renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Wigmore Hall in London — consistently sang the praises of Morgan Hall at KSU.

“Musicians from all over the world want to perform in Morgan Hall,” Henry said. “The resonance and acoustics here are absolutely fantastic.”

The group has had plenty of time to mature together as musicians as they have been performing together for more than a decade.


Assistant Professor of Music, Robert Henry, played piano during the Summit Piano Trio on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Photo credit: Kevin Barrett

“We originally met as KSU faculty,” Krueger said. “We paired off with the other members of the group and experimented with different styles, which culminated with this group. There is a lot of chemistry when we are all on stage together.”

The members added that over the course of their time playing together, their communication has improved significantly and that they are even able to improvise with each other mid-show.

Kim attributes this to an element of trust for one another.

“We’ve had very few disagreements,” she said. “In fact, one of the first we have ever had was in preparation for this show and over our interpretations of a piece. But we are professionals and it was dealt with quickly.”

As faculty and associates of KSU, the group does not forget their roots.

“Being a teacher means we are challenged every day. We are constantly learning from our students as much as they are from us,” Kim said. “It’s so nice to have a forum to bounce ideas off of, and having a concert hall like this to perform in engages the community even more.”


KSU Lecturer of Cello, Charae Krueger, performed alongside Helen Kim and Robert Henry. Photo credit: Kevin Barrett

The future of Summit Piano Trio and Friends is looking bright, as a new management team has been leading to many more bookings. In March, the group will perform at St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church in Marietta.

The troupe is also looking into recording with a studio to make their music available in stores and on music streaming apps such as iTunes and Spotify.

“Classical music is timeless,” Henry said. “Experiences like this are even more meaningful these days. Hopefully, it builds a bridge for more people to appreciate classical style as well.”

For more on Summit Piano Trio and Friends or upcoming performances in Morgan Hall, visit https://arts.kennesaw.edu/music/index.php.