Release date: 
June 2017
  • Julia Hwang (violin)
  • Charles Matthews (piano)
Record label: 
Catalogue number: 

Subito – the debut album by violinist Julia Hwang with pianist Charles Matthews – was the first soloist album on the St John's Cambridge imprint with Signum Classics.

Julia, who was studying music at St John's at the time of the album's release, is already highly accomplished as a performer: she gave her professional solo début with the English National Baroque Orchestra at the age of nine, and has had numerous engagements with professional ensembles as well as on television and radio. Her instrument is a Peter Guarnerius of Mantua (c.1698) on generous loan from the Alderson Trust. In 2015, she was appointed to become a cultural ambassador for the BRACE Alzheimer’s Society, alongside broadcasters Jonathan Dimbleby and Martyn Lewis.

As her very first solo album, the recording is very important to Julia: “Subito presents a personal recital.  The individual pieces all reflect – in some part – my journey with the violin through adolescence, and it has been a real pleasure working with such an inspiring and supportive team.”

Julia has been supported by our Director Andrew Nethsingha throughout the project, and he is thrilled about the recording: “I will never forget the first time I heard the radiant playing of Julia Hwang (another Cliftonian, as it happens) and I am so grateful to the late Sir David Willcocks for having encouraged her to apply to study at St John’s.”

“It is my hope that this disc, released in the month of Julia’s graduation, will help catapult her – SUBITO! – onto her rightful place on the world’s stage.”

The disc was recorded at the Britten Studio in Snape Maltings, and it includes Grieg’s Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Minor, Vaughn Williams’ The Lark Ascending (which Julia performed as part of a BBC4 documentary on the nation’s favourite composition in 2012), Subito by Witold Lutosławski, and Wieniawski’s Fantasie brilliante sur des motifs de l’Opéra Faust de Gounod. The disc is accompanied by some fantastic music notes from Richard Bratby (the booklet also includes a Korean translation).

Track list

  1. Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 45 I. Allegro molto ed appassionato (Edvard Grieg)
  2. Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 45 II. Allegretto espressivo alla Romanza (Edvard Grieg)
  3. Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 45 III. Allegro animato (Edvard Grieg)
  4. The Lark Ascending (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
  5. Subito (Witold Lutosławski)
  6. Fantaisie brillante sur des motifs de l’Opéra Faust de Gounod, Op. 20 (Henryk Wieniawski)


The appeal here, quite aside from some excellent playing, is in the way the programme has been planned… Julia Hwang is a model of expressive purity in the solo part [of The Lark Ascending] while Charles Matthews provides her with an appropriately stilled accompaniment
Hwang’s virtuosic spell dazzles with note-to-note precision and piercing clarity… This recording, then, is a winner for anyone interested not only in virtuosic violin playing in its various moods, but also in good playing generally

Young-Jin Hur, MusicWeb International

In all four works, Julia Hwang shows admirable poise and technical control, but most importantly she plays with remarkable maturity and charm so that more virtuoso pieces become far more than showpieces. An impressive and delightful debut

More about this release

Julia Hwang records at Snape Maltings

Julia and Charles during recording at Britten Studio in Snape Maltings, with Julia's mother page-turning

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Recorded on
19 October 2023
  • Introit - Parsons: Ave Maria
  • Responses and Preces: Radcliffe
  • Psalm 25.1-8
  • Readings: Isaiah 40, 1-11, Luke 1, 57-66, 80
  • Jackson in G
  • MacMillan: Christus Vincit
  • Voluntary: Langlais, Acclamations (Suite Medievale)

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