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Release: Immediate

UI faculty and guest duo will present all-Beethoven program March 20

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Violinist Mitchell Newman and pianist Daniel Shapiro will present an all-Beethoven program at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 20, in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus. The performance will be free and open to the public.

Newman, a violinist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and Shapiro, who is a member of the UI School of Music faculty, will play three of Beethoven's 10 sonatas for violin and piano: the Sonata No. 1 in D major, op. 12 no. 1; the Sonata No. 5 in F major, op. 24 ("Spring"); and the Sonata No. 7 in C minor, op. 30 no. 2.

The concert is the first in a projected series by Newman and Shapiro that will encompass all of Beethoven's violin-and-piano sonatas over a period of three years, with performances of each successive program at both the UI and Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., where Newman is a member of the faculty.

This kind of series is nothing new for Shapiro: In 1995 he played all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas from memory in a series of eight recitals on the UI campus, and he just completed a series of four recitals on campus celebrating the 200th anniversary of Franz Schubert's birth.

Those were both solo efforts for Shapiro, whereas the current series is a collaborative project that arose as much from the performers' personal relationship as from anything in the music itself.

"The Beethoven project came out of our close friendship," Shapiro said. "We have known each other for many years, and the idea to do all the Beethoven sonatas together just grew inevitably out of our similarity of musical approach and the sheer joy we have of playing together.

"When Mitch was appointed to the Pepperdine faculty, we realized we had two places to play, and he wanted to do more chamber performances. We had done the 'Spring' Sonata at a festival in France a few years ago, and we had such a great time doing it that we decided to do all the Beethoven sonatas. Of course, they are great pieces of music, and I think some of them are among the most perfect sonatas ever written -- including the 'Spring' Sonata, which we are doing on this first program."

Shapiro and Newman also appreciate the fact that Beethoven treats the two performers as equal partners, in contrast to earlier Classical composers, who often made the piano the leading instrument in duo sonatas, or later Romantic composers, who often treated the violinist as a virtuoso soloist with a secondary piano accompaniment.

A native of Los Angeles, Newman has been a member of that city's premiere orchestra since 1987. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where he studied with two of leading American violin teachers, David Cerone and Aaron Rosand.

Newman has played for chamber music festivals in Austria and France and performed on the "Sundays at Four" radio broadcasts from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 1990 he founded Harmony: Music for Mental Health, an annual fund raising chamber music concert for the Mental Health Association of Los Angeles County.

As a chamber musician, he performs regularly in the Los Angeles Philharmonic's New Music Group and Chamber Music Society concerts. He has recorded works of Eric Zeisl for Harmonia Mundi records.

Daniel Shapiro has pursued a multi-faceted career in several areas of musical performance. He began piano studies at the age of six, and he made his conducting debut at Tanglewood, Mass., the summer home of the Boston Symphony, at the age of 16. Two years later he received a special award at Tanglewood for outstanding achievement in piano, chamber music and conducting.

Shapiro has a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California, and master's and doctoral degrees in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where he studied with Leon Fleisher. He received the top award in the William Kapell International Piano Competition, and he has also won the American Pianists Association Beethoven Fellowship Award, the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, the Young Musicians' Foundation Debut Competition and the International Piano Recording Competition.

As a chamber musician he has participated in the Marlboro, Tanglewood and Ravinia festivals. He is a member of the Brandeis-Bardin Trio, whose compact disc is released on the Harmonia Mundi label.

Shapiro joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1992.