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Pianist Uriel Tsachor and cellist Uri Vardi will present UI faculty-guest recital April 13

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Pianist Uriel Tsachor from the University of Iowa School of Music faculty will be joined by cellist Uri Vardi for a free faculty/guest recital at 8 p.m. Monday, April 13 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The first half of their program will feature works based on folk music of the Jewish peoples of eastern Europe. The second half will feature two works from the standard 19th-century cello and piano repertoire: the "Fantasy Pieces" op. 73 of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms' Sonata in E minor, op. 38.

Works on the first half of the program are by Leo Zeitlin, Michael Gnessin, Alexander Weprik and Joseph Achron. All these little-known composers were born in the 1880s in Russia. As young men they were associated with the Society for Jewish Folk Music of St. Petersburg, a group which existed from 1908 to 1918.

The group came about in part from the encouragement of the great Russian composer and teacher Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov, who advised his Jewish students to consider composition in their ethnic idiom, as Glinka had done in Russia and Dvorak and Smetana had done in Bohemia.

The members of the Society for Jewish Folk Music dedicated themselves to composing music of an artistic nature based on the folk spirit of the Eastern European Jewish peoples. They began investigating Jewish folk songs in communities from northern to southern Russia, and they composed music based on the traditional melodies that had been preserved in both the synagogue and the marketplace.

Most characteristic of both the folk music they recorded and their own original compositions is the use of a particular musical mode, or scale type, found primarily in the Middle East.

Although born in Hungary, Vardi grew up on a kibbutz in Israel. He studied cello at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, and later with the master teachers Janos Starker at Indiana University and Aldo Parisot at Yale University. He has served as principal cellist of the Israel Sinfonietta and the Israel Chamber Orchestra, in addition to appearances as soloist with both orchestras.

Vardi has also recorded and toured Israel and Italy with the Sol-La-Re String Quartet, founded a chamber music series in Tel Aviv and taught for many years at the Israel Conservatory and the Jerusalem Music Center. He joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin in 1990.

He has given cello and chamber music master classes at Indiana University, the New England Conservatory, Yale and the Eastman School of Music, and at summer festivals around the world. Most recently, Vardi has toured the United States and Israel in 1997 and '98 with "Fusions," a concert of western Jewish music and Arabic art music for cello, oud (a stringed instrument characteristic of Arabic North Africa) and piano.

Vardi visited the UI campus in October 1995, when he presented a free guest recital and a master class for cello students.

Uriel Tsachor joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in the fall of 1988. The first prize-winner of the Bosendorfer Empire International Competition in 1986, the second prize-winner of the Busoni Competition in 1985 and a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in 1983, he is a graduate of the Rubin Academy in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and the Juilliard School in New York. He has performed as a soloist in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, New York, Chicago, Vienna, Paris, and other cities around the world.

Tsachor has performed with the Israel Philharmonic by invitation from Zubin Mehta. He has also appeared as soloist with the New York City Symphony, the Teatro La Fenice Symphony in Venice and the National Orchestra of Belgium, among others. He has performed both live and in recordings for radio and television stations in Israel, Europe and the United States, and he has made recordings for the EMI, Musical Heritage Society, PHONIC, DIVOX, Olympia and EMS labels.