The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

Charles Wendt and Uriel Tsachor will play major works from the cello repertoire Oct. 7

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Cellist Charles Wendt and pianist Uriel Tsachor from the University of Iowa School of Music will traverse the history of the cello sonata, playing three works from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries in a free recital at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Chronological bookends for the program will be provided by Beethoven's early Sonata in F major, op. 5, no. 1, composed in 1796; and the Sonata in C major, op. 31, composed in 1920 by Egon Wellesz. Falling between those works, and forming the second half of the program, will be the Romantic Sonata in G minor of Frederic Chopin, composed 1845-46.

At the age of 25 Beethoven was gaining a reputation in Vienna as a pianist and composer. To solidify his emerging career, he embarked on a concert tour in February 1796, not long after his 25th birthday. He traveled first to Prague, where he gave a public concert, then to Dresden, where he played for the Elector of Saxony. His next stop was Berlin, where he played several concerts before Friedrich Wilhelm II, the King of Prussia and an amateur cellist.

To win the favor of the king, Beethoven wrote for these performances several new works for cello and piano, including the two Sonatas Op. 5 and a set of variations on Handel's theme -- chosen to subtly flatter the king -- "See, the conqu'ring hero comes." Beethoven dedicated these works to Friedrich Wilhelm and performed them with Jean Louis Duport, the first cellist of the court orchestra and a well known cello virtuoso. The king returned Beethoven's compliments, presenting the composer with a gold snuffbox filled with gold coins -- "no ordinary snuffbox," Beethoven later declared proudly, "but such a one as it might have been customary to give an ambassador."

Wellesz distinguished himself in two careers, as both a composer and a scholar. A native of Vienna, he taught musicology at the University there from 1930 until 1938, when the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany forced him to leave. He went to England and from 1943 taught at Oxford University, where he was recognized as an authority on Venetian Baroque opera and Byzantine chant. He received numerous honors for his scholarship in England, and in his native country after World War II.

In addition to his extensive and important scholarly work he was a prolific composer. He studied composition in Vienna with Arnold Schoenberg, originator of the serial technique of composition. His own works reflect many influences, including Schoenberg but also Bruckner, Bartok and Richard Strauss.

Although Chopin was principally a composer of piano music, he also wrote four pieces of chamber music. Three of them -- a trio for piano, violin and cello, and two works for cello and piano -- are early works that are seldom performed, but the Sonata in G minor for cello and piano, composed at the height of Chopin's career in 1845-46, is considered one of the great works of the cello repertoire.

Wendt, an active soloist and chamber musician, joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1966. He graduated from the Juilliard School of Music and received his master's degree from Indiana University, where he was awarded the coveted Performer's Certificate.

He has appeared as soloist with the Atlanta, Richmond, Pittsburgh, Cedar Rapids and Waterloo symphony orchestras. Before coming to the UI, he was assistant first cellist with the Pittsburgh Symphony and principal cellist of the Santa Fe Opera. He has been cellist of the Stradivari Quartet and is principal cellist with the Quad-City Symphony. For three summers he was director of chamber music for the Ameropa Chamber Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, and he has recently given master classes at the Meadowmount School of Music.

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. Recently he was named a Steinway artist.