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Release: Nov. 5, 1999

Violinist La Fosse will play a recital of short concert pieces, encores Nov. 21

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Violinist Leopold La Fosse from the University of Iowa School of Music faculty will include a tribute to violinist Fritz Kreisler as part of a program of short concert pieces and encores at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

La Fosse will be joined for the concert by pianist Rene Lecuona, who is also on the School of Music faculty. Their performance will be free and open to the public.

A program made up entirely of short pieces is something that La Fosse first did for a faculty recital last year. That program was so much fun for both the performers and the audience that he wanted to do it again.

"It was great to do a whole program of pieces that I enjoy so much," La Fosse said. "There is a wonderful repertoire of light pieces, commonly called 'encore pieces,' that are much appreciated by violinists and the public alike. This repertoire has been a treasure for uncounted performers and listeners, and there is so much of it that a single recital program can't do it justice."

Many of these lighter concert pieces were once staples of the concert violinist's repertoire. For many years, however, they were out of fashion, as most concert violinists chose to play more serious programs. Only occasionally did they show up as encores, performed after the real business of the concert was over, and unacknowledged on the printed program. But recently the lighter pieces have started re-appearing on recital programs and CD recordings by even the most serious concert violinists.

Leading the resurgence of these lighter pieces are the works of the early 20th-century violinist Fritz Kreisler, who was also one of the most prolific composers of violin encores. He had one of the greatest performing careers of any virtuoso of this century, performing throughout Europe and the United States. He was known for a brilliant technique and a beautiful tone, both of which were placed in the service of the composer. He owned one of the greatest of the 17th-century violins, made by Guarneri "del Gesu" of Cremona, Italy, and collected many important musical manuscripts.

Kreisler wrote pieces that combined sentiment and virtuosity in elegant proportions, making them for many years some of the most popular violin pieces in the world. He also published a number of encore pieces in a classical style, ascribing them to historical composers including Vivaldi, Pugnani, Couperin and Stamitz.

For the Nov. 21 program, La Fosse will play six of Kreisler's pieces, including "Liebesfreud" and Liebesleid" (respectively "Love's joy" and "Love's suffering"), which were long among the most popular encore pieces ever written. Other works by Kreisler will be "The Old Refrain," "Caprice Viennois" and "Schoen Rosmarin" (Beautiful Rosemary), and Kreisler's arrangement of the Spanish Dance from "La Vida Breve" by Manuel de Falla.

Other works on the program will be the "Carmen Fantasy" by Franz Waxman; "Sicilienne" by Mozart's contemporary Maria Theresa von Paradis; "La Capricieuse" by Edward Elgar, an arrangement of the popular "Vocalise" of Sergei Rachmaninoff; "Ao Pe da Fogueira" by Flausino Vale, as arranged by violinist Jascha Heifetz; an arrangement of "On Wings of Song" by Mendelssohn; and for a rousing finale, "Banjo and Fiddle" by William Kroll.

The program will open with a short Sonata for violin and piano by Mozart.

La Fosse joined the UI music faculty in 1972. His extensive performing career has included solo appearances as well as concertmaster positions with five orchestras. At the UI he teaches violin, directs a group of students devoted to the performance of Baroque and Classic music, the La Fosse Baroque Ensemble, and serves as area head for strings. He has also done extensive research in string pedagogy. He has twice been to Brazil as a Fulbright lecturer and returns annually to perform, teach and give master classes.

La Fosse continues an active international career as soloist and chamber musician, with tours in the United States, Europe, South America and Russia. He has had performances at Wigmore Hall in London, Sala Ceclila Mireles in Rio de Janeiro, Town Hall in New York, and the National Gallery, Phillips Gallery and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 1997 he celebrated his 25th anniversary on the UI faculty with a series of four recitals displaying his versatility, appearing as a virtuoso soloist, a chamber musician, a Baroque performance specialist and a jazz violinist.

Lecuona maintains an active teaching and performing schedule at the UI School of Music, including frequent collaborations with her faculty colleagues. Since joining the faculty in 1990 she has appeared in more than 55 on-campus concerts. She is featured on several CD recordings, including one with double bassist Diana Gannett of chamber music by Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

Lecuona has given solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, South America and the Caribbean. Most recently she performed and presented master classes in Mexico. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in a chamber performance in Weill Recital Hall in 1993, and she has appeared as concerto soloist with orchestras in New York and Iowa. As an Artistic Ambassador for the United States, she has given concerts and master classes in Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and Trinidad and Tobago. She has also performed solo recitals and given master classes at many universities in Brazil.

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(EDITORS' NOTE: Violinist Leopold La Fosse can be reached at 319-335-1645, or by fax at 319-354-2181.)

(NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Rene Lecuona is pronounced RAY-nee luh-KWOH-nah.)