CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 1, 1999
Meridian Trio will debut with UI faculty/guest concert
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Meridian Trio, a newly formed
ensemble featuring pianist Rene Lecuona of the University of Iowa School of
Music faculty with violinist Davis Brooks and cellist Kurt Fowler, will give
its first live performance at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in Clapp Recital
Hall on the UI campus.
The three musicians first played together last January
in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where they made a CD recording of "Intimate Voices,"
a 1988 composition for piano, violin and cello by Craig First. That experience
was so successful that they decided to present concerts together, starting
with the UI appearance Oct. 13. Several other live concerts are planned for
the coming year.
For its debut appearance, the Meridian Trio will play
First's "Intimate Voices" and two major works from the standard piano-trio
repertoire: the Trio in B-flat, D. 898, of Franz Schubert, and the Trio in
E minor, op. 67, of Dmitri Shostakovich.
The concert will be free and open to the public.
Lecuona said that playing the Schubert Trio is particularly
meaningful for the group.
"Many chamber music lovers have a special affection
for the Schubert piano trios, and for many, these wonderful pieces have become
associated with the Beaux Arts Trio. Their magical performances and recordings
are inspiring and perhaps also a little daunting for musicians who follow
in their formidable footsteps.
"It is with both humility and excitement that we approach
the Trio in B-flat, which is one of Schubert's predominantly joyful masterpieces."
Shostakovich's Second Piano Trio was written in 1944,
near the end of World War II, and its emotional content is associated with
those terrible times. "Mournfulness, robustness and bitter irony each play
a role in creating a work of haunting emotional power," Lecuona said.
The overall mood is established by the first movement,
which opens with a melancholy theme played by the cello. The second movement
is a rousing dance, with three different styles: a stamping dance; a grotesque,
drunken dance; and a waltz. The serious and somber third movement leads directly
into the culminating finale, which is usually interpreted as representing
a Jewish dance of death.
"For me," Lecuona commented, "the last movement evokes
the tragic specter of Jewish victims of Nazi Germany forced to dance by their
First teaches composition at the University of Alabama.
He has previously taught composition at Northwestern University, and since
1992 he has served as the artistic director of the Chicago 20th-Century Music
Ensemble. He has received many commissions and awards for his compositions,
and he is currently a finalist for both the National Symphony Orchestra Commissioning
Competition and the Cal/Alpert Award in Music.
"Intimate Voices" has received both an American Society
of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Award and the League of Composers/ISCM
Competition Award. As the title suggests, the score reflects the concept of
chamber music as an intimate conversation among the instruments. According
to the composers program notes, the first movement "introduces several motives
that initially unfold as disparate musical ideas. Gradually these motives
coalesce producing a single idea that is developed throughout the work.
"The second movement features a kind of musical dialogue
between the violin and cello.
"The third movement begins with a tonal variation
of the principal theme of the first movement set in a kind of 19th-century
parlor music. This music accompanies a dialogue between the performers that
begins with sensual overtones only to turn violent as the conversation unfolds."
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 in1990 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. In a recent review of the CD in Bass World,
Lecuona's performance on the recording was described as "magnificent."
Lecuona has given solo and chamber music recitals
throughout the United States, South America and the Caribbean. She made her
Carnegie Hall debut in a chamber performance in 1993. 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.
Brooks comes from a diverse musical background as
soloist, pedagogue, orchestral musician, studio musician, concertmaster on
Broadway, conductor, and chamber musician. Recently appointed associate concertmaster
of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Brooks was a member of the Mostly Mozart
Orchestra at Lincoln Center for 10 years, and the New York Chamber Symphony.
He currently teaches violin at Butler University in Indianapolis. An active
and committed chamber musician, he is currently a member of the Linden String
Quartet. He is a founding member of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, a
period instrument ensemble.
Fowler teaches at Indiana State University and is
principal cellist of the Terre Haute Symphony. He has performed throughout
the United States and in Europe as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral
player. Fowler has served as principal cellist of the Greenville Symphony
Orchestra and the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed at the
Aspen Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival, and the Heidelberg Castle Festival
in Germany. He is a founding member of the Timaeus Ensemble, a six-member
chamber ensemble that specializes in 20th-century music, and is the cellist
for the Chicago 20th-Century Music Ensemble.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Rene Lecuona is pronounced