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Release: April 7, 2000

Baroque violinist Melkus will appear with La Fosse Baroque ensemble from UI April 16

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Baroque violinist Eduard Melkus will be a guest artist with the La Fosse Baroque Ensemble from the University of Iowa School of Music in a concert at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 16 at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Iowa City.

The performance, which will also feature violinist and ensemble director Leopold La Fosse, will be free and open to the public.

An internationally known violinist and Baroque performance scholar who has an extensive teaching and performing career in Europe, Melkus will present a master class for string students at the UI School of Music at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 13 and a lecture on performance practice at 5 p.m. Friday, April 14. Both events will be in Harper Hall of the Voxman Music Building and will be open to the public free of charge.

The April 16 concert will feature three works: The Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major of Mozart, with Melkus as soloist; the La Fosse Ensemble playing the first and last movements of J.S. Bach’s "Art of Fugue"; and the Bach Concerto for violin and oboe in an optional version for two violins, featuring Melkus and La Fosse as soloists.

Since 1958 Melkus has been professor of violin, Baroque violin and historic performance practice at the Hochschule fuer Musik (Academy of Music) in Vienna, and since 1982 head of the Institut fuer Wiener Klangstil (Institute for the Viennese musical style). La Fosse, who frequently performs on the Baroque violin and teaches Baroque performance at the UI, has visited Melkus many times in Vienna and invited him to the UI. This is Melkus’ third visit to the UI.

La Fosse, who studied Baroque violin with Melkus in Vienna, commented: "With about 150 recordings of the Baroque repertoire, Melkus is one of the leaders of historical performance practice. But as a teacher he is also a complete musician who has been very involved in contemporary works earlier in his career, and who covers the entire Classical repertoire in his lectures.

"He is a very inspirational teacher and brings a very informed and stimulating approach to Baroque performance. I have been fascinated to hear him play many works that are very familiar to me. He brings his own personal stamp to his performances, based on a combination of profound knowledge and individual artistic taste. As a result his performances are highly personal and completely convincing, in a way that is quite rare and special."

Melkus was born in Baden, near Vienna, and studied violin at the Vienna Academy of Music. In addition to his faculty appointments in Vienna, he has been a visiting professor at American and European universities, including the University of Georgia and the University of Illinois. He has published many articles on performance practices, and his book "The Violin" has been published in several languages. He has appeared as soloist at major musical centers and performance venues around the world and has received many awards attesting to his accomplishments as a recording artist, performing artist and teacher.

The La Fosse Baroque Ensemble is a small string orchestra made up of current and former UI students and UI music faculty. The group specializes in the performance of music from the Baroque period in music, roughly 1600 to 1750, and the early Classic period. They perform using copies of authentic Baroque instruments and bows. This enables them to play their instruments in the same manner as performers of the Baroque period, which in turn makes possible a historically appropriate style of performance.

The ensemble was founded in 1985 to provide violin students at the UI the opportunity to play solo works from the Baroque and early Classic periods. Since its formation the group has been invited to perform at a number of state and national conventions of the Music Teachers National Association, the Music educators National Conference, and colleges and public schools in Iowa. Their annual performance series on the UI campus includes concerts at the UI Museum of Art, University Hospitals’ Colloton Pavilion and the Old Capitol Senate Chamber.

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. He made his first public appearance at the age of four, and he began a three-year series of engagements on NBC radio at eight. He later studied at the New England Conservatory. Before coming to the UI he taught at the University of Texas at Austin.

He has done extensive research in string pedagogy and has twice been a Fulbright lecturer in Brazil, where he 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 Cecilia 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.

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