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Release: Feb. 4, 2000

Contrast of old, new will be featured on Rutledge's viola recital Feb. 16

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Christine Rutledge will contrast old and new works for solo viola and also perform works for viola and piano on her University of Iowa faculty recital at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Performing with Rutledge will be pianist Ksenia Nosikova, also a member of the School of Music faculty. Their performance will be free and open to the public.

The pieces for solo viola -- the old and the new -- are the Suite No. 5 in C minor for solo viola of J.S. Bach and "Chahagir" for solo viola by the American composer Alan Hovhaness. Other works on the program will be "Infanta marina" for viola and piano by Vincent Persichetti, based on a poem of the same name by Wallace Stevens and the Sonata for viola and piano by Rebecca Clarke.

The music of J.S. Bach is often regarded as a touchstone of musical accomplishment. For players of stringed instruments, the solo works -- six sonatas and partitas for solo violin and six suites for solo cello -- represent a pinnacle of both technique and expression. Like all of Bach's music, these works have a quality that transcends the medium and their time period, making them transferable to other instruments -- as in the case of the Suite in C minor, originally written for Baroque cello and performed by Rutledge on a modern viola.

"The Bach will be especially interesting for me," Rutledge commented. "I am in the midst of trying to combine as much Baroque performance practice technique as I can with a performance on a modern instrument and within the expectations of a modern audience. Therefore this current interpretation is quite different than previous performances of this work that I have done."

Hovhaness, who is of Armenian heritage, has been influenced by the music of exotic cultures, including Asian and Middle Eastern styles as well as the music of Armenia. His music often reflects a non-Western spirituality as well, ranging in mood from tranquility to epic chaos.

"Chahagir," based on the Hebrew word "Hagigah," are defined as voluntary sacrifices offered at three great feasts, Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. These somber and spiritual connotations are reflected in the work, which maintains a somber march pace with emotional outbursts interspersed throughout.

The Clarke Sonata represents the last step in a project that Rutledge has been working on since she came to Iowa in 1998 -- a CD recording of English viola music. In addition to the Clarke Sonata, written in 1919, the CD will include works by Frank Bridge and Arthur Bliss, also written in the early years of the 20th century, that Rutledge has performed on a previous UI recital.

"When I came to Iowa I saw a wonderful opportunity to bring to fruition my ideas and goals as a soloist," she said. "One of these goals was the solo CD project, recording important works that I felt needed to be recorded, due to the general lack of recorded solo viola repertoire. These works were written at a time when the viola began to take on a more significant role as a solo instrument, due largely to the work of these English composers. Their works showed other composers that there could be such a thing as a 'solo violist.'"

Rutledge also sees her performances -- on campus and on CD -- as a vital part of her work as a teacher. "It is of the utmost importance that my students become familiar with the repertoire and have a recording available to them for reference. A solo recital and a recording by their professor is an important way for my students to experience what it is I am trying to teach them, letting them hear how I do it, just as students in other fields refer to their professors' books and articles."

Rutledge joined the UI faculty in 1998. She is a graduate of the UI School of Music, where she studied with William Preucil. She has appeared as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout the United States and abroad. She performs as a member of the Fontana Chamber Music Festival ensemble. Her performances and recordings with the Notre Dame String Trio have earned glowing reviews from The Strad, Fanfare and other music publications. Her solo performances have included those before her professional peers at the 23rd International Viola Congress in Bloomington, Ind., and the 24th Congress in Marchneukirchen, Germany. She has performed the standard viola repertoire, her own transcriptions of Baroque works, several lesser- known works for viola, and new works that were written specifically for her.

Rutledge is the former assistant principal viola of the Louisville Orchestra. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and the Interlochen Arts Academy, where she was valedictorian of her class and recipient of the Young Artist Award. She is also a prize winner in the Aspen Festival Viola Competition, and the recipient of an Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist's Fellowship, an Eli Lilly Foundation grant for undergraduate teaching development, and awards from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at Notre Dame.

Nosikova, who joined the UI faculty in 1998, has performed extensively as both soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe. She gave her New York debut performance in 1996 in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She has performed concertos with the Louisiana Symphony, the University of Colorado Symphony and the Jefferson Symphony. She has toured the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Italy with a piano trio from the Moscow Conservatory. She has also performed extensively as vocal accompanist, appearing at international competitions in 'sHertogenbosch, the Netherlands, and Stuttgart, Germany.

Nosikova has been a prize winner in numerous piano competitions, including the Frinna Awerbach International Piano Competition in New York, the Alabama International Piano Competition, and the Ibla International Piano Competition in Italy, to which she returned in 1999 as a jury member.

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