CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
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Release: Nov. 22, 2000
Cellist Yang Goes Solo For A Recital Of Music By Bach
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Cellist Amos Yang will take the
stage alone for a performance of unaccompanied works by J.S. Bach and Benjamin
Britten at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 in Clapp Recital Hall on the University
of Iowa campus.
A member of the Maia String Quartet and a faculty
member at the UI School of Music, Yang is also an accomplished solo performer.
The Dec. 7 performance -- Yangs second unaccompanied recital on the
UI campus -- will be free and open to the public.
"Last years performances of the Kodaly
Solo Sonata and Bachs Third Solo Suite encouraged me to try a similar
solo project this year," Yang said of his performance last February.
"I love the challenge of preparing a solo recital, where Im responsible
for everything at all times, and the freedom and spontaneity it affords."
Yang has several other solo appearances coming up
-- although none of them are unaccompanied. On Feb. 7 he will join the University
Symphony and conductor William LaRue Jones for a performance of Antonin Dvoraks
Cello Concerto, and on March 19 he will perform a duo recital with pianist
For his Dec. 7 solo recital, Yang will perform two
works: Brittens Suite No. 1 for Solo Cello, op. 72, and Bachs
Suite No. 6 in D major for Solo Cello, BWV 1012.
"These are two true pillars of the solo cello
literature that arent heard often enough," Yang said. "Bachs
D major Suite is neglected because of its difficult register -- it was written
originally for a five-string instrument, which creates problems on the normal
modern cello. And the Britten is overlooked just because of its general unfamiliarity."
Bachs six suites for solo cello, composed around
1720, are the earliest works to earn a permanent place in the virtuoso cello
repertoire. They were written while Bach was music director at the court of
Prince Leopold of Coethen. A number of Bachs greatest instrumental works
were written about the same time, including the sonatas and partitas for solo
violin and the Brandenburg Concertos.
In Bachs time there was already a long tradition
of unaccompanied pieces for stringed instruments, but Bach far surpassed his
predecessors. His works not only show an intimate understanding of the performance
techniques and possibilities of each instrument, but they also maintain a
high level of musical interest, while covering a wide range of rhythmic styles
and expressive possibilities -- qualities that have made the solo suites an
essential part of any cellists education.
After Bach, unaccompanied works for stringed instruments
disappeared from the concert scene, as composers and audiences of the 19th-century
seemed to prefer richer colors and more powerful sounds than single instruments
could provide. This was the time when orchestras grew from chamber ensembles
to the modern symphony, with its powerful wind and brass sections.
In the early years of the 20th century, however, composers
searching for striking and original sounds rediscovered the solo works of
the Baroque era. At the same time, several outstanding performers confirmed
the cellos status as a virtuoso instrument, and performances of Bachs
works inspired several composers to write solo works for cello.
Musicologist Philip Brett explained the link between
the Bach suites and Brittens works for solo cello: "It was (cellist
Mstislav) Rostropovichs rich and romantic performance of the Bach unaccompanied
suites that lay behind these works," he wrote. "Brittens suites
rely on the sort of texture that Bach adopted, in which the impression of
counterpoint is gained by continuing two or three melodic ideas at different
pitch levels, breaking from one to another before its aural impression has
faded from the listeners ear."
The newest member of the Maia Quartet, Yang joined
the group in 1996 after playing with the Deutsche Kammerakademie (German Academy
of Chamber Music) in Dusseldorf and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He
has won first prize in the Grace Vamos Cello Competition and the American
String Teachers Association Cello Competition and was a finalist in
the Pierre Fournier Cello Competition. He has performed a wide range of concertos
and played chamber music with the Ying Quartet, pianist Ann Schein and violinists
Perrin Yang and Earl Carlyss.
Yang holds bachelors and masters degrees
from the Juilliard School. He also studied at the Eastman School of Music
and in London, England, under a grant from the Beebe Foundation. He attended
the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he received the CD Jackson Award for
outstanding contribution to the festival in 1994.
Founded in1990, the Maia Quartet has established itself
nationally with performances in major concert halls including Alice Tully
Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre in Washington, D.C.,
and Harris Hall at the Aspen Music Festival. In 1999 they gave a concert at
the German Embassy in Washington, in honor of the Czech Republics entry
into NATO. In recent years they have collaborated with other leading chamber
musicians around the world, and they have had summer teaching engagements
at the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Austin Chamber Music Festival, the South
Carolina Governors School for the Arts and the Cedar Rapids Symphony
School. Prior to coming to Iowa, they also taught on the faculty of the Peabody
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