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Release: Feb. 1, 2002

'Hearts Afire' teams UI pianist and oboist to celebrate Valentine's Day in music

"Hearts Afire," a Valentine's Day concert of love themes from film, musicals and classical music, will feature University of Iowa School of Music faculty members Mark Weiger, oboe, and Ksenia Nosikova, piano, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus. The concert will be free and open to the public.

"Audiences should expect to be regaled with many familiar tunes," Weiger said. "These will include Lerner and Loewe's 'The Night They Invented Champagne,' 'I Remember It Well,' 'Thank Heavens for Little Girls' and 'I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face'; the 'Habanera' from Bizet's 'Carmen'; 'Maria' and 'Tonight' from Bernstein's 'West Side Story'; the waltz music from 'The Merry Widow' by Franz Lehar; and many others.

"In addition, Nosikova and I have teamed our talents to cobble together a collage of some of the most well-known and recognized orchestral love tunes -- Ravel's 'Bolero,' Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and 'Romeo and Juliet,'
Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, and others."

Other works to be featured, Weiger said, include Debussy's "Claire de Lune," Faure's "Pavanne," Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise" and the "Meditation" from Massenet's "Thais."

Since coming to Iowa in 1988 Weiger has performed as a soloist throughout the United States, Canada, England, Mexico, Austria, France and Italy, presented two recitals in Carnegie Hall in New York, been a finalist in nine international competitions, won First Prize in the Queens Philharmonic Concerto Competition (NY), performed double concertos with the Chicago Symphony's former principal oboist, Ray Still, and presented solo recitals with many other notable oboists.

Weiger is a founding member of the double reed quartet WiZARDS!, which has released three CDs to critical acclaim, toured 18 states and presented educational residence programs throughout the West and Midwest. As the first oboist to serve as an Artistic Ambassador through the U.S. Information Agency, Weiger performed recitals in Nepal, Pakistan, Israel, Jordan and Sri Lanka. The Tel Aviv News commented: "The quality of collaborative artists in the US Artistic Ambassador program is now unparalleled. On balance, [they] were perhaps the most successful Artistic Ambassadors USIS has ever programmed."

Following the New York premiere of the Bernard Rand Concertino, New York Times critic Paul Griffiths praised Weiger's "mellifluous oboe playing" and critic Gerald Gabel wrote, "Weiger's virtuosic abilities were a perfect match for this difficult work. . . . not since Heinz Holliger in his prime have we heard an oboist with his control and mastery." He has solo and chamber music recordings out on the CRS, Crystal, Chandos and Centaur CD labels.

Nosikova, who joined the UI faculty in 1998, has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States Europe and South America. She gave her New York debut performance in 1996 in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She has been an invited guest soloist with symphony and wind orchestras in Colorado, Louisiana and Iowa. In addition she has been invited to perform at international festivals in Munster, France; Rimini, Italy; and Rovin, Yugoslavia; as well as the Aspen and Sarasota Music Festivals in the United States.

A critic in the Boston Globe wrote, "Nosikova again displayed impressive musicianship," and in Alsace, France, a review noted, "her performance is brilliant, full of grace and the most astonishing precision."

In addition to international appearances in France, England, Brazil and Argentina, she has performed as a guest artist at several American universities, including the universities of Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. She has presented a solo recital on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago and undertaken a recital tour of the United Kingdom. Recently she recorded the first solo CD of Franz Liszt's "Years of Pilgrimage."

She 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 has returned as a jury member. She has received two major grants from the Arts and Humanities Initiative and the Central Investment Found for Research Enhancement at the UI.

Nosikova received a master's degree with high honors from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia and a doctorate from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has been invited to perform with renowned artists in numerous international master classes.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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