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Release: Oct. 18, 2002


Violinist Leopold La Fosse will mix standard repertoire with some unusual concert fare -- three tangos for solo violin and a musical setting of a children’s classic -- when he plays a free University of Iowa faculty recital with pianist Rene Lecuona, at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

La Fosse will open and close the recital with two pieces from the standard violin repertoire: the Sonata for violin and piano in D Major by Jean-Marie Leclair and the Sonata no. 3 in D minor for violin and piano by Johannes Brahms.

Between these Classical bookends La Fosse will present two relatively new works that aren’t likely to show up on anyone’s list of standard recital fare: “Three Tango-Etudes” for violin alone by Astor Piazolla, and “Ferdinand” for speaker and solo violin, based on the classic tale by Munro Leaf as put to music by Alan Ridout.

Susan Sondrol Jones, coordinator of the voice, opera and choral areas at the School of Music, will be the speaker for “Ferdinand.”

These newer pieces may be quite different stylistically, but they have other factors in common. Not only are they among the newer pieces available for unaccompanied violin, they are both relatively recent discoveries for La Fosse as well. And it was the same performer -- the idiosyncratic Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer, who followed up early triumphs in the Paganini and Tchaikovsky competitions with a highly individual career based on contemporary music and startlingly diverse musical interests -- who led La Fosse to both works.

Piazolla, the Argentine bandoneon players whose “new tango” became one of the musical sensations of the late 20th century, is a recent interest of La Fosse’s. “In recent years I have become an ardent fan of Astor Piazzolla,” he said. “I have quite a few of his recordings, as well as recordings of his music by violinist Gidon Kremer, who has had a number of arrangements made of Piazzolla’s music for his group ‘Kremerata Baltica.’ ”

As for “Ferdinand,” La Fosse reported, “I happened to hear a performance on the radio by Kremer, and I found myself totally charmed. I immediately bought the music and determined to program it at the earliest opportunity. It’s a fun piece, besides being quite demanding, technically. I hope the audience enjoys it as much as I do!”

Now in his 31st year on the UI music faculty, La Fosse continues an active performing career in the United States and Brazil. At the UI he teaches violin and directs a group of students devoted to the performance of Baroque and early Classic music, the La Fosse Baroque Ensemble. He has also done extensive research in string pedagogy. He has twice been to Brazil as a Fulbright lecturer and 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.

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 65 on-campus concerts. She is featured on several CD recordings, including two major chamber works of the composer Hans Gal with UI violinist Annette-Barbara Vogel and cellist Fulbert Slenczka, and songs of Arthur Honegger with UI soprano Rachel Joselson.

Lecuona has given solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, South America and the Caribbean. She has appeared as concerto soloist with orchestras in New York and Iowa. As an Artistic Ambassador for the United States, she gave 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.

An advocate of 20th-century music, Lecuona has appeared as solo pianist and chamber musician in concerts of the UI Center for New Music. Her 20th-century repertoire includes several premieres of new works. Martin Jenni, retired from the UI School of Music, has written two solo piano works for her.

An alumna of the UI School of Music, Jones is an adjunct professor of voice and coordinator of the voice, opera and choral areas. She has had an extremely diverse professional career, having appeared in opera and oratorio throughout the Midwest, been a member of the renowned Dale Warland Singers and the Bach Society of Minnesota, and sung solo recitals with a variety of instrumental combinations.

A great deal of her career has focused on the teaching of singing, beginning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Summer Music Clinic and extending to faculty appointments at the UW Parkside and the MacPhail Center for the Arts at the University of Minnesota. At the MacPhail Center she served as chair of the voice department and initiated a series of Artist Master Classes that has served as the model for similar programs throughout the country. She has served two terms are North Central Governor and four years as Minnesota State Governor for the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

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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