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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 21, 2003

Mozart And Tchaikovsky Share Program By Fulton Trio Dec. 2

The Fulton Piano Trio from Grand Rapids, Mich., will play music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky on a University of Iowa guest recital, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2 in Harper Hall of the UI Voxman Music Building. The trio's concert will be free and open to the public.

The two string players in the trio -- Adam Liebert, violin, and David Peshlakai, cello -- both are members of the Grand Rapids Symphony. Pianist Yu-Lien The teaches at Western Michigan University.

They will open the Dec. 2 concert with Mozart's Piano Trio in E Major, K. 542. The only other piece on the program will be Tchaikovsky's monumental Piano Trio in A minor, op. 50.

Although stylistically remote, Mozart and Tchaikovsky are linked through Tchaikovsky's love for the earlier composer. After attending a performance of "Don Giovanni," Tchaikovsky wrote in his diary: "According to my deep conviction, Mozart is the highest, the culminating point that beauty has attained in the sphere of music. . . It is due to Mozart that I devoted my life to music. He gave the first impulse to my efforts, and made me love music above all else in the world."

Mozart composed Piano Trio E major for his friend Michael Puchberg, an amateur musician who loaned him money and aided him in countless ways. In this Trio, Mozart has already departed from the earlier solon style of trio where the cello merely doubles the piano's left hand. The Piano Trio E major has a high reputation with ensemble players and is regarded as Mozart's finest piano trio in respect to design, originality and brilliance.

Tchaikovsky's patron, Madame Nadezhda von Meck, also supported a piano trio that at one time included the young composer Claude Debussy as pianist. She often asked Tchaikovsky to write something for "her" trio, but it was not until 1881 that he was inspired to do so. In March of that year, the great Russian pianist Nikolai Rubinstein died unexpectedly. Deeply shocked, Tchaikovsky decided to write a piano trio in his memory.

The Piano Trio in A minor became a monument to Rubinstein's memory in several ways. It was intended as a memorial piece, it contained a virtuoso piano part that recalls Rubinstein's extraordinary abilities, it is itself a monumental piece -- one of Tchaikovsky's largest serious scores -- and it has become his most admired and popular piece of chamber music.

The trio is constructed on a large scale and falls into two movements. The first movement opens with a haunting theme on the cello above a flowing, barcarolle-like piano accompaniment. The tumultuous outpouring which makes up the main part of the movement is one of Tchaikovsky's most sustained stretches of passionate, intense activity. The incorporation of two secondary subjects, both in E major, contribute to the broad expanse of the movement.

The variations of the second movement constitute one of this composer's finest sets. The simple theme, given by the piano alone, is original. It has been claimed that the variations are character pieces inspired by aspects of Rubinstein's life and personality. They include a mazurka, a gigue, a lyrical waltz, a troika and a three-voiced fugue that probably refers to Rubinstein's academic career. The final variation is in a vivid A major leading to an immense flowering of sustained symphonic development

Pianist Yu-Lien The has performed as soloist and recitalist throughout Europe including concerto appearances with the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie and Kammerorchester Hannover. In 1996 she was named a prize winner at the 12th International Piano Competition Viotti-Valsesia in Italy. In 1998, she was admitted to the National Concert Podium for Young Artists, a prestigious recognition for collaborative pianists, which led to several concert tours with violinist Tomo Keller. Since 2002, she has taught applied piano and accompanying, and has served as a staff accompanist at Western Michigan University. In addition to her work at the piano she maintains a career as a professional recorder player as a member of the Little Consort Hannover.

Violinist Adam Liebert has been performing with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra since 1999. From 1997-1999 he lived in Germany, during which time he toured the Far East and Eastern Europe as a member of the Philharmonie der Nationen and participated in CD productions for the Heidelberger Symphoniker. He has attended the Encore and Bravo summer festivals as well as the 16th Festival of Art and Music of Londrina (Brazil) and the National Orchestral Institute.

Cellist David Peshlakai is a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and is principal cellist of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra. He has served as principal cellist with many orchestras across Michigan including those in Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint and Battle Creek. He has been a soloist with the Jackson, Battle Creek and Michigan State University Symphony Orchestras as well as with the Hillsdale and Albion College Orchestras. In England he performed with the Arlington String Quartet. In 2001 he toured with the American Sinfonietta in Germany. Peshlakai currently teaches at Hillsdale College.

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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