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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 23, 2004

Meridian Trio Features Baritone Thomas Potter In Feb. 6 UI Concert

The Meridian Trio, an ensemble featuring pianist Rene Lecuona from the University of Iowa School of Music faculty with violinist Davis Brooks and cellist Kurt Fowler, will be joined by baritone Thomas Potter for a free concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Potter and the trio will perform together "The Long Shadow of Lincoln" by Stephen Paulus, a setting for baritone, violin, cello and piano of Carl Sandburg's poem of the same title. The instrumentalists will also perform the Trio in C minor, op. 5, by Max Bruch and the Trio No. 1 in D minor, op. 49, by Felix Mendelssohn.

The Meridian Trio gave its public debut concert on the UI campus in October 1999. The musicians had met at a recording session and found the experience of playing together so enjoyable that they decided to present a series of concerts together. Since that initial series of concerts they have continued to perform as an established ensemble.

All three members of the group have active careers as both performers and teachers, so they have to carefully coordinate their very full schedules to find time for their concert appearances. Lecuona teaches at the UI and performs around the world; Brooks is on the faculty of Butler University in Indianapolis and is associate concertmaster of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra; and Fowler teaches at Indiana State University and is principal cellist of the Terre Haute Symphony.

The Feb. 6 concert will open with a little-known trio of the German romantic composer Max Bruch, who is best known for his very popular violin concerto. His piano trio in C minor is an early work. It is constructed in three movements: an opening Andante that leads without pause into a scherzo and a concluding Presto. The finale has a fiery character that is interrupted first by a lyrical theme and later by the beautiful theme of the opening Andante.

The trio will be joined by Potter for the second work on the program, "The Long Shadow of Lincoln." The work is a setting of Carl Sandburg's poem, first published in the Saturday Evening Post at the end of World War II, describing the tragedy of the Civil War through the eyes of Abraham Lincoln. The piece was commissioned by the Friends of Music at the Supreme Court and was first performed at the court on May 26, 1994.

Mendelssohn's popular Trio in D minor was composed in 1839 and is generally regarded as one of Mendelssohn's highest chamber music achievements. Mendelssohn was an excellent violin player, but his ability on the piano and organ was extraordinary, and this is reflected in his writing for the piano. The Trio in D minor, opus 49, has a very dense piano part, full of arpeggios, scales and a variety of challenging, usually very fast, pianistic figurations, and the piano is often set against the pairing of violin and cello.

Potter has taught voice and voice pedagogy at Indiana State University since the fall of 2000, when he and his family returned from living in Switzerland for several years.

Potter has performed opera throughout much of the world, including at Trieste, Slovenia; Cordoba, Spain; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Strasbourg, France; Karlsruhe, Germany; and Palm Beach, Atlanta, Utah and Indianapolis in the United States. Singing has taken Potter to Guam, Taiwan, China, Korea and Japan.

Concert artist performances have included the performances of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem" in Naples, Italy; William Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast" in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Verdi's Requiem in Tampa, Florida; and several appearances as soloist in New York City's Carnegie Hall.

Brooks comes from a diverse musical background as soloist, pedagogue, orchestral musician, studio musician, concertmaster on Broadway, conductor and chamber musician. His teaching experience has included faculty appointments at Baylor University, Wayne State University, the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and Bucknell University, as well as 27 years in a private studio.

Recently appointed associate concertmaster of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Brooks was a member of the Mostly Mozart Orchestra at Lincoln Center for 10 years, and the New York Chamber Symphony, which has produced more than 20 recordings in the last 15 years. Brooks has been concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of New England, the Harrisburg Symphony and the Waco Symphony.

Chamber music is his first love. He is currently a member of the Linden String Quartet and has been a member of the Commonwealth and Landolfi Quartets, as well as the Essex Piano Trio. In addition, Brooks' special interests include the performance of music by contemporary composers, as well as performance on original instruments, particularly the music of the Baroque period. He is a founding member of both the Chicago 21st Century Music Ensemble and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, a period-instrument ensemble. He has recently recorded "Take it Like a Man" by Frank Felice and "Fantasy" for Violin and Tape by James Aikman.

Fowler has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician throughout the United States and in Europe. He has served as principal cellist of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra, has been a section cellist for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Syracuse Symphony, and has performed at numerous summer festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Sarasota Music Festival and the Heidelberg Castle Festival in Germany.

An advocate of contemporary classical music, Fowler is the cellist for the Chicago 21st Century Music Ensemble and is particularly active in commissioning new works. In collaboration with saxophonist Paul Bro, he has been the recipient of two Indiana State University Arts Endowment Grants resulting in "Bid Call" for alto saxophone and cello by Libby Larsen and a new work by American composer Dorothy Chang, scheduled for fall 2005. Also an advocate of early music, he is a member of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, led by renowned baroque violinist John Holloway, and has performed with numerous early music chamber ensembles.

Lecuona is an associate professor of piano at the UI. Since joining the faculty in1990 she has appeared numerous on-campus recitals and chamber music concerts. She has performed solo and chamber music throughout the United States and South America, in Mexico and in the Caribbean. As an Artistic Ambassador for the United States she gave concerts and master classes in Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Lecuona made her Carnegie Hall debut in Weill Recital Hall in 1993 with her UI faculty colleague mezzo-soprano Katherine Eberle and recently performed in the Goodman Hall at Lincoln Center with soprano Rachel Joselson, also from the UI faculty. Her playing has been featured on many compact discs, including a recording of the music of Margaret Brouwer on the CRI label, which won the 2000 Contemporary Art Music Burton Award. She may also be heard on CDs from Centaur Records, Innova Recordings, Capstone Records and Cybele Recording.

Lecuona earned a doctorate in piano performance and was awarded a performer's certificate at the Eastman School of Music. She received undergraduate and master's degrees at the Indiana University School of Music. Her major teachers have included Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio, the late Gyorgy Sebok, Edward Auer and Rebecca Penneys.

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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