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University of Iowa News Release

March 30, 2004

Hannah Holman Will Include Popular Rachmaninoff Sonata On April 6 Recital

Cellist Hannah Holman (left) and pianist Rene Lecuona will play the popular Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata as part of their University of Iowa faculty recital, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Other works on the program will by the Sonata in E major by Francois Francoeur; "Nigun" by Ernest Bloch; and the First Rhapsody by Bela Bartok.

The member of a large family of string players and composers, Francois Francouer was an important musician in 18th-century France. A violinist in the orchestra of the Paris Opera from the age of 15, he was also a member, with his father and brother, of the 24 violins -- the elite orchestra of the Royal Court. He was most celebrated as a composer of ballets and operas -- all created in close collaboration with Francoise Rebel -- but he also composed a number of sonatas for strings.

Although his creative life extended well into the 20th century, Rachmaninoff composed music in the tradition of the great 19th-century showpieces while pursuing a simultaneous career as a concert pianist. As a composer his idol was Tchaikovsky, and as a performer he followed in the footsteps of the flamboyant Romantic virtuosi including Paganini and Liszt.

Rachmaninoff wrote his Cello Sonata in G minor in 1901, shortly after completing his popular Second Piano Concerto. The sonata reflects the composer's immense pianistic talents, making the cello part seem almost like an embellishment of the extended lyrical melodies that are heard floating amidst waves of piano sound. It is one of the composer's most Romantic works, and one that is loved by cellists and audiences alike.

Holman, who served as principal cello with the Cedar Rapids Symphony in 2001-02, joined the Maia Quartet in the summer of 2002. She is also assistant principal cello of the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra and the American Sinfonietta, She began her professional career in England, playing with the English String Orchestra under Yehudi Menuhin and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Simon Rattle.

On returning to the United States Holman became principal cello of the Jackson (Mich.) Symphony and assistant principal of the Greater Lansing Symphony and Michigan Chamber Orchestra. She also was assistant principal of the Richmond (Va.) Symphony.

Always an active chamber musician, she was a founding member of the Beaumont Piano Trio, performing recitals in several states, as well as on tour in England, and was a founding member of Quadrivium, a music ensemble in residence at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. As soloist she played with orchestras in Michigan, Virginia, and Georgia, and was invited to the Pablo Casals Cello competition in Germany and the Luis Sigall Cello Competition in Chile.

Holman has served on the faculties of the Worcester College in England, Michigan State University Community Music School and Virginia Union University. Holman studied at the Eastman School of Music and Michigan State University, where she completed her Bachelor of Music Degree. She obtained her master's degree at the New England Conservatory in 1993.

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 UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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