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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 19, 2004

Bassist Orhon Plays Music From Brazil, Iowa City, France On Dec. 3

Volkan Orhon will present a far-ranging recital on the double bass, playing music by composers from Brazil, Iowa City and 18th-century France, among others, at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3 in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus.

Joining Orhon on his UI faculty recital will be fellow music faculty members Rene Lecuona, piano, and Anthony Arnone, cello. Their performance will be free and open to the public.

In past campus appearances, Orhon has performed music that shows the virtuoso capabilities of the double bass and its use as a chamber music instrument. For the current recital, though, the program seems to be inspired more by people than by the instrument itself.

For example, one piece on the program is the Suite for Solo Double Bass by Eldon Obrecht, who taught the double bass at the UI School of Music for more than 30 years. Obrecht, who retired in 1990, received his undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees from the UI, and joined the faculty in 1947. In addition to teaching double bass, Obrecht was renowned for his popular class "Masterpieces of Music," which he taught for more than 30 years.

"Eldon was the professor of double bass here at the university and he still lives in Iowa City," Orhon said. "I was planning on playing this piece for solo double bass last April, until I had to cancel the recital. I even had a coaching with him on it. He has written many works for double bass."

Orhon said he chose the two Brazilian pieces on the program -- "Modinha" by Santino Parpinelli and Choron by Edmundo Villani Cortes -- because of the students in his studio. "I always enjoyed Brazilian music," he said. "The interest got even greater with the Brazilian students in my studio, which is the main reason I wanted to include these pieces.

"In Brazil Modinha is a kind of popular singing that is very lyrical. This form was born in Portugal and became really popular in Brazil.

"Choron (choir) derives its name from a little instrumental group of Brazilian origin. This cantabile form was introduced into the concert repertory by the great Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos. Cortes is a guitarist and a professor at the University of Sao Paulo."

Another work was chosen because of the performers with whom Orhon would be able to perform it: the Duet for cello and double bass by Jean Barrier, which he will play in Iowa City with Arnone and on tour with other double bassists.

"I am taking this recital on the road to the University of Michigan and Butler University in Indiana on the same weekend" Orhon explained. "I was looking for repertoire to play with the double bass faculty at these universities, and the closest voice that I could think of for the concert here was a duet with a bass-clef instrument such as cello.

"I have performed with Tony (Arnone) on many other occasions but I am specially looking forward to this performance."

Other works on the program will be the Allegretto in D minor by Domenico Dragonetti, a great 19th-century virtuoso and teacher of the double bass; and a double bass arrangement of Johannes Brahms' Sonata in E minor for violin and piano, which Orhon will play on a planned CD recording this December in Connecticut of great sonatas transcribed for the bass.

Lecuona will play with Orhon on all the pieces except for the Obrecht piece for solo double bass, and the Barrier Duet for cello and double bass. "This will be my second recital with Rene, and I'm looking forward to many more" Orhon said. "She is a great musician and so much fun to work with."

Orhon's professional career spans a variety of solo, orchestral and chamber music performing and teaching across the country and around the world. He has played with internationally recognized musicians including double bassist Gary Karr and the Emerson String Quartet. He has performed as soloist with orchestras across the country.

In addition to his solo playing, he has been a member of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Connecticut Opera Orchestra and a freelance musician throughout New England. He recently completed a European tour with the Fazil Say and Kudsi Erguner Jazz Quartet, performing at the Montreux, Paris, Antibes, Montpellier, Istanbul and Izmir jazz festivals.

Orhon was a finalist and prize-winner in the Concert Artists Guild Solo Competition in New York City, and was the co-first place winner of the International Society of Bassists Solo Competition. He was the first double bass player ever to win the Grand Prize overall and first prize for double bass at the American String Teachers Association Solo Competition.

Orhon joined the UI faculty in the fall of 2002. He has served on the faculties of the University of Connecticut, Central Connecticut State University, University of Massachusetts, Hartt School Community Division of the University of Hartford, and Summer Strings Music Festival in Pocatello, Idaho. Orhon is a D'Addario Diamond Performing Artist and performs exclusively on D'Addario Strings.

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 has also 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, Cybele Recording and Composers Recording International.

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.

Arnone is a founding member of the Meriden Trio and the Sedgwick String Quartet, which regularly performs at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C. He was principal cellist of the Madison Symphony in Wisconsin 1996-2001, was a member of the Orchestra Philharmonique de Nice and the Wichita Symphony, and was principal cellist of the Spoleto Festival in Italy 1992-1997.

Arnone has taught master classes and performed across the country and currently teaches summers at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina and the Stonybrook Music Festival in New York. Before coming to the UI, he held a faculty position at Ripon College in Wisconsin where he taught cello and bass, music theory and chamber music, and conducted the orchestra.

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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