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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 3, 2004

Violist Christine Rutledge Says 'Farewell' To Modern Viola Sept. 18

Christine Rutledge will take a turn through the 20th-century repertoire for unaccompanied viola with a remarkable solo recital that includes virtuoso pieces by composers both familiar and unfamiliar at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18 in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus.

Her performance will be free and open to the public.

Rutledge, a member of the faculty at the UI School of Music, will play five pieces:

-- Suite in E-flat major I for solo viola by Justus Weinreich;

-- Suite II in D major for solo viola by Max Reger;

-- "Solo" for viola by Aribert Reimann;

-- "Elegie" for solo viola by Igor Stravinsky; and

-- Sonata for solo viola (1937) by Paul Hindemith.

"The program revolves around the evolution of solo string writing in the German tradition, from the cusp of the 20th century with Weinreich, to Max Reger, Paul Hindemith, Stravinsky and Reimann," Rutledge said. "Although Stravinsky was not a German composer, his work certainly includes the German tradition of contrapuntal solo string music that was established in the Baroque era.

"Another highlight of the program is the emphasis on the virtuosic as well as the unique color palette of the viola, with music that was composed in extremely idiomatic ways. In other words, the music was all written specifically for the viola, and consequently it fits the instrument particularly well, and would not sound the same in any other medium."

Rutledge, who in past years has devoted a series of performance to the music of J.S. Bach played on the modern viola, says that she will next turn her attention to Baroque music played on the Baroque instrument.

"The Sept. 18 recital is a farewell of sorts to my modern viola for a while," she said. "I am devoting the majority of this next academic year to studying and performing on the Baroque viola. This total immersion is something that I believe to be necessary if I am to do it right!"

Most of the music -- and several of the composers -- on the program will be unknown to most audience members. The only exception is the Hindemith Sonata, which often finds its way onto recital programs by violists. Hindemith was a violist as well as a composer, and he wrote a number of works for the instrument, including no fewer than three concertos for viola and orchestra.

Rutledge joined the UI faculty in 1998. She had previously been a faculty member at the University of Notre Dame, where she also played with the Notre Dame String Trio. She is a graduate of the UI School of Music, where she studied with William Preucil.

She has appeared as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout the United States and abroad. She performs as a member of the Fontana Chamber Arts Festival ensemble. Her performances and recordings with the Notre Dame String Trio have earned glowing reviews from The Strad, Fanfare and other music publications. Her solo performances have included those before her professional peers at the 23rd International Viola Congress in Bloomington, Ind., the 24th Congress in Germany, the 28th Congress in Sweden and the 31st Congress in Germany. She has performed the standard viola repertoire, her own transcriptions of Baroque works, several lesser known works for viola and new works that were written specifically for her.

Rutledge is the former assistant principal viola of the Louisville Orchestra and violist of the Ceruti Chamber Players and the Kentucky Center Chamber Players. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where she studied with the distinguished viola teachers Karen Tuttle and Michael Tree, and the Interlochen Arts Academy, where she was valedictorian of her class and recipient of the Young Artist Award.

She is also a prize-winner in the Aspen Festival Viola Competition, and the recipient of an Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist's Fellowship, an Eli Lilly Foundation grant for undergraduate teaching development, and awards from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at Notre Dame. She recently received a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Initiative at the UI, which will assist in a solo CD recording of "Early 20th-Century English Works for Viola and Piano." In 2002-03 she played a series of recitals at the UI covering the viola repertoire of J.S. Bach.

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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