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University of Iowa News Release

April 7, 2005

Photo: Bassist Volkan Orhon

Orhon And Nosikova Will Play Double Bass-Piano Recital April 24

A transposed favorite from the violin repertoire and piece for solo double bass will be part of the program when bassist Volkan Orhon and pianist Ksenia Nosikova from the University of Iowa School of Music present a joint faculty recital at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 24, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Their performance will be free and open to the public.

Works with piano on the program will be the "Valse Miniature" by Sergei Koussevitzky; "Romanza Pathetica" by 19th-century bass virtuoso Giovanni Bottesini; "Prayer No.1 from Jewish Life" by Ernest Bloch; "Nocturne" by Heinrich Taube; and closing the program, a double-bass version of Cesar Franck's popular Sonata in A major, originally composed for violin and piano.

The solo piece on the program will be "Games" by Nicholas Walker, from his "EADG for Solo Bass."

Walker, who often features the string bass in chamber music and improvisational contexts, won the International Society of Bassists Grand Prize for composition in 1998 for his "EADG for Solo Bass." Walker said that the score was written as a teaching tool, "to create a musical context for learning the techniques I studied with my teachers. I use these pieces to pass on these teachings to my own students as well."

"Games" "has a great variety of colors and virtuosic passages," Orhon said. "In the middle section it also gives the performer a chance to improvise. For a classically trained musician like me, this is one of the hardest things to achieve in a live performance."

The conductor of the Boston Symphony for 25 years, Koussevitzky was also a double bass player. He wrote a set of four short pieces for double bass in 1902, including the "Valse Miniature." "Music in Boston revolved around him," Orhon said. "His overwhelming personality made every concert an experience. I feel that every piece that he wrote is full of emotions and has so much character and feeling."

The composer of many virtuosic pieces for the double bass, Bottesini lived during the height of the 19th-century Romantic era. He was a successful opera composer and conductor who conducted the premiere of Verdi's "Aida" and whose own operas played at the major Italian opera houses around the world. As a double bass virtuoso, Bottesini stunned audiences in Europe, South America and the United States. His technique was so dazzling that he was known as "the Paganini of the double bass." His music has become an essential part of the virtuoso bass repertoire.

Orhon commented, "The list of his works is known as flashy and difficult for the double bass. There is no doubt in my mind that not only all the bass players in the world but also most musicians would recognize his name by his compositions for double bass."

Ernest Bloch is known for the composition of Jewish-themed music, including the well-known "Schelomo" (Solomon) for cello and orchestra and the "Prayer No.1 from Jewish Life." However, he once said, "It is neither my purpose nor my desire to attempt a reconstruction of Jewish music nor to base my works on more or less authentic melodies. I am not an archaeologist; for me the important thing is to write good and sincere music. What interests me is the Jewish soul."

Franck's Violin Sonata was written in 1886 when the composer -- one of the leaders of Romanticism in France -- was 63. Franck made his career principally as an organist, playing at the church of Ste.-Clotilde in Paris for more than 30 years and teaching organ at the Paris Conservatory. In addition to music for organ, he composed operas and oratorios, as well as a limited number of orchestral and chamber pieces.

The Violin Sonata was composed as a wedding gift for the great Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaye. Today it is considered one of the major works in the violin repertoire. Because of its popularity, it has been transcribed for many other instruments, including popular versions for cello and flute, and there are currently two published versions for double bass. Because the sonata is quickly gaining popularity for double-bass players, Orhon said he has decided to include the Franck Sonata in his second, upcoming CD project.

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, including the El Paso Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Connecticut Orchestra, Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra, Cortlandt Chamber Orchestra and Northern Westchester Symphony Orchestra.

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 prizewinner 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 was born and raised in Turkey. He began playing the double bass at the age of 12, and spent much of his youth touring Europe. After receiving his bachelor's degree from Ankara State Conservatory, he became a member of the Ankara Presidential Symphony Orchestra. He came to the United States in 1991 to continue his studies with Karr at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Conn., where he received an Artist Diploma and master's degree.

Orhon joined the UI faculty in the fall of 2002. During the summer he teaches at the Kinhaven Music School in Weston, Vermont. 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.

Nosikova, who joined the UI faculty in 1998, has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States Europe and South America. She presented two solo recitals in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1996 and 2001 and has been a guest soloist with symphony and wind orchestras in Colorado, Louisiana and Iowa. In addition she has been invited to perform at international festivals in Munster, France; Rimini, Italy; and Rovin, Yugoslavia; as well as the Aspen and Sarasota Music Festivals in the United States.

A critic in the Boston Globe wrote, "Nosikova again displayed impressive musicianship," and in Alsace, France, a review noted, "her performance is brilliant, full of grace and the most astonishing precision."

In addition to international appearances in France, England, Brazil and Argentina, she has performed as a guest artist at several American universities, including the universities of Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. She received a return invitation to the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago and concert series in England and Moscow for the 2002-03 season.

Nosikova has presented master classes in England and both North and South America. The winner of several international competitions, she regularly serves the Ibla Grand Prize International Competition in Italy as a jury member. She is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Women. She has received two major grants from the Arts and Humanities Initiative and the Central Investment Found for Research Enhancement at the UI.

Nosikova received a master's degree with high honors from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia and a doctorate from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has been invited to perform with renowned artists in numerous international master classes.

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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