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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 4, 2005

Violinist Katie Wolfe Will Play UI Solo Recital Debut Feb. 20

Violinist Katie Wolfe, who joined the faculty of the University of Iowa School of Music last fall, will present her first UI faculty recital together with pianist Shari Rhoads at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The recital will be free and open to the public.

Wolfe will play four works on the recital -- three with Rhoads and one alone. The complete program will be: the Sonata in G Major for piano "with the accompaniment of the violin," by Franz Joseph Haydn; the Sonata for solo violin, op. 27 no. 4, by Eugene Ysaye; the Partita for violin and piano by Witold Lutoslawski; and the Sonata in B minor by Ottorino Respighi.

"Shari was the first pianist I played with during my interview and audition for this position," Wolfe said. "We really enjoyed working together. Playing with Shari is like wearing Lycra. With every move I make, she is right there with me. It gives me such a feeling of freedom.

"Since this is my first program here at the UI, I'm trying to give my audience a sense of who I am: an artist with many musical interests. I like to introduce people to marvelous works they may never have heard before -- forgotten gems, seldom-performed works by famous composers, or more recent works -- as well as programming the well-loved standards of the literature."

Today, we think of the piano as the accompanying instrument in duos, but in the 18th century accompanied keyboard sonatas were standard: piano accompanied by violin, or flute, or another instrument. This reflected accepted gender roles of the time: women, who had time to practice, played the piano or other keyboard instruments, while men, who worked outside the home, played melody instruments -- but not as well as their wives played piano.

"The Sonata in G major may be the only work for piano and violin that Haydn wrote," Wolfe said. "It was one of the first pieces he wrote for the new pianoforte, rather than for the harpsichord. He was inspired by the pianos he heard during his first journey to London. The work is absolute Haydn. Elegance and balance imbued with his famous sense of humor make this two-movement sonata the perfect opener for the program."

Wolfe continued her comments on the program: "Ysaye was a famous Belgian violin virtuoso at the turn of the 20th century. His strikingly original and virtuosic works for solo violin have become an important part of the repertoire for modern violinists. These works display temperament, extreme virtuosity, an incredible range of emotions, and a colorful harmonic language. Because they were written by a concert violinist, they are very well suited to the violin, but that makes them no less challenging to perform.

"Lutoslawski's Partita for violin and piano, written in 1990, is a driving, intense and extremely colorful work by this master Polish composer. Reminiscent of Bartok at times with its insistent driving rhythms, the Partita also calls for an incredible range of sounds and virtuosity from both performers.

"The final work on the program is the Sonata in B minor by Ottorino Respighi. Written in 1917, this piece appears infrequently on programs today. This is undeserved, as it is a work of incredible depth and complexity. Harmonically, Respighi explores the extended tonality of the early 20th century, while expressing sweeping Romantic gestures. It is a work which is continually searching for resolution, but which ventures boldly outwards before returning home."

Originally from Minnesota, Wolfe joined the string faculty of the UI School of Music in August. She has had a diverse career as a soloist, teacher, chamber and orchestral musician on the national and international stage. She has performed in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, the Soviet Union, Spain and the Netherlands.

Wolfe received a bachelor's from Indiana University and a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music. After graduation, she received a Fulbright Lecture Award to teach and perform in Bolivia. She formed a string quartet that performed educational and public concerts throughout the country, taught at the National Conservatory, and served as Associate Concertmaster of the National Symphony of Bolivia.

Prior to teaching in Iowa, Wolfe taught violin, viola and chamber music at Oklahoma State University for five years. During that time she was associate concertmaster of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and performed frequent solo and chamber music concerts throughout the state.

As a chamber musician, she has performed with many noted musicians. Broadening her experiences and musical career as a freelance artist in New York City, she has performed and toured with the Jupiter Symphony, Philharmonia Virtuosi, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the S.E.M. Ensemble, City Island Baroque Ensemble, in Broadway pit orchestras, and with many other ensembles.

Rhoads joined the UI School of Music faculty as opera coach and diction teacher in the fall of 2000. Before arriving at the UI she taught music history at the Music conservatory in Lucerne and the Conservatory of Lausanne in Switzerland. Rhoads earned the title of Kapellmeister at the Lucerne (Switzerland) Theater. She was conductor and coach at the opera theater in Darmstadt, Germany, the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, Spain, and the Teatro de las Zarzuela in Madrid.

Her accompanying credentials include recitals with Jose Carreras, Luis Lima and Montserrat Caballe with whom she worked exclusively as coach/accompanist and orchestrator. She has appeared at numerous international festivals including Aix-en-Provence, Luzern International Festowche and the Beethovenhaus Chamber Music series. Rhoads continues to perform internationally and conducts master class world-wide on Mozart operas with collaborator Georges Delnon. She earned her degree in accompanying and has completed post-graduate studies in opera coaching/conducting at the University of Southern California.

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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