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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 19, 2005

Gutierrez Will Play Favorite Violin Sonatas On UI Faculty Recital Jan. 30

Violinist Margaret Soper Gutierrez will play two of her favorite violin sonatas with pianist Rene Lecuona as part of a University of Iowa School of Music faculty recital at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 30 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The recital, featuring sonatas by Brahms and Prokofiev, will be free and open to the public.

As an Iowa City native and member of the Maia String Quartet, Gutierrez has played in many local performances, but this will be her first solo appearance since joining the UI faculty in 2003. The complete program will be the Sonata No. 1 in G major by Brahms, the "Suite Populaire Espagnol" (Popular Spanish suite) by Manuel De Falla and Prokofiev's Sonata No. 1 in F minor.

Gutierrez is very happy to talk about the program. "I love the Brahms!" she said. "It is such a pleasure to play this piece! VERY satisfying musically, and a warm, welcoming opener to a recital!"

Counting the pleasures of the sonata, she quickly listed "the gently rocking dotted half-notes that pulse throughout the first movement, the warmth of the key, the typically Brahmsian cross-rhythms and hemiolas, the progression of the dotted rhythm in the first movement themes -- that rhythm becomes the transitional material in the second movement and then shows up in the beginning of the last movement theme, which really unifies the work."

"The De Falla is a transcription of six songs," she continued. "It is very Spanish, Carmen-esque in its style and flair. Each brief movement captures a different mood: flirty, singing a lullaby, the searing pain of unrequited love, passionate and angry and joyful."

Prokofiev began his F-minor Violin Sonata in 1938, but set it aside and finished it in 1946, after the Second Sonata. It is dedicated to the great Russian violinist David Oistrakh, with whom Prokofiev collaborated while writing the sonata.

"The F-minor Sonata is one of my most favorite pieces," Gutierrez said. "It is dark and brooding, yet full of his usual rhythmic drive and achingly beautiful harmonies. The music seems to reflect the despair and hardship experienced by Prokofiev's compatriots during World War II.

"The piece is framed by somber chords in the piano and muted, fleet scales in the violin, which Prokofiev described as the 'wind in the graveyard,' which comes at the end of the first movement and again at the end of the last movement."

"After Rene and I had worked on this together, she declared that this is a 'perfect' piece. I have to agree -- it is complete and perfect in and of itself, compositionally, emotionally, musically. It's a very great work to get to play and, hopefully, to experience as a listener."

Gutierrez joined the faculty of the UI School of Music as a member of the Maia String Quartet in 2003. She had previously performed and toured with the Baltimore Symphony and the National Symphony. She was concertmaster of the Baltimore Opera Orchestra and the Washington Bach consort, as well as principal second violin with the Washington Chamber Symphony. Her chamber music experience goes back to fourth grade, when she first played in an established string quartet.

She was a member of the Vanadium Quartet at the Point Counterpoint Chamber Music Camp and the National Gallery String Quartet in Washington, D.C. She has performed at several chamber music festivals in the United States and taught master classes at the Austin (Tex.) Chamber Music Center.

Gutierrez grew up in Iowa City and graduated from West High School, where she played in the orchestra. She studied violin with Sonja Zeithamel and Doris Preucil at the Preucil School of Music and participated in the Iowa All-State Orchestra as well as the UI All-State Music Camp.

She subsequently received a bachelor's degree in music from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. and master's from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She taught one year on the Preucil School faculty and has also taught at the Portland (Maine) Conservatory of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Point Counterpoint Chamber Music Camp in Vermont.

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.

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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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

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