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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 3, 2005

Violinist Katie Wolfe And Colleagues Stress The Lyrical In Oct. 15 Concert

Violinist Katie Wolfe and two of her faculty colleagues from the University of Iowa School of Music -- pianist Rene Lecuona and double bassist Volkan Orhon -- will join forces to present a chamber music concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The program, ranging from early Romanticism to contemporary works, will feature five pieces:


  • Schubert's Sonatina in G minor for violin and piano, D408;
  • "Four Songs of Solitude" for solo violin by John Harbison;
  • Three Pieces for violin and piano, op. 78, by Jan Sibelius;
  • the Sonata for violin and piano by Leos Janacek; and
  • the Grand Duo Concertante for violin, string bass and piano, composed by the 19th-centry bass virtuoso Giovanni Bottesini.

"If this program has something of a theme," Wolfe said, "it would have to be a strong element of lyricism in each piece.

"I feel so fortunate to have colleagues such as Rene Lecuona and Volkan Orhon to perform with. Both inspire me by their own lyricism, which is not easy to achieve on the piano or the double bass."

Speaking of the individual pieces on the program, she continued: "Schubert, of course, had beautiful melodies dangling off of his quill. The Harbison work is haunting with its single melodic violin line that spins out very coherent ideas in a process of continuous development. Janacek's Sonata is filled with beautiful and exotic folk melodies and dances."

The least familiar composer on the program -- except to bass players -- would be Bottesini, whose music has become an essential part of the double bass repertoire. The composer of many virtuosic pieces for the double bass, Bottesini was a successful opera composer and conductor 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 with a technique so dazzling that he was known as "the Paganini of the double bass."

"The Bottesini piece is incredibly fun and entirely operatic," Wolfe said. "It makes the violin and double bass into two characters in a comic opera, each trying to outdo the other by greater virtuosity. I think the bass wins by sheer distance traveled on the instrument. Volkan makes it look too easy!"

Originally from Minnesota, Wolfe joined the string faculty of the UI School of Music in August, 2004. 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.

Lecuona is an associate professor of piano at the UI. Since joining the faculty in 1990, 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.

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.

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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