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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 7, 2005

Pianist Nosikova Celebrates Recording Projects In Oct. 22 UI Concert

Pianist Ksenia Nosikova from the University of Iowa School of Music will celebrate the completion of one recording project and launch another with "Piano Fantasy," a free solo recital at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, Clapp Recital Hall.

The program will include a piece from Nosikova's recently-completed three-CD set of Franz Liszt's complete "Annees de Pelerinage" (Years of pilgrimage), and a piece from her upcoming CD of music by contemporary American composer Lera Auerbach. Also on the program are two pieces that gave the name "Piano Fantasy" to the performance.

The complete program will be:

-- "Memento Mori" (Remember that you are mortal), completed in 2001 by Lera Auerbach;

-- the Fantasy in C major, op. 17, by Robert Schumann;

-- the Fantasy in F minor, op. 49, by Frederic Chopin; and

-- two of the best-known pieces from the Liszt cycle, "Les jeux d'eau ala Villa d'Este" (Fountains at the d'Este Villa) and "Vallee d'Obermann" (Obermann's valley).

Liszt's "Annees de Pelerinage" is a massive work, and making a complete recording of the set was a considerable undertaking for Nosikova.

"I had been familiar with and performed several pieces from the 'Annees de Pelerinage' for years, but performing and recording the complete set has given me such an increased appreciation for this extraordinary composer and performer," Nosikova said. "Such an imagination, mastery and understanding of the piano!"

The complete cycle, which Liszt worked on throughout his life, consists of three volumes. The first, "Switzerland," records his experiences while traveling in Switzerland while still in his twenties. The second, "Italy," records his impressions of travels through Italy with the glamorous Countess Marie d'Agoult, who was the great love and inspiration of Liszt's life. And the Third Book is a document of Liszt's years of religious pilgrimage in Rome late in his life, between the years 1867 and 1877.

A pianist as well as a composer, Auerbach became one of the very last artists to defect from the Soviet Union while still in her teens, during a concert tour in 1991. She subsequently earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the Juilliard School in New York. In 2002, she graduated from the piano soloist program of the Hannover Hochschuele fuer Musik in Germany.

In 2000 and 2004, she was invited by the International Johannes Brahms Foundation to live and work at the composer's former home in Baden-Baden as the artist-in-residence. In 2001, at the invitation of Gidon Kremer, she was composer-in-residence and guest artist at the Lockenhaus Festival in Austria, where 12 of her works were premiered. Auerbach is currently composer-in-residence with the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan and the American Youth Symphony in Los Angeles.

Nosikova, who also moved her musical career from the former Soviet Union to the United States, has commissioned a piano sonata for her planned CD of Auerbach's works.

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 at more than 50 American universities.

Nosikova received a return invitation to the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago and concert series in England and Moscow for 2002-03 season. 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.

She was called "a pianist of refined sensibility and exquisite pianism . . . fascinating to watch and hear" by New York Concert Reviews, and in Alsace, France, a review noted, "her performance is brilliant, full of grace and the most astonishing precision." American Record Guide wrote of her three-CD set of Liszt's "Annees de Pelerinage," "Her tone in 'Vallee d'Obermann,' the keystone of this collection, is sensuous and singing. Moreover, superb pacing and two marvelously constructed climaxes turn this diffuse and difficult tone-poem into a tour de force."

Nosikova has also recorded a disk of chamber music works for viola and piano by early 20th-century English composers Rebecca Clarke, Arthur Bliss, and Frank Bridge with violist Christine Rutledge from the UI faculty. She was featured on several programs for radio and television stations in the United States and Europe.

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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