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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 22, 2006

Matisse Trio, A UI Faculty Ensemble, Comes Back For More March 5

The Matisse Trio, a University of Iowa faculty ensemble featuring violinist Katie Wolfe, cellist Anthony Arnone and pianist Ksenia Nosikova, will present a free concert at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 5 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The Matisse Trio made its debut in a UI concert just about one year ago -- March 1, 2005. At the time Arnone said "we are hoping to make this a regular thing over the coming years," and in fulfillment of that hope the group is now back for more.

"We are greatly enjoying our second season as a piano trio, and are continuing to add to our repertoire with some of our favorite composers," Wolfe commented. "This concert offers some incredibly contrasting music."

The three favorite composers they chose for the March 5 concert are Beethoven, with his Piano Trio in G major, op. 1 no. 2; Shostakovich, with the Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor; and Brahms, with his Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor, op. 103.

Wolfe commented on the three pieces, which are part of the standard piano trio repertoire: "The Beethoven is a joyful work and is surprisingly fresh and inventive, while the influence of Haydn is apparent. Even though the themes of the outer movements seem quite simple, there are numerous twists and turns involving many stops and starts and key changes just when you think the movements are coming to a close. The slow movement is the heart of this work, however, and contains melodies filled with elegance and longing.

"Shostakovich's second piano trio is very meaningful to us. It was written during World War II, right after the composer's Seventh and Eighth symphonies and at a time of great personal upheaval and loss. There are strong elements of mourning, suffering, fear and irony, as well as musical representations of the horrors of war all blended together. This trio feels like a spiritual journey that begins tentatively and travels through trauma in order to find a somewhat peaceful, if unsettling resolution.

"Brahms' C-minor piano trio was written in 1886, immediately after his cello sonata in F major and violin sonata in A major. Even though it comes rather late in his lifetime, it was a very productive and fruitful time for Brahms, especially for chamber music. This trio is only about 20 minutes, yet Brahms manages to compress a lot of intensity and eloquence into that time.

"The outer movements both feature stormy first themes and take full advantage of the dark and powerful key of C minor. The second movement is a strange, fragile and restrained scherzo movement that is played with muted strings throughout, while the third movement is a beautiful lullaby with the added twist of an irregular meter: The pattern is one bar of three beats followed by two bars in two."

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.

Arnone is a founding member of the Meriden Trio and the Sedgwick String Quartet, which regularly performs at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C. He was principal cellist of the Madison Symphony in Wisconsin 1996-2001, was a member of the Orchestra Philharmonique de Nice and the Wichita Symphony, and was principal cellist of the Spoleto Festival in Italy 1992-1997.

Arnone has taught master classes and performed across the country and currently teaches summers at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina and the Stonybrook Music Festival in New York. Before coming to the UI, he held a faculty position at Ripon College in Wisconsin where he taught cello and bass, music theory and chamber music, and conducted the orchestra.

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.

She has recorded a three-CD set of the complete "Years of Pilgrimage" by Franz Liszt, and a disk of chamber music works for viola and piano by early 20th-century English composers Rebecca Clarke, Arthur Bliss and Frank Bridge with her UI colleague Christine Rutledge.

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.

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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