Friday, April 13, 2012

"Eastman School of Music to Host ‘Superstars’ of Viola World" Including Nokuthula Ngwenyama

      Eastman School of Music to Host ‘Superstars’ of Viola World

Ten new works will premiere during International Congress for performers, scholars

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Several hundred acclaimed violists from around the world — a who’s who of current and former orchestra principals, prominent soloists and chamber musicians, educators and “rising star” students – descend on the Eastman School of Music May 30 to June 3 for the 40th International Viola Congress. Over five days, they’ll perform some 20 group and solo recitals, featuring 10 world premieres, and present or participate in more than 40 discussions, lectures, and master classes.

Associate Professor Carol Rodland, one of the event organizers, describes the Congress as “an international music festival centered around the viola” that presents audiences with a rare opportunity to hear sought-after musicians from Asia, Europe, South Africa, Mexico, the United States, and Canada all in one place.

Concert programs, which are all open to the public, range from an opening recital by Annette Isserlis, a Baroque specialist from England, to a late-night session with Martha Mooke, an American genre-crossing pioneer in electric five-string viola. Singers, pianists, double bassists, cellists, percussionists, and other instrumentalists join the violists on numerous performances.

Collaborations with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra feature an additional world premiere, with Marcus Thompson giving the first performance of Olly Wilson’s Viola Concerto, and the performance of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths by the New York Philharmonic’s Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps and Associate Principal Violist Rebecca Young.

An evening concerto concert on May 30, which will be broadcast live by Rochester classical music radio station WXXI 91.5 FM, presents former Berlin Philharmonic principal violist Wolfram Christ performing and conducting a 25-piece chamber orchestra. Joining Christ as soloists on the program are world-renowned soloist Kim Kashkashian, a professor at the New England Conservatory and a former artist with the Marlboro Music Festival who’s been a guest with the Tokyo, Guarneri, and Galimir Quartets; Paul Neubauer, who at age 21 became the youngest principal string player in the history of the New York Philharmonic; Israeli-born Atar Arad, professor at Indiana University and a former Cleveland Quartet violist who’s performed worldwide with major orchestras and as a recitalist; and Nokuthula Ngwenyama, winner and now director of the Primrose International Viola Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions at age 17.  

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