Carmina Burana and more to wrap up URI concert season, April 30-May 2

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KINGSTON, R.I. – April 19, 2011 – Five more concerts April 30-May 2 will wrap up the regular spring concert season at the University of Rhode Island. Those will include the combined URI Concert Choir and University Chorus presentation of Carl Orff’s popular cantata, Carmina Burana. All of the concerts will be held in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall at 105 Upper College Road, Kingston. Admission varies for each event.

The concerts follow on the heels of four straight nights of jazz and percussion concerts at the university, with the B101 Big Band and URI Concert Band performing at 8 p.m. on Friday night.

The music continues on Saturday afternoon, April 30, at 3 p.m., with the Undergraduate Honors String Quartet spring concert. These scholar/musicians, the top string players at the university, will perform five movements from Mozart’s Quartet in D Major, “Prussian No. 1” K 575, and Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44: “Allegro Brillante”, with Jonathan Audette, piano, joining the quartet for the Schumann piece. The quartet members are Allison Dubois, violin; Donald Martin, violin; Christina Stavrakas, viola; and Emily Johnston, cello, coached by cellist/faculty guest teacher Susan Robison.

A chamber ensemble coached by URI faculty member and orchestra director Ann Danis will also participate in the concert, performing two movements from G.F. Handel’s Trio Sonata, Op. 5, #4, and a movement from Walter Leigh’s Concertino for Piano. The ensemble members are: Danny Kutty, piano; Kevin Koehler, violin; Theresa Procopio, oboe; Tom Pritchard, viola; and Lev Lewyckyj, cello. The concert is open to the public with free admission.

On April 30, at 8 p.m., the URI Concert Choir, directed by Mark Conley, and the University Chorus, directed by Andrew Howell, will join forces with pianists Patrice Newman and Laura Hibbard and members of the URI percussion studio to present Orff’s 25-movement masterpiece, Carmina Burana. Soloists will be soprano Erin Maughan, tenor Billy Ray Poli and baritone Devon Morin.

This well-loved work, written in 1936 and first staged in Germany in 1937, is based on 24 poems found in a much larger medieval poetry collection by the same name. The selection covers a wide range of topics, covering the rise and fall of fortunes in life with all its joys, sorrows, pleasures and perils. It ends with a reprise of the opening theme, “O Fortuna”, which is widely known from its use in movies, video games and even television commercials.

The concert will also feature works by Schubert, Brahms and Webern performed by the Concert Choir only. The Schubert (for men’s chorus and mezzo-soprano soloist who will be Celia Tafuri) and Brahms (for women’s chorus, harp and two horns) will be conducted by graduate student Jennifer Armstrong. Admission is $10 general public, $5 students, with tickets available at the box office on a first-come basis starting 45 minutes before the concert.

On Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m., the URI Symphonic Wind Ensemble will present their spring concert. The ensemble, started in 1963, consists of the most outstanding wind and percussion players at the university. The group is dedicated to presenting the finest literature from all musical periods and was among those chosen to perform recently at the Music Educators National Conference.

The eclectic program from this top-notch ensemble will range from Stravinsky’s Firebird to award-winning jazz composer Kim Portnoy’s Sasha Takes a Train, and from a set of Afro-Cuban dance movements by Robert Sheldon to Eric Whitacre’s Noisy Wheels of Joy, a “raucous, breathtaking overture that is far from the ordinary overture fare,” according to the ensemble’s director, Dr. Gene J. Pollart. Admission for this concert is $10 general public, $5 students, with tickets available starting 45 minutes before the concert.

The URI Composers Spring Concert will also be presented on Sunday, May 1 at 7 p.m. composition students coached by faculty and guest artists Eliane Aberdam, Dominique Schafer, Eric Hofbauer, and Geoffrey Gibbs will offer “sounds never heard before,” in styles ranging from classical to jazz to modern electronic music, performed by a variety of students and guest ensembles.

Among the pieces and composers on the program are Untitled by Angela Cardarelli, Wade in the Water by Jennifer Armstrong, Soundscape of a Spiraling Nightmare by Peter Waite, Requiem by Tim Coffey, Cenophony by Brandon Winrich, Tell It Like It Is by Hannah Abigail Loeb, Tales From the Riff Bank by Ben Christie, and two pieces by Mark Medeiros, Don’t forget the low end and also Gertrude’s Final Swing. In addition to these, Drew O’Connor is expected to present an oboe and piano work, Jack Ramatta a saxophone quartet, and Amy Hubbard a piece for soprano and piano as well as a trio for piano, flute and clarinet. Philip Mazza, Danny Kutty, and a few more students are also participating.

Performers will include Allison Dubois, violin; Angela Cardarelli, piano; the Mt. Hope Chorus from Bristol, RI; vocalists Rebecca Cunha, soprano; Peter Waite, baritone; and Tim Coffey, bass; Christina Stavarkas, viola, and Tim Coffey, piano; Geri Muller, flute; De’Anna Alexander, tenor saxophone, and Hannah Loeb, marimba; Kevin Koehler, violin; Emily Johnston, cello, and Sam Levine, bass; the URI B101 Big Band, and more. Admission for this concert is free.

The last regular URI Music Department concert for the spring will be on Monday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m., featuring “Lively Experiment”, the university’s premier small vocal ensemble offering a cappella and accompanied pieces from a wide spectrum of chamber voice repertoire. The highly acclaimed ensemble is directed by Mark Conley. Admission is $10 general public, $5 students, with tickets available starting 45 minutes before the concert.

The URI Concert Hall is handicap-accessible, and parking is available behind the Fine Arts Center, off Bills Road. For more information, please contact the URI Department of Music, 874-2431, or check the website: