Final five concerts to conclude URI music semester

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KINGSTON, R.I.—April 11, 2008— The concert season for the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Music closes with a flourish of five last concerts between April 25-29.

Embracing an eclectic mix of performances and styles, the concert highlights include Mozart and Mendelssohn performed by the Undergraduate Honors String Quartet, the world premiere of a new piece for concert band, a clarinet solo performance by URI faculty member Kelli O’Connor and a guest performance by the South Kingstown High School Symphonic Band as part of the URI Wind Ensemble concert. Unless specified as “free,” admission to these concerts is $8.00 general public, $2.00 students, with seating on a first-come basis.

Directed by Brian Cardany, the URI Concert Band will perform on Friday, April 25 at 8 p.m. in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall at 105 Upper College Road, Kingston. Their program will feature the world premiere of Genesis, a work based upon the first book of the Old Testament, commissioned by Brian Cardany for the URI Concert Band, completed in 2008. The composer is Tim Girard , a URI graduate who has been has been the marching band drum line instructor since 2001.

Other works will include Celtic Hymns and Dances by Eric Ewazen, a one-movement piece inspired by medieval and renaissance music, Pageant by Vincent Persichetti, who composed in many orchestral and chamber music forms and headed the composition department at the Juilliard School of Music, Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song by Samuel R. Hazo, a piece that portrays the conflicting emotions of a Japanese woman who loves her American husband yet pines for her native land and culture; On An American Spiritual by David R. Holsinger, based upon the well-known song “Were You There?”, first published at the beginning of the twentieth century, and The March by John Williams from the 1980’s movie “1941”, adapted by Lavender.

The Undergraduate Honors String Quartet, URI’s most prestigious student chamber music ensemble, will perform in the Concert Hall of the Fine Arts Center on Saturday, April 26 at 8 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. The ensemble will be playing the String Quartet in D Minor, K. 421 by Mozart and the String Quartet in D Major, Op. 44, No. 1 by Felix Mendelssohn.

Members of the quartet are violinist Lydia Lis, a senior performance major from Jamestown, violinist Sara Dillon, a junior music education major from Cranston, violist Naseer Ashraf, a senior composition major from Wakefield, and Chelsea Bernstein, a sophomore performance major from Newport. This will be Lydia Lis’s last performance with this ensemble since she will be graduating in May. Sara Dillon will be making her debut as a member of this quartet. They are coached by Professor John Dempsey.

On Sunday, April 27, the URI Symphonic Wind Ensemble will present their spring concert, joined by the South Kingstown High School Symphonic Band, at 3 p.m. in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. The high school band, directed by Vincent Mattera, will perform first, and their program will include Americans We March, an exuberant piece by Henry Fillmore, On An American Spiritual by David R. Holsinger, A Dakota Rhapsody by Mark Camphouse, and At Dawn They Slept (December 7, 1941) a moving musical remembrance of Pearl Harbor by Jay Bocook.

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble, which consists of the most outstanding wind and percussion players at the university, will open their portion of the concert with Shelley Hanson’s Volver A La Montñna (Return to the Mountain), based on folk tunes of the Quechua (“Inca”) people of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia; J. S. Bach’s Fugue à La Gigue, a piece originally composed for organ with the character of a popular French dance, the gigue, arranged for concert band by the noted English composer, Gustav Holst, and Alfred Reed’s Rahoon, a rhapsody for solo clarinet with band accompaniment based on a haunting, 3-stanza lament to a dead lover, “ Weeps Over Rahoon” by English writer James Joyce. Featured soloist will be URI guest artist/teacher Kelli O’Connor. The program will conclude with two last works, Michael Gandolfi’s. Vientos Y Tangos, and Vincent Persichetti’s Psalm For Band.

Soloist Kelli O’Connor has been cited by the New London Day for her “gorgeous tone and liquid line.” She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, OH, and a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. After she performed with the United States Coast Guard Band from 1995-1999, she was appointed Principal Clarinet of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. O’Connor is a founding member of the chamber group Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston, a member of the Connecticut Orchestra, and has performed frequently with the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and the Salt Marsh Opera. An active clinician, O’Connor founded and directs the Waterford High School Clarinet Choir, which has won many distinctions, including being invited to the 2002 and 2004 Connecticut All-State Conventions as an honor ensemble. She recently finished a 10-month national tour with the musical production “Fiddler on the Roof.”

The final two concerts are the URI Percussion Ensemble, directed by Ron Stabile, performing on Monday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the URI Fine Arts Concert Hall, and URI’s premier small choral ensemble, Lively Experiment, who will perform on Tuesday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Room C100, the rehearsal hall of the Fine Arts Center.

The box office opens 45 minutes before each concert. Facilities are handicap-accessible, and parking is available in the lot behind the Fine Arts Center, off Bills Road.

For more information, call the URI Music Department at 874-2431.