KINGSTON, R.I.—November 26, 2007–A top-notch string quartet, new works by student composers, and choral pieces sung by the University of Rhode Island Concert Choir are all on tap for music lovers on Dec. 1 and 2, in three concerts offered by URI’s Department of Music.
All three concerts will be held in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road on URI’s Kingston campus. Admission for the Concert Choir event on Sunday evening is $8 for the general public, $2 for students. The other two concerts are free. Seating for all Music Department concerts is on a first-come basis. The box office opens 45 minutes before each concert. For more information, call the URI Music Department at 874-2431.
The first concert, on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m., will feature the URI Undergraduate Honors String Quartet. Members of the quartet are selected each year by audition and represent URI’s premiere undergraduate student chamber music ensemble. Coached by Professor John Dempsey, they perform a full concert of advanced literature each semester, and invite the public to attend with free admission. The program for this semester’s concert will consist of two major compositions: Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-Flat Major, Op. 18, No. 6, and Franz Schubert’s String Quartet in D Minor, Op. posth. “Death and the Maiden”.
The quartet’s two violinists this year are Emily Chen from Kingston and Lydia Lis from Jamestown. Both are seniors majoring in music performance. Naseer Ashraf, also a senior, is the violist in the ensemble. He hails from Wakefield and is a music composition major with piano as his primary performing instrument. Chelsea Bernstein, cellist, will make her debut as a member of the quartet with this concert. A sophomore, she is also a music performance major and comes from Newport.
The other two concert offerings of the weekend are both on Sunday, Dec. 2. At 3 p.m., students in the composition program will offer their new works to the public. The concert, which is free, provides an opportunity for them to expand their experience by taking their written work into the reality of being performed by student and/or faculty musicians from the Department of Music and of being heard and responded to by an audience.
Among those whose work will be showcased are: Joseph M. Alberg of Cumberland, RI, with String Quartet in F Sharp Minor, performed by Donald Martin, Violin I, Kristina Terpis, Violin II, Naseer Ashraf, Viola, and Scott Benson, Cello; and Ssu-Yu Huang of Warwick with “Deer Enclosure (No. 1)” and “Bamboo Lodge (No. 2)” from the 24-piece suite Grand Music of Tang, performed by Ying Sun, guitarist. Huang’s suite was commissioned by Japanese classical guitarist Kazuhito Yamashita in 1999. Each piece in the suite is inspired by a specific poem from the Tang Dynasty of China (618–907 AD). The two being offered in this concert are based on poems written by Wang Wei, 699-761 AD, China. Deer Enclosure (No. 1) was one of 10 pieces that were world-premiered by Yamashita in Tokyo, Japan, in February of 2000. Bamboo Lodge (No. 2) has never been performed before.
Also featured will be: Josiah Briggs of Wakefield RI, with Number 49 Apt. 6, performed by Benjamin Padula, marimba, Coralyn Miller: vibraphone, Linda Pezzullo, piano, Nicholas Cooper: guitar, Elizabeth Lombardo, flute, Leslie Sykes, flute, and Stephen Grueb, Bass clarinet; and Stephen Johnson of Coventry with two jazz tunes performed by the Steve Johnson Quartet, The Strange Light and Quills of Confusion.
Other composition students whose work may be included in the concert are: Andrew Fietek, Linda Pezzullo, Peter Gilli, Naseer Ashraf, Benjamin Padula, Danni Kutty, and Michael Ottaviano. The faculty coaches for the URI composition program are Elaine Aberdam and Joseph Parillo.
At 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, the URI Concert Choir, directed by Mark Conley, will offer a concert themed around pieces concerning Heaven, Earth, Sea and Peace. Selections will include works from the Renaissance, the Romantic, and the Modern eras. The centerpiece of the concert will be the performance of Randall Thompson’s work, The Peaceable Kingdom, featuring texts from the prophet Isaiah.
Members of the Concert Choir are chosen by audition. This select ensemble performs before the University and community audiences as well as on tour.