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String and piano will conclude Connoisseur Series

1:09:29 PM CDT - Thursday, February 26, 2004

By Shannon Littlejohn

JPEG Image (250x183)
Members of the Vermeer String Quartet are
left to right, violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi and
Mathias Tacke, cellist Marc Johnson and
violist Richard Young. They'll perform at
WSU March 7.
The Vermeer String Quartet is returning to campus for a fine finale to WSU's Connoisseur Series.

"The Vermeer Quartet is one of the top string quartets in the world right now," says Julie Bees, professor of piano for WSU's School of Music. "They were here in 2001, and it was such a wonderful concert that we wanted to have them back."

The quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 7, in Wiedemann Recital Hall, with Bees as guest artist on the piano.

The Vermeer performance drew a large and very appreciative crowd last time, Bees says, and this time, the program should appeal to fans of both chamber music and piano.

The concert will include Schubert's Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 125, No. 1 (D.87); Lutoslawski's String Quartet (1965); and Schumann's Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44.

In the mid-1800s, Robert Schumann's idea of combining the piano and string quartet was a new and modern one for which there was little precedent. The quintet that the Vermeer and Bees will perform was immediately popular with 19-century audiences.

"It's one of the top hits," says Bees of the piece. "It's beautiful."

JPEG Image (150x216)

Julie Bees

She is honored to play with the Vermeer, she says. With performances in nearly every major city in North America, Europe and Australia, the Vermeer String Quartet, formed in 1969, has achieved international stature as one of the world's finest music ensembles. The quartet has just finished recording the complete Bartok string quartets, says Bees, and many of their other works are also available on CD, including the Grammy-nominated "The Seven Last Words of Christ," Haydn's passion composed for the Easter season.

The quartet features Shmuel Ashkenasi and Mathias Tacke on violin, Richard Young, viola, and Marc Johnson, cello. Their biographies are full of world-class credentials, artists with whom they've studied and competitions they've won.

Bees also has an impressive record, having studied with Leon Fleisher, Maria Curcio-Diamand, Alfred Mouledous, Konrad Wolff, and Peggy Erwin. She has performed recitals in venues that include Edinburgh, Vienna, The Hague, Warsaw and St. Petersburg. She won the 1978 MTNA Collegiate Artist Competition in Chicago, the Olga Samaroff prize in the University of Maryland International Piano Competition, fourth prize in the Washington International Competition for Pianists at Kennedy Center, and grand prize in the 1975 International Piano Recording Competition.

Bees' experience with Vermeer won't end with the concert. She says the quartet will break up into duos to teach two master classes for string quartet groups at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 8 in Wiedemann Hall. High school musicians are invited to participate, and the session is free and open to the public.

The Vermeer String Quartet with guest artist Julie Bees will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 7, in Wiedemann Recital Hall. For ticket information or reservations, call the Fine Arts Box Office at 978-3233.



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