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UNG Chamber Music Festival begins June 15

Vega String Quartet
The Vega String Quartet.

The University of North Georgia will host the second North Georgia Chamber Music Festival, featuring world-class musicians, with performances scheduled in Cumming, Dahlonega and Gainesville in June.

Concerts, which include performances by several members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), are scheduled for June 15, 16, 22 and 23.

"After the success of last year's festival, we all have high expectations for what we will experience this year," said Andy David, head of the Department of Music. "Having ASO Concertmaster David Coucheron on the bill is a real coup."

The June 15 concert begins at 8 p.m. in the Hoag Auditorium on UNG's Dahlonega Campus, and will feature a performance by The Vega String Quartet and renowned pianist William Ransom.

The Vega String Quartet has been the quartet in residence at Emory University since 2006. The group features Domenic Salerni and Jessica Shuang Wu on violins, Yinzi Kong on viola and Guang Wang on cello.

Ransom, who has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, is the Mary Emerson Professor of Piano at Emory University.

The quartet will perform Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet "Serioso" in F minor, op. 95, and Juan Ramirez's "Suite Latina for String Quartet." Ransom will join the quartet to perform Robert Schumann's Piano Quintet in E-flat major, op. 44.

  • Composed in 1810, String Quartet in F minor, op. 95 was completed during a period of both personal and creative crisis. Known as the "Serioso" because the composer scribbled "Quartett[o] Serioso" on the original manuscript, String Quartet in F minor, op. 95 is the shortest of Beethoven's 16 string quartets. A transitional work, the quartet is unusual, if compared to Beethoven's previously composed string quartets.
  • "Suite Latina for String Quartet" was composed between March 5 and April 1 2002, for a string quartet and was commissioned by the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, where it premiered in June 2002. The quartet is in three movements.
  • The first movement of Schumann's Piano Quintet in E-flat major, op. 44 opens passionately. The march-like second movement evokes a somber quality. The scherzo curiously contains two trio sections. Thematic material from the opening movement returns in the percussive last movement of the quintet.

The June 16 concert, also on UNG's Dahlonega Campus, features five members of the ASO — violinists David Coucheron and Justin Bruns, cellists Daniel Laufer and Charae Krueger, and Yang-Yoon Kim on viola.

Coucheron and Laufer will perform Zoltan Kodaly's Duo for Violin and Cello; all five musicians will perform Franz Schubert's Cello Quintet in C major, D. 956.

  • Composed in 1914, the Duo for Violin and Piano, op. 7 did not premiere until the 1924 I.S.C.M. Festival held in Salzburg, Austria. Influenced by Kodaly's ethnomusicological work, his music often blends elements of traditional music (rhapsodic gestures, slow speech-like melodies with rubato, and repeating rhythmic figures) with art music. The Duo for Violin and Piano follows the conventional fast-slow-fast scheme.
  • Compared to the string quintets of Mozart or Beethoven that conventionally employed two violas, Schubert’s instrumentation for his Cello Quintet in C major, D. 956 appears atypical for the period. Furthermore, Schubert’s quintet is exceptional for its almost symphonic-like proportions.

Cecylia Arzewski, violinist and former concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, had a vision to begin a chamber music festival in northeast Georgia and is the event's artistic director.

"My first acquaintance with the magic spells of chamber music came when I was a student at Juilliard in 1962. There is nothing quite like the exhilaration of being swept along by the powerful currents of the most intimate form of music making," she said. "The solitude in chamber music shapes its visions over the hall. Everyone is alone, yet together at the same time. Listeners are pulled into the quiet, sometimes painful, sometimes blissful space created within us."

Tickets are $20 for each concert and may be purchased by calling 706-867-2873 or at the door. Each performance is general seating; the performance hall will open 45 minutes prior to the beginning of each concert.

For more information about the festival, including directions and accommodations, visit www.ung.edu/chambermusic.

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