UB Department of Music Announces October Schedule

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: September 24, 2004 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Perhaps best known for his determined recovery from a repetitive-stress injury to his right hand, pianist Leon Fleisher is a world-class musician, conductor and pedagogue who overcame the odds and continues to flourish.

He will open the Department of Music's concert schedule for October with a recital at 8 p.m. Oct. 1 in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus.

Fleisher also will present a master class, free and open to the public, at 3 p.m. Sept. 30 in Baird Recital Hall, 250 Baird Hall, North Campus.

Among the other performers appearing at UB in October are the Meridian Arts Ensemble, the Cassatt String Quartet and the Slee Sinfonietta, UB's professional chamber orchestra.

All October concerts are among the more than 50 inaugural events celebrating the investiture of John B. Simpson as UB's 14th president.

Fleisher's debut at 16 with the New York Philharmonic was followed by regular appearances with orchestras and in recital on the world's great concert stages. His celebrated collaboration with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra resulted in a series of recordings, among them the Beethoven and Brahms piano concertos that have remained touchstones of the classical catalogue to this day.

After his injury was diagnosed in the mid-1960s, he devoted his career to teaching and conducting, and the left-hand literature. Beginning in the 1980s, his performances and recordings of the repertoire for the left hand won him immediate critical and popular acclaim, as well as two Grammy nominations

During a 1995 concert with the Cleveland Orchestra, Fleisher was able to play the Mozart Concerto in A Major, K. 414 successfully with both hands. He now performs both the left-hand repertoire and select works for two hands. In 2000, he became the first living pianist to be inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame.

Hailed as one of America's outstanding ensembles, the Manhattan-based Cassatt String Quartet has performed throughout North America, Europe and the Far East, with prestigious appearances at New York's Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and Maeda Hall in Tokyo.

The ensemble will return to UB on Oct. 8 for its first visit to campus since its successful residency at the university in the late 1990s. The recital, at 8 p.m. in Lippes Concert Hall, is the first concert of the 49th annual Slee/Beethoven String Quartet Cycle.

Formed in 1985 with the encouragement of the Juilliard Quartet and named for the celebrated American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, the quartet initiated and was among the inaugural participants in Juilliard's Young Artists Quartet Program. The group's numerous awards include a Tanglewood Chamber Music Fellowship, the Wardwell Chamber Music Fellowship at Yale, First Prizes at the Fischoff and Coleman Chamber Music Competitions, two top prizes at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, the 1995 CMA/ASCAP First Prize Award for Adventurous Programming and a 1996 recording grant from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust.

A program of diverse music ranging from Villa-Lobos to Sesame Street to Jimi Hendrix will be on tap when the Meridian Arts Ensemble (MAE) performs at 8 p.m. Oct. 29 in Lippes Concert Hall. The concert is the second in the Slee/Visiting Artist Series.

Members of the ensemble also will perform with the Slee Sinfonietta on Oct. 26 and conduct a master class at 4 p.m. Oct. 25 and a composer reading session at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 27, both in Baird Recital Hall. The master class and composer reading session are free and open to the public.

The MAE began as a traditional brass quintet, winning four competitions in under two years. The First Prize of the coveted Concert Artists Guild New York Competition in 1990 launched the group's international career. Since then, the group has evolved into an adaptable ensemble with a core of brass and percussion, expanding as necessary to include piano, guitar, bass and saxophone.

Eclecticism is a key element of the MAE's performances: the ensemble performs a wide variety of music, mixing classical and contemporary works, jazz and rock compositions, ethnic music and original works by ensemble members. They display its uniqueness and versatility through regular performances at jazz and alternative rock clubs, including New York's The Knitting Factory, CBGB's, and the Kitchen; Washington D.C.'s Black Cat; and Los Angeles's House of Blues.

The MAE has also collaborated with such notables as Duran Duran, and records exclusively for Channel Classics, with seven recordings released to date.

The Slee Sinfonietta will offer a mix of the old and the new, along with an impressive list of guest soloists, during two concerts in Lippes Concert Hall during the month of October. The first, at 8 p.m. on Oct. 6, will highlight Vivaldi's "Autumn" from the beloved Four Seasons and feature solo violinist Movses Pogossian, who will also perform the second movement of the Mendelssohn concerto for violin with fellow UB faculty member and pianist Stephen Manes. A third UB colleague, flutist Cheryl Gobbetti Hoffman, will be featured in Lukas Foss' tribute to composer Toru Takemitsu in For Toru.

In the second concert, at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26, members of the Meridian Arts Ensemble will bulk up the brass section of the Sinfonietta for works by Stockhausen, Varèse and Gabrieli.

The Sinfonietta was formed in 1997 by composer David Felder and conductor Magnus Mårtensson, and performs a series of concerts each year devoted to lesser-known repertoire, particularly that of the pre-classic era and recent contemporary music. Advanced students in performance are invited to participate, along with faculty artists, soloists and regional professionals in the production of these unique concerts designed to contribute new possibilities for concertgoers within the university and the Western New York region.

Tickets for Leon Fleisher, the Slee Sinfonietta, the Meridian Arts Ensemble and the Cassatt String Quartet are $12 for the general public and $9 for UB faculty, staff and alumni, senior citizens, and WNED members with a card, and $5 for students. Tickets can be obtained at the Slee Hall box office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, at the Center for the Arts box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or at all Ticketmaster outlets.