On Tuesday, February 5, at 7 p.m., pianist Mimi Solomon, a Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Music, will collaborate with violin professor Nicholas DiEugenio in a program that explores the elements of folk and transcendentalism in the music of American composer Charles Ives. They are joined by Timothy Johnson, Professor of Music Theory, for a talk during the program, as well as guest flautist Elizabeth Shuhan. The following evening will feature a question and answer session at 6 p.m.
Ives' music might be considered more quintessentially "American" than any other iconic American composer. Aaron Copland, for example, studied in Europe, whereas Ives studied at Yale and worked as a visionary in the insurance industry in New York.
The music of Ives sets trends and forecasts musical developments that would either occur fifty years later or which were occurring simultaneously across the Atlantic.
His famous Piano Sonata No. 2, Concord, MA, 1840-60--which he worked on from around 1904, published in 1919, and continued to adjust, revise, and riff on even until his death in 1954--is a stunning display of American folk infused with American transcendental philosophy, which is uniquely embodied in each movement of the sonata. Each movement functions almost as a musical portrait of its particular namesake. (The four movements of the Sonata are Emerson, Hawthorne, The Alcotts, and Thoreau.)
In addition to Ms. Solomon's performance of the Concord Sonata, DiEugenio and Solomon will perform Ives' Violin Sonata No. 4 (Children's Day at the Camp Meeting), as well as Dvorak's Sonatina for Violin and Piano, Op. 100 (written in the United States and inspired partly by Dvorak's understanding of American folk and spiritual tunes). To further explore the transcendental element of this program, Solomon and DiEugenio will perform Spiegel Im Spiegel (literally "mirror in the mirror") of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. In this context, this piece might evoke the infinity of lake and sky as experienced by Thoreau at Walden Pond.
Professor Solomon has performed throughout the United States, China, Japan, and Europe. She has appeared as a soloist with orchestras--including Shanghai Symphony, Philharmonia Virtuosi and Yale Symphony Orchestra--and has been featured on numerous radio and television broadcasts including the McGraw-Hill Young Artist’s Showcase, France 3, France Inter and National Public Radio. Recent highlights include performances at Albert-Konzert in Freiburg, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Myra Hess Memorial series in Chicago and Lockenhaus Festival, as well as trio concerts in Japan’s Suntory Hall and Alti Hall.
Praised by the Cleveland Plain Dealer for his "invigorating, silken" playing and "mysterious atmosphere," Professor DiEugenio leads a versatile musical life as a multi-faceted performer of composers from Buxtehude to Carter. Professors DiEugenio and Solomon perform as a duo in the United States and in Europe; last season, recitals in France and in New York included a cycle of the complete Brahms sonatas. Mr. DiEugenio is also a frequent guest artist with the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble. Mr. DiEugenio has taken part in concerts at Town Hall in Seattle and Merkin Hall in New York, as well in the Kavafian Sisters’ 25th Anniversary at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Professor Johnson is an internationally known scholar and award-winning author on the music of Charles Ives. His book, Baseball and the Music of Charles Ives: A Proving Ground (Scarecrow Press, 2004) discusses the importance of baseball in Ives's life, including his baseball-related compositions that feature musical depictions of ballplayers and baseball situations. Johnson was awarded the 2004 Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award for this book. His article, “Chromatic Quotations of Diatonic Tunes in Songs of Charles Ives” appeared in Music Theory Spectrum in 1996.
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