ABERDEEN, S.D. – Internationally renowned violinist Stephanie Chase will join the Aberdeen University/Civic Symphony at its winter concert, “Musical Adventures,” on March 1.
The concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Johnson Fine Arts Center theater, will feature three romantic masterpieces. The program will open with the “Overture to Struensee” by Giacomo Meyerbeer and includes Richard Strauss’s “Waltzes from Der Rosenkavalier.”
Chase will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor” with the orchestra, conducted by Northern State University Associate Professor of Strings Robert Vodnoy
Audience members will have an opportunity to meet Chase and learn about the music at a pre-concert conversation, which begins at 6 p.m. in Berggren Recital Hall.
Feb. 27 Chamber Music Concert
As part of a multiple-day visit to Aberdeen, Chase will join Vodnoy and members of the AUCS string section for a chamber music concert at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in NSU’s Krikac Auditorium. That program will feature the music of Telemann, Vivaldi and Haydn. The concerts are sponsored by Dacotah Bank. The AUCS also receives a grant from the South Dakota Arts Council.
Chase has been hailed as “one of the violin greats of our era” by Newhouse Newspapers and has had solo appearances with more than 170 orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and London
Symphony Orchestra. Her interpretations are acclaimed for their "elegance, dexterity, rhythmic vitality and great imagination" (Boston Globe), "stunning power" (Louisville Courier-Journal) and "matchless technique" (BBC Music Magazine. Chase is a top medalist of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and received the Avery Fisher Career Grant.
First violin teachers to Chase - who was born in Illinois - were her mother and her father, Bruce Chase, a noted music arranger and composer and violinist. At age 2, she was performing in public. She debuted with the Chicago Symphony six years later as the youngest-ever winner of the orchestra’s youth competition. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as soloist with the National Orchestral Association at age 18, and studied under Belgian violinist Arthur Grumiaux. She is a professor of violin at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University and gives master classes at music conservatories throughout the United States.
Chase performed Samuel Barber’s “Violin Concerto” with Vodnoy and the Northwest Indiana Symphony in 1992 at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. She plays a 1742 Petrus Guarnerius violin, which is noted for its power and beautiful tonal qualities.
About the March 1 program
Mendelssohn (1809-1847) was considered a brilliant composer, conductor, pianist and educator. His “Violin Concerto in E Minor” was his last major orchestral work. It is one of the most popular and frequently performed violin concertos in the repertoire. He wrote the work for his friend Ferdinand David, the German violinist. The two men were kindred spirits: they were born one year apart and were both famous child prodigies.
Meyerbeer (1791-1864) was a Prussian-Jewish composer who has been described as the most successful stage composer of the 19th century. Meyerbeer, born Jakob Liebmann Beer, first trained as a pianist. By age 24, he was composing successful operas. Meyerbeer composed the overture and incidental music to his brother Michael’s play “Struensee” in 1856. The overture is considered by many critics to be Meyerbeer’s finest instrumental work.
The year 1864 figures prominently in the selection of music for this concert. It is the death-year of Meyerbeer and the birth year of Strauss, whose music is also featured on the program.
Strauss (1864-1949) is considered one of the most important German Post-Romantic composers of the late 19th and early 20th century. “Der Rosenkavalier” is comedy about the aristocratic Marschallin and her young lover Octavian, Count Rofrano. The libretto, by Hofmannsthal, is loosely based on a play by Moliere. The Marschallin has a boorish cousin named Baron Ochs who has a fiancée name Sophie, the daughter of a rich bourgeois. When Octavian presents Sophie with a silver rose as a token of Ochs’ love, the young people fall in love.
About the Feb. 27 program
Chase will open the Feb. 27 program with Bela Bartok’s “Sonata for Solo Violin.” Bartok’s solo sonata was commissioned by English violinist Yehuda Menuhin and premiered in 1944, one year before Bartok’s death. The work is in four movements and is considered one of the greatest challenges for violinists to perform.
In the second half of the concert, Vodnoy will join Chase for a performance of “Sonata for Two Violins in F Major” by Franz Joseph Haydn. The program will conclude with the “Concerto for Four Violins in B Minor” by Antonio Vivaldi, with soloists Chase, Vodnoy, Kira Makeever and Lindsey Fluharty. The soloists will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra of strings and piano from the AUCS.
Tickets for the orchestra concert are $13 for adults and $11 for seniors. The box office opens at 5:45 p.m. March 1.
Tickets for the chamber music concert are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors. The box office opens at 6:45 p.m. Feb. 27.
Students are admitted free to both concerts. Tickets for both concerts may be purchased in advance at Engel Music in downtown Aberdeen.
Photos: Chase (top) and the Aberdeen University/Civic Symphony (below).