ABERDEEN, S.D. – When Stephanie Chase
visits this month, she will be the fourth acclaimed string player to perform with the Aberdeen University/Civic Symphony since 2010.
Chase, an internationally renowned violinist, will perform at the AUCS winter concert on March 1 and in a chamber music concert on Feb. 27.
She follows Gregory Maytan, who visited in 2010, and Rachel Barton Pine, who visited in 2012. Both, like Chase, are internationally renowned violinists. In 2013, celebrated cellist Wes Baldwin performed with the AUCS.
It’s a tradition that Dr. Robert Vodnoy
, orchestra conductor, hopes to continue, with the help of the Friends of the Aberdeen University/Civic Symphony. The work of this volunteer board is what makes visits by guest artists possible.
“Bringing in these musicians is a way to enrich the strings curriculum and build the orchestra program and its presence in the community,” said Vodnoy, NSU director of orchestra and professor of strings and history.
Each musician who visits not only performs with the orchestra, but also teaches local music students. Chase, for example, will hold a master class with college violinists on Wednesday at NSU. She will also visit Aberdeen Central High School on Friday, where she will perform with the CHS orchestra and put on another master class. The CHS Music Boosters is helping to support Chase’s residency.
This is not Chase’s first performance with Vodnoy. They performed Samuel Barber’s “Violin Concerto” together with the Northwest Indiana Symphony in 1992 in Orchestra Hall in Chicago, Ill. Chase plays a 1742 Petrus Guarnerius violin, which is noted for its power and beautiful tonal qualities.
“Performing with Stephanie on the stage of one of the great concert halls of the world was thrilling,” Vodnoy said, “and I am looking forward to performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with her. Stephanie’s glowing tone and profound musicianship will bring out the glories of this rich, romantic concerto.”
‘One of the violin greats of our era’
Internationally recognized as “one of the violin greats of our era” by Newhouse Newspapers, Chase 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), "matchless technique" (BBC Music Magazine), and “virtuosity galore” (Gramophone). Chase is a top medalist of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and is a recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant.
First violin teachers for Chase - who was born in Illinois - were her mother and her father, Bruce Chase, who was a noted music arranger and composer as well as a violinist. At age 2 she was already performing in public, and she made her debut 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. Shortly thereafter, she became a pupil of the Belgian violinist Arthur Grumiaux.
Chase is a professor of violin at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. She gives master classes at music conservatories throughout the United States, including The Juilliard School, the Shepherd School at Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin, Oberlin Conservatory and the San Francisco Conservatory.
Equally at home in the virtuoso's repertoire, historically informed performance practice and contemporary music, Chase offers a diverse repertoire of more than 60 concertos and large works for violin and orchestra and has collaborated with conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin, Herbert Blomstedt, Marin Alsop, Enrique Diemecke, Hugh Wolff and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.
March 1 Concert
The AUCS winter concert, “Musical Adventures,” begins at 7:30 p.m. March 1 in the Johnson Fine Arts Center theater. It will feature three romantic masterpieces. The program will open with the “Overture to Struensee” by Giacomo Meyerbeer and also includes Richard Strauss’s “Waltzes from Der Rosenkavalier.”
Chase will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor” with the orchestra. 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. Also on March 1, there will be a pre-concert conversation with the artist beginning at 6 p.m. in Berggren Recital Hall.
Feb. 27 Concert
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. Chase will open this program with Bela Bartok’s “Sonata for Solo Violin.” 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 four soloists will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra of strings and piano from the AUCS. The concerts are sponsored by Dacotah Bank. The AUCS also receives a grant from the South Dakota Arts Council.
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 Vodnoy.