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Violist Christine Rutledge will perform English music at free recital Dec. 3

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Violist Christine Rutledge, a new member of the faculty of the University of Iowa School of Music, will perform a recital of English music, with works from the 18th through 20th centuries, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

A graduate of the UI School of Music, Rutledge was a student of William Preucil, whose former position on the UI faculty she now fills.

Performing with Rutledge will be pianist Darlene Lawrence, also from the School of Music faculty. Their UI faculty recital will be free and open to the public.

The program will include the Sonata in C major for viola and keyboard of the 18th-century composer William Flackton, the earliest sonata for viola by an English composer.

Rutledge will also play three works by major English composers of the 20th century: Two Pieces for viola and piano by Frank Bridge, the Sonata for viola and piano by Sir Arthur Bliss and "Lacrymae" by Benjamin Britten.

Relatively little known to American audiences, the Bridge and Bliss works are part of a project Rutledge has recently undertaken to record early 20th-century English music for viola and piano.

Rutledge, who has been teaching at Notre Dame and playing in the Notre Dame String Trio, considers both the CD project and the move to the UI as constituting a shift in her career, from a focus on chamber music to a greater concentration on solo performance.

"By coming to Iowa I saw a wonderful opportunity to at last bring to fruition my ideas and goals as a soloist," she said. "One of these goals was the solo CD project, recording important works that I felt needed to be recorded, due to both the general lack of recorded solo viola repertoire, and the lack of CD recordings of the Bridge and Bliss works specifically.

"The early 20th-century works were written at a time when the viola began to take on a more significant role as a solo instrument, due largely to the work of these English composers. Their works showed other composers that there could be such a thing as a 'solo violist.'"

Rutledge also sees both the CD project and her solo recital as a vital part of her work as a teacher. "It is of the utmost importance that viola students, and particularly my students at the UI, become familiar with the repertoire and have a recording available to them for reference. A solo recital and a recording by their professor is an important way for my students to experience what it is I am trying to teach them, letting them hear how I do it, just as students in other fields refer to their professors' books and articles."

Rutledge joined the UI faculty at the beginning of the fall semester. She has appeared as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout the United States and abroad, including performances as a member of the Fontana Chamber Music Festival ensemble. Her performances and recordings with the Notre Dame String Trio have earned glowing reviews from "The Strad," "Fanfare" and other music publications.

Her solo performances have included those before her professional peers at the 23rd International Viola Congress in Bloomington, Ind., and the 24th Congress in Marchneukirchen, Germany. She has performed the standard viola repertoire, her own transcriptions of Baroque works, several lesser known works for viola and new works that were written specifically for her.

Rutledge is the former assistant principal viola of the Louisville Orchestra and violist of the Ceruti Chamber Players and the Kentucky Center Chamber Players, with whom she continues to perform as a guest artist. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where she studied with the distinguished viola teachers Karen Tuttle and Michael Tree, and the Interlochen Arts Academy, where she was valedictorian of her class and recipient of the Young Artist Award.

She is also a prize winner in the Aspen Festival Viola Competition, and the recipient of an Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist's Fellowship, an Eli Lilly Foundation grant for undergraduate teaching development and awards from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at Notre Dame.

Lawrence received her doctorate from the University of Southern California. She has accompanied many prominent California artists and has toured under the management of Sol Hurok. She has served as accompanist for the Oregon Bach Festival with noted conductor Helmuth Rilling and was selected to accompany the 1,000-voice choir for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In addition to her work as an accompanist, Lawrence is a published composer/arranger, and she has worked as a studio singer in film, television and the recording industry. Since 1989 she has been on the faculty of the UI School of Music, where she teaches song literature and is coach/accompanist in the voice and opera areas.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.

11/20/98