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Release: Oct. 8, 1999

University Symphony, violist Christine Rutledge will play UI concert Oct. 20

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Violist Christine Rutledge, who joined the faculty of the University of Iowa School of Music last year, will be the soloist with the University Symphony and conductor William LaRue Jones for a concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.

The concert, which is the second in the symphony's 1999-2000 series of concerts on the UI campus, will be free and open to the public.

Rutledge will be featured with the orchestra in two works: Paul Hindemith's "Trauermusik" (Music of mourning) and Max Bruch's Romance for viola and orchestra, op. 85. Jones and the orchestra will conclude the concert with Brahms' Symphony No. 1 in C minor.

All three composers on the program come from the German musical tradition. Brahms, whose professional life extended through the second half of the 19th century, was seen as continuing the tradition of Beethoven into the Romantic era. Max Bruch was a few years younger than Brahms and lived into the first decades of the 20th century, composing in a conservative, tuneful style that remained untouched by the avant-garde developments of the period. And carrying the German tradition into the 20th century, Hindemith was one of the most prominent and influential composers between the world wars.

The Romance for viola and orchestra, composed in 1911, was Bruch's last orchestral work. A single movement of moderate tempo and gentle, lyrical expression, it clearly shows Bruch's unswerving loyalty to the Romantic style of the late 19th century.

A violist as well as a composer, Hindemith wrote no fewer than three concertos for viola and orchestra. In 1936 he traveled to London to give the first performance of the third of these concertos. When King George V died during the trip, Hindemith was asked to write something to play in the place of the concerto, which was based on a series of cheerful German folk songs. He completed the score and learned the viola part in a single day. He closed the score with a chorale tune which he knew as "Vor deinen Thron tret' ich hiermit" (I step before thy throne), which he was surprised to discover was known to his English audience as "Old Hundredth."

When he was only 20 years old, Brahms was singled out in an article by Robert Schumann -- then one of the leading figures in German musical life -- as the heir to Beethoven's legacy. For the rest of his life, Brahms felt an obligation to live up to this expectation. In some ways, this suited Brahms' own conservative personality, but in some ways it was a burden that may have further inhibited his naturally cautious personality.

Because the symphony was considered the greatest element of Beethoven's legacy, Brahms was especially careful about his first work in that genre. His very first orchestral piece, written in the years after Schumann's article appeared, went through several versions, first as a symphony, then a sonata for two pianos. Brahms was not completely satisfied with either version, and eventually he avoided comparison to Beethoven by completing the piece as his First Piano Concerto.

In fact, it was not until 1876, when he was 43 years old, that Brahms finally completed his First Symphony, after 20 years of sporadic work. A large-scale work in four movements, it clearly was intended to be a major work worthy of Beethoven's legacy. The symphony was hailed as a success, confirming Brahms' place in the lineage of German composers. Finally relieved of the pressure to produce a worthy successor to Beethoven's masterpieces, Brahms was able to complete three more symphonies, and several other orchestral works, over the next 11 years.

Rutledge joined the UI faculty in 1998. She had previously been a faculty member at Notre Dame University, where she also played with the Notre Dame String Trio. She is a graduate of the UI School of Music, where she studied with William Preucil.

She has appeared as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout the United States and abroad. She performs 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 Strad, Fanfare and other music publications. She gave solo performances 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 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.

A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997 as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies. Prior to joining the UI faculty, Jones was the founding music director/administrator of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.

Jones is a highly honored musician, having received the Twin Cities Mayors' Public Art Award, the American String Teachers Association Exceptional Leadership and Merit Award and the David W. Preuss Leadership Award. He has also been selected Musician of the Year by Sigma Alpha Iota, a music honorary society.

Jones is conductor of the Bloomington (Minn.) Symphony and has appeared as a guest conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Sinfonie Orchester AML-Luzern (Switzerland) and other orchestras around the world. He has conducted all-state and festival orchestras in 46 states and five Canadian provinces. He has been conductor-in-residence at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the University of Miami.

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/.