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Release: March 10, 2000

Pianist Uriel Tsachor to be joined by father, son for UI faculty-guest recital

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Uriel Tsachor, a member of the piano faculty at the University of Iowa School of Music, will present a faculty/guest recital with cellist Uri Vardi and clarinetist Amitai Vardi at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 22 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The performance will be free and open to the public.

The program will comprise three works: 12 Variations in F major on a Theme from Mozart's "Magic Flute" for cello and piano by Beethoven; Felix Mendelssohn's Sonata No. 2 in D major for cello and piano; and the Trio in A minor for clarinet, cello and piano by Johannes Brahms.

The performance will be dedicated to the memory of Gyorgy Sebok, an internationally known pianist who died in 1999. A member of the music faculty at Indiana University, Sebok performed at the UI on the Piano Festival in February, 1999.

"Gyorgy Sebok was a great musician, pianist, teacher and human being," Tsachor said. "He influenced the lives of numerous musicians around the world."

Uri and Amitai Vardi, who are father and son, both studied at the Indiana University School of Music. Uri Vardi has twice been to the UI in the past: in October 1995 he presented a free guest recital and a master class for cello students, and in April 1998 he returned to play another recital with Tsachor. This will be Amitai Vardi's first performance at the UI.

Beethoven wrote two sets of variations for cello and piano based on themes from Mozart's "Magic Flute." The first was the 12 Variation in F major, written in 1796 -- four years after Beethoven settled in Vienna and only five years after "The Magic Flute" was first performed. A second set in E-flat major, based on a second theme from "The Magic Flute," was composed a few years later. The 12 Variations in F major were published in 1798, at a time when Beethoven was first becoming well known in Vienna.

As a child prodigy growing up in the early years of the Romantic period, Mendelssohn received a thorough musical education. From that training, he was very conscious of the Classical heritage in music, represented by the works of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. It is not surprising, therefore, that he wrote works in all the standard genres of the Classical style -- symphonies and overtures for orchestra, concertos, string quartets, sonatas and so forth. Among the works adhering to the Classical tradition are two sonatas for cello and piano, composed at the height of Mendelssohn's career, in 1838 and 1845.

In 1891 Brahms met the clarinetist Richard Muehlfeld, whose performances of music by Mozart and Carl Maria von Weber made a deep impression on him. During the summer he wrote the Clarinet Trio and the Quintet for clarinet and strings for Muehlfeld. Together with two sonatas for clarinet and piano that he wrote for Muehlfeld in 1894, these were the last pieces of chamber music Brahms composed.

The Quintet is performed frequently, in part because it calls for a standard ensemble -- the string quartet -- plus a guest performer for the clarinet part. The Trio, however, does not conform to any standing groups, and consequently opportunities occur much less often to hear it performed in live concerts. The Trio consists of four movements: a moderate first movement, a serene and beautiful slow movement, a waltz-like intermezzo movement, and a driven, strenuous finale. Brahms takes full advantage of the contrasting sounds of the three instruments, which are treated as equal and independent partners.

Although born in Hungary, Uri Vardi grew up on a kibbutz in Israel. He studied cello at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, and later with the master teachers Janos Starker at Indiana University and Aldo Parisot at Yale University. He has served as principal cellist of the Israel Sinfonietta and the Israel Chamber Orchestra, and played as soloist with both orchestras.

Vardi has also recorded and toured Israel and Italy with the Sol-La-Re String Quartet, founded a chamber music series in Tel Aviv and taught for many years at the Israel Conservatory and the Jerusalem Music Center. He joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin in 1990. He has given cello and chamber music master classes at Indiana University, the New England Conservatory, Yale and the Eastman School of Music, and at summer festivals around the world. His students have been successful as soloists, chamber musicians and members of major ensembles including the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York and the Israel Philharmonic.

Amitai Vardi received a bachelor's degree in clarinet performance from Indiana University. Among other honors, he won the Steenbock Young Artist Competition and appeared as soloist with the Madison (Wis.) Symphony. He participated in the Sarasota Music Festival and the Bowdoin Summer Festival and taught clarinet at the Curso Festival Union de las Artes in Venezuela. He is the founder of "Klezmer Kats," the only klezmer band in Bloomington, Ind.

Uriel Tsachor joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in the fall of 1988. A Steinway artist, Tsachor was the first prize-winner of the Bosendorfer Empire International Competition in 1986, the second prize-winner of the Busoni Competition in 1985 and a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in 1983, he is a graduate of the Rubin Academy in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and the Juilliard School in New York. He has performed as a soloist in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, New York, Chicago, Vienna, Paris, and other cities around the world.

Tsachor has performed with the Israel Philharmonic by invitation from Zubin Mehta. He has also appeared as soloist with the New York City Symphony, the Teatro La Fenice Symphony in Venice and the National Orchestra of Belgium, among others. He has performed both live and in recordings for radio and television stations in Israel, Europe and the United States, and he has made recordings for the EMI, Musical Heritage Society, PHONIC, DIVOX, Olympia and EMS labels. In November 1999, the Paris-based label CALLIOPE released a two-CD set of the complete violin and piano sonatas and arrangements by Brahms, featuring Tsachor and violinist Andrew Hardy.

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/.