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Release: Jan. 26, 2001

(NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Uriel Tsachor is pronounced "OO-ree-ehl tsah-KHOR.")

Soprano Rachel Joselson will perform late 19th-century songs on UI faculty recital Feb. 10

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Soprano Rachel Joselson and pianist Uriel Tsachor will perform German songs from the late 19th-century on a University of Iowa School of Music faculty recital, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Their performance will be free and open to the public.

The program will include songs by two gifted women whose careers were limited by the 19th-century prejudice against female composers -- Clara Wieck Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel -- as well as songs by Hans Pfitzner, whose works are frequently performed in Germany, although they are rarely heard elsewhere. The second half of the program will be devoted to songs by Brahms.

The daughter of an extraordinary piano teacher, Clara Wieck showed remarkable abilities as a pianist while still a child. She gave her first full recital at 11, and toured Europe by the time she was 12. Receiving a complete musical education, she was widely acclaimed for her artistry and earned the admiration of Goethe, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Paganini and Liszt.

Her love for Robert Schumann eventually led to a break with her father, who opposed their marriage. Clara and Robert eventually had to go to court to get permission to marry, when Clara was 21. Married life interfered with Clara’s musical activities, as she managed her husband’s career and raised children. Nevertheless, she continued to perform throughout her life, and after her husband’s death in 1856 she supported her family through performances and teaching.

Clara Schumann considered composition secondary to her performance career, but she wrote a wide variety of works of high quality. Among these are more than 20 songs, a few of which were originally included in published works attributed to her husband.

Like her older brother, Fanny Mendelssohn was a musical prodigy. Trained in both piano and composition, she is said to have been able to play Bach’s entire "Well-Tempered Klavier" from memory by the time she was 13. In spite of her great talent, the conventions of the time and the prejudice of her family would not allow her to pursue a professional life in music.

At the age of 24 she married the painter Wilhelm Hensel. Later she organized Sunday concerts in Berlin, and she occasionally appeared publicly as a pianist, but these were the extent of her public life in music. She wrote a number of songs, several of which were published under her brother’s name. A few other works were published under her own name, but most were never printed. Her death in 1847, at the age of 41, was devastating to her brother, who was devoted to her. His health quickly declined, leading to his own death only six months later.

A member of a prominent musical family, Hans Pfitzner had the misfortune to live during the most troubled period of German history. An excellent pianist as well as a composer, he was a distinguished composer, conductor and teacher from the 1890s through the 1930s. He lived through World War II in Germany and, even though he detested the Nazi regime, had to face the Denazification Court after the war. He was exonerated in 1948 and died in obscurity a year later at the age of 80.

The composer of symphonies, concertos, chamber music and operas, all in a conservative Romantic style, Pfitzner is known mostly for his opera "Palestrina" of 1917. This work is based on the attractive legend that the composer Palestrina "saved" church music during the 16th-century Council of Trent, which considered banning all contrapuntal music from church services. "Palestrina" is still produced by opera theaters in Germany, and his songs are favored by German singers and audiences.

Before joining the School of Music faculty in the fall of 1997, Joselson spent 13 years in Europe performing in opera and concert with theaters and orchestras in Darmstadt, Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn, Basel, Barcelona, Bilbao, Braunschweig, Brussels, Kiel, St. Gallen, Trier and other cities in Germany, Switzerland and Spain. In this country she has appeared in Atlanta, Indianapolis, Madison, Johnson City, Tenn., and New Brunswick, N.J.

In the 1995-96 season she had her first engagement at the Metropolitan Opera, and was engaged by London’s Covent Garden for their 1992 Japan tour with Mozart’s "Don Giovanni."

She has performed many of the major soprano roles in the repertoire, including Leonore in Beethoven’s "Fidelio," in her most recent debut at the 1999 Gars, Austria, Summer Festival; Mimi in Puccini’s "La Boheme," Micaela in Bizet’s "Carmen," Donna Elvira in Mozart’s "Don Giovanni," Tosca and Eva in Wagner’s "Meistersingers of Nuremberg," among others. She was featured in the 1998 recording of Gian Carlo Menotti’s "Help! Help! The Globolinks!"

Uriel Tsachor joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in the fall of 1988. A Steinway artist, Tsachor was a winner of the Bosendorfer Empire International Competition in 1986 and the Busoni Competition in 1985, and a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in 1983. 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 18 recordings for the EMI, Musical Heritage Society, PHONIC, DIVOX, Olympia and EMS labels.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu>.