CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Sept. 13, 2001
Amos Yang, cellist of Maia String Quartet, will play
solo recital Sept. 23
The versatile cellist Amos Yang, who has performed on
the University of Iowa campus just within the past year as a member of the
Maia String Quartet, in chamber music with other faculty colleagues, as a
concerto soloist with orchestra and as a solo recitalist, will play music
for solo cello at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI
Yang's UI faculty recital will be free and open to the
Yang will play three works: the Solo Sonata of Hungarian
composer Gyorgy Ligeti; the Suite No. 1 in G major for solo cello by J.S.
Bach; and "Seven Tunes Heard in China," composed in 1995 by Chinese-American
composer Bright Sheng.
"I had the chance to work with Bright Sheng this summer,"
Yang said. "He is composer in residence at the University of Michigan and
is a BRILLIANT composer. Yo-Yo Ma just released the first recording of this
work this past year.
"The music is from various provinces of China and even
one from Taiwan. There is the 'Drunken Fisherman,' a Tibetan Dance theme,
the 'Little Cabbage' and others. It's the first piece I've ever been instructed
to use either a credit card or a guitar pick for!"
One of the first students accepted by the Shanghai Conservatory
of Music, Sheng later moved to New York, where he attended Queens College,
CUNY, and Columbia University. His music has been performed to great critical
response by major ensembles and soloists around the world, including the Los
Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Shanghai Symphony, Lincoln
Center Chamber Music Society, Leonard Bernstein, Peter Serkin, Yo-Yo Ma and
Emanuel Ax, among others.
"Bright Sheng's astonishingly vibrant 'Seven Tunes Heard
in China' appropriates Quinhai folk tunes with a restless energy," Catherine
Nelson wrote in the BBC Music Magazine, and New York Times critic Paul Griffiths
commented, "We seemed to be hearing traces of ancient tunes being sung, hummed,
whistled and played right across the Eurasian land mass."
Bach's s six suites for solo cello, composed around 1720,
are the earliest works to earn a permanent place in the virtuoso cello repertoire.
They were written while Bach was music director at the court of Prince Leopold
of Coethen. A number of Bach's greatest instrumental works were written about
the same time, including the sonatas and partitas for solo violin and the
In Bach's time there was already a long tradition of unaccompanied
pieces for stringed instruments, but Bach far surpassed his predecessors.
His works not only show an intimate understanding of the performance techniques
and possibilities of each instrument, but they also maintain
a high level of musical interest, while covering a wide range of rhythmic
styles and expressive possibilities -- qualities that have made the solo suites
an essential part of any cellist's education.
One of the world's best known living composers, Gyorgy
Ligeti is widely acknowledged as a musical pioneer of the late 20th century.
His varied output, which he began in pre-communist Hungary and continued in
western Europe after the Hungarian communist revolution, represents an individual,
personal style based on texture and sound density. His music, emotionally
intense at times and full of vivacity, humor and irony at others, has become
one of the major influences in contemporary music. He came to wide public
attention when his music was used in the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick's film
"2001: A Space Odyssey."
Ligeti was born in 1923 in Transylvania, a Hungarian territory
that became part of Romania at the end of World War I. A Jewish, Hungarian
family in Nazi Hungary, Ligeti's family was imprisoned in a labor camp in
1942; only he survived. After the war he was able to resume studies in Budapest,
and he began teaching at the Liszt Academy in 1950.
The Russian invasion put a final end to his difficult
life in Hungary; he fled to Vienna in 1956, and was immediately embraced by
important figures in the avant-garde. He was invited to join the West German
Radio electronic music studio in Cologne, and the three years he spent working
in the studio were decisive influences on his music. Ligeti gained Austrian
citizenship in 1967, and since 1973 has taught at the Hamburg Music Academy.
Among many other major awards, he received the 1986 Grawemeyer Prize.
The newest member of the Maia Quartet, Yang joined the
group in 1996 after playing with the Deutsche Kammerakademie (German Academy
of Chamber Music) in Dusseldorf and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He
has won first prize in the Grace Vamos Cello Competition and the American
String Teacher's Association Cello Competition and was a finalist in the Pierre
Fournier Cello Competition. He has performed a wide range of concertos and
played chamber music with the Ying Quartet, pianist Ann Schein and violinists
Perrin Yang and Earl Carlyss.
Yang holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the Juilliard
School. He also studied at the Eastman School of Music and in London, England,
under a grant from the Beebe Foundation. He attended the Tanglewood Music
Festival, where he received the CD Jackson Award for outstanding contribution
to the festival in 1994.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing
Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
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