University of Iowa News Release
Sept. 26, 2003
Memorial Concert for La Fosse To Feature UI Faculty, Alumni
The University of Iowa School of Music will join with friends, colleagues and former students of Leopold La Fosse to present a memorial concert for the late violinist and School of Music professor, at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
La Fosse died earlier this year after more than 30 years on the School of Music faculty.
An exceptionally versatile performer, La Fosse was active as a virtuoso solo violinist, as a chamber musician, as a historically informed performer of Baroque repertoire, and as a jazz player. All four areas of his artistry will be represented on the concert, which will include solo performances, chamber music, a performance by the La Fosse Baroque Ensemble, which he founded, and a performance by the La Fosse Jazz Quartet, a successor to his own jazz groups.
Many current members of the UI faculty will perform as soloists on the program: Benjamin Coelho, bassoon; Rene Lecuona, piano; Katherine Eberle, mezzo-soprano; Volkan Orhon, double bass; Delbert Disselhorst, organ; and Dan Moore, marimba. The Maia String Quartet -- violinists Amy Appold and Margaret Soper Gutierrez; violist Elizabeth Oakes, and cellist Hannah Holman, who are all members of the faculty -- will perform, and former School of Music faculty member John Van Cura will return to Iowa City to take part in the concert.
Professional colleagues who have performed with a Fosse will also participate, including cellist Terry King from Massachusetts and jazz pianist Dan Knight from Iowa City.
Among the former students taking part in the concert are many who are professional violinists and university faculty members around the country, and at least one former student will return from overseas to participate.
Among the highlights of the program, the Maia Quartet will play a movement of Mendelssohn's Quartet in D major; the La Fosse Baroque Ensemble will play J.S. Bach's Concerto for Two Violins, featuring different alumni soloists in each of the three movements; and the La Fosse Jazz Quartet will close the concert with Dan Knight's "For Maria," played in honor of La Fosse's wife, from a Jazz Suite dedicated to La Fosse.
Members of the La Fosse family said in a statement, "This memorial concert, to celebrate Leopold's life and work, is the most beautiful tribute he could receive. All the performers are his former students, colleagues and dear friends. Leopold touched their lives and inspired them with the passion and dedication he had for his profession."
La Fosse was born in 1928 in Springfield, Mass., the son of Leonidas E. and Anna La Fosse. He grew up in Boston and New York. His was a musical family: his father and paternal grandfather were violinists, his mother was a concert pianist and her father was a concert organist. He began studying violin at the age of three and made his first public appearance at the age of four. At eight he began a three-year series of engagements on NBC radio. He later studied at the New England Conservatory and received private study from violin masters in New York and Boston. He married Maria Amelia Martins on January 1, 1983, at the Wesley House Chapel in Iowa City.
A virtuoso of highest rank, Leopold gained international recognition for his solo appearances in recital and with symphony orchestras. He served as the concertmaster of five symphony orchestras: San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Aspen Music Festival and the National Symphony of Peru. He had also been active in a number of chamber music groups, including his own string quartet. Prior to his appointment at the UI in 1972, he was on the violin faculty of the University of Texas at Austin.
After coming to Iowa City, La Fosse maintained an active international career as soloist and chamber musician, with tours in the United States, Europe, South America and Russia. He has had performances at Wigmore Hall in London, Sala Cecilia Mireles in Rio de Janeiro, Town Hall in New York, and the National Gallery, Phillips Gallery and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
At the UI he taught violin and directed a group of students devoted to the historically informed performance of Baroque and early Classic music, the La Fosse Baroque Ensemble. He continued his own study of Baroque performance styles throughout his life , going to Vienna in the 1990s to study with renowned Baroque violinist Eduard Melkus, and he also did extensive research in string pedagogy.
He twice traveled to Brazil as a Fulbright lecturer and returned to that country many times to perform, teach and give master classes. These visits established a connection between the UI School of Music and Brazil that represents one of his many legacies in the musical world. This connection continues today through the work of his faculty colleagues, the presence today of many UI alumni in the major musical institutions of Brazil and the large number of Brazilian students in the UI School of Music.
One of the most memorable events in La Fosse's career came in 1997, when he celebrated his 25th anniversary on the UI faculty with a series of four recitals displaying his versatility, appearing as a virtuoso soloist, a chamber musician, a Baroque performance specialist and a jazz violinist.
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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