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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 13, 2006

Field And Mattax Inaugurate Period Instrument Series Oct. 23

Elizabeth Field and Charlotte Mattax, performing on Baroque violin and harpsichord, respectively, will initiate a new concert series from the University of Iowa School of Music -- the Baroque Concert Series on Period Instruments -- with a free performance at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, in Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 E. College St. in Iowa City.

Field and Mattax will perform together and separately on a program titled "Chaconne a son gout." The title is a pun, combining the French phrase "chacun a son gout" (to each his own) with the musical term "chaconne," which is a form of variations played over an unchanging bass line.

Works on the program will be:

--Sonata in G major, BWV 1019, for violin and keyboard by J.S. Bach.

--The Chaconne from the "Prelude non mesure" (Unmeasured prelude) for harpsichord by Louis Couperin.

--The Chaconne from the Partita in D minor for unaccompanied violin, BWV 1004, by J.S. Bach.

--Sonata No. IV for violin and continuo by Jean-Marie Leclair.

--"La de Caze" for harpsichord by Claude Balbastre.

--The Chacony in G minor for string ensemble by Henry Purcell.

The three concerts in the Baroque Concert Series on Period Instruments were organized by Lisa Merrill and will be presented in memory of the late Leopold La Fosse. A long-time member of the School of Music faculty, La Fosse studied and often performed on Baroque violin. He led an ensemble of UI students concerned with Baroque performance practices, the La Fosse ensemble, from the 1970s until his death in 2003.

The concert marks the beginning of a new performance practice program at the UI School of Music, made possible by the donation of an entire ensemble of period instruments -- eight Baroque violins, two Baroque violas, two Baroque cellos and 15 Baroque and transitional bows -- to the UI School of Music. The instruments from La Fosse's collection were given by the late professor's widow, Maria La Fosse.

"The instruments offer the music students a tremendous hands-on opportunity to learn about performance practice.," Merrill commented. "Very few music schools have access to a full collection of period instruments.

"We are pleased to celebrate the gift and inaugurate the performance practice program with the concert series on period instruments, which represents something new and unique in the Iowa City/University of Iowa music scene."

The final work in the program -- Purcell's Chacony in G minor -- will feature Field, Mattax and Merrill with faculty, students, and members of the Iowa City community performing on instruments from the La Fosse collection. Guests for this piece will include Tascha Keettel, baroque cello, and Oleg Timofeyev, lute.

Future concerts in the Baroque Concert Series on Period Instruments will be Nov. 2 and Jan. 18, 2007.

Field enjoys an active career as chamber musician and soloist throughout the United States and Europe, performing on both period and modern instruments.

She holds a doctorate from Cornell University in historical performance practice and from 1993-98 was professor of violin and first violin of the Sun Quartet at California State University, Sacramento, as well as first violin of the acclaimed period-instrument Van Swieten Quartet. She performs regularly with her chamber groups ArcoVoce and the Eisenstadt Trio, and as a frequent guest artist with the 4 Nations Ensemble. Her newly formed group, the Vivaldi Project, will debut on Nov. 28 in Washington, D.C.

From 1982-1991, Field performed and recorded extensively for Deutsche Grammophon with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She can currently be heard on Hungaraton Records in a world premiere recording of the Quantz flute quartets with Baroque flutist Mary Oleskiewicz, a recording with ArcoVoce of music ranging from Hildegard von Bingen to Shostakovitch, and in several recordings on the Dorian label with Brandywine Baroque.

Mattax holds a bachelor's degree in music from Yale University, a master's degree in harpsichord from the Juilliard School and a doctorate in early music performance practice from Stanford University. She also studied with the well known harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt at the Sweelinck Conservatory in the Netherlands. She first gained critical attention as a top prize-winner in 1980 and 1983 at the international harpsichord competitions of Bruges and Paris. She was honored with a Solo Recitalist Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Woolley Scholarship for study in Paris.

Mattax has been guest artist at the Saratoga Festival, Festival of the Associazione Musicale Romana, Tage alter musik (Early music days) in Regensburg, Germany, the San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Mozart Festival and the Bethlehem (Penn.) Bach Festival, at which she appears regularly. She has performed with New York's Grande Bande as well as San Francisco's American Baroque, and has toured Europe with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Her solo recordings include the toccatas and partitas of J.S. Bach for Koch International Classics and the harpsichord sonatas of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach for Centaur Records. She is chair of the harpsichord/organ division at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Merrill joined the UI faculty as coordinator of the performance practice program in the School of Music in the fall of 2006. She has performed throughout the U.S. as a member of the NW Chamber Orchestra of Seattle, the Santa Fe Opera, New Orleans Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, and the New Mexico Symphony, as concertmaster of Sinfonia Concertante of Portland, Ore., and as a core member of the Third Angle New Music Ensemble of Oregon. For more information, see

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072; cell: 319-541-2846;