Hong MeiViolist Hong-Mei Xiao and pianist Tannis Gibson make a welcome return to the stage at Academy Village for a lunchtime concert at 11:30 a.m. Friday. (Feb. 1)

Their program will include Robert Schumann’s Sonata No. 1 in A minor for Violin and Piano, Opus 105. Written for the violin in a low register, Xiao, in a recent telephone interview, described this “deep work as a perfect piece for the viola.”

They will also play selections from Romeo and Juliet by Sergei Prokofiev. Originally an orchestral piece, it was transcribed for the viola with the permission of the composer.

The final piece is the Sonata for Viola and Piano by Sir Arthur Bliss. Xiao characterized this work as “technically challenging, profound, full of color and contrasts, but not often performed.” She said she enjoys introducing it to audiences, who may not be familiar with it.

Xiao is a first-prize winner of the Geneva International Music Competition and winner of the coveted Patek Philippe Grand Prize. She has toured throughout Europe, North America and the Far East to critical acclaim, and her performances and interviews have been broadcast on television and radio in Europe, Asia and North America.

A sought-after chamber music performer, she has collaborated with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Joseph Silverstein and Cho-Liang Lin.

Xiao is the featured soloist for the recording by Naxos of the newly revised versions of the Bartok Viola Concerto. She will also be featured in future Naxos releases of works by Ernest Block and 18th Century viola concertos.

Born in China, she graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory. She completed her musical training in the United States with violist John Graham and received her Master of Music degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  Xiao now lives in Tucson and is currently on the faculty at the University of Arizona School of Music.

Pianist, Tannis Gibson has performed throughout North America, Europe, South America and Asia. She has collaborated with many fine artists, as well as ensembles such as the Shanghai, Muir, American, Lark, Audubon and Calder String Quartets. Her performances have been described as “luminous” (“The Boston Globe”) and “thoroughly captivating” (“The Washington Post.”)

She has been featured in live performance on WGBH Boston and WQXR New York and has been heard often on NPR’s “Performance Today.” She has recorded for CRI, ASV (London), JRI, The Classics Label and Summit Records.

Gibson holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Regina in Canada and a Masters of Music from the Juilliard School.

She resides in Tucson and is on the faculty at the University of Arizona. She also holds the position of distinguished visiting artist at Asuza Pacific University in Los Angeles.

Submitted by Glenda Tonkin, Academy Village Volunteer


Chamber Stars on Viola and Piano: Feb. 2013
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