Some of the most gorgeous works in the canon of classical music for stringed instruments have been composed expressly for the viola, but how often do you have a chance to hear them in a live recital?
Mark 11:30 a.m. Tuesday (Feb. 7) on your calendar when internationally acclaimed violist Hong
Mei Xiao and pianist Rex Woods, both University of Arizona faculty artists, will appear at the Arizona Senior Academy to perform works by Robert Schumann, Arthur Bliss, and George Enescu.
This is Xiao’s second appearance on the ASA stage with Woods, who is a professor in the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music who has made numerous appearances at the ASA and is well known regionally as a soloist and chamber musician.
Opening the program is Schumann’s lyrical “Marchenbilder” (“Fairytale Pictures”), four short character sketches depicting fantastical scenes and events that are alternately reflective, playful, and wistful.
Arthur Bliss, an English composer, wrote the virtuosic “Sonata for Viola and Piano,” which Xiao describes as “technically challenging and very fast, with high registers.”
“Concertstuck” (Concert Piece), written in 1906 by the Romanian composer George Enescu, is another tour de force and not just for the viola. A child musical prodigy and a virtuoso of stringed instruments and piano, Enescu wrote the piece giving equal importance to both viola and piano.
A prolific recording artist, Xiao received the Critic’s Choice Award from the American Record Guide for her CD with the Budapest Symphony of the works of Ernest Bloch for viola and orchestra. A new CD featuring the viola music of English composers will be released later this year.
Woods has performed in the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, China, and Australia, but is best known to regional audiences for his frequent performances as both a soloist and chamber musician.
Written by Caroline Bates, Academy Village volunteer