Faculty, friends collaborate in Spring Arts Festival concert, March 8  

Edward Markward

Barbara Kolb
RIC music faculty members and friends will perform in “A Concert for Young and Old” on Thursday, March 8, at 8 p.m. in the Auditorium in Roberts Hall.

The event, a part of RIC’s Spring Arts Festival, will feature the Faculty Woodwind Quintet and Proteus String Quartet.

Edward Markward, RIC professor and leader of the RIC Symphony Orchestra, is coordinator of the event.

The Faculty Woodwind Quintet will perform the world premiere of internationally known composer Barbara Kolb’s “Once Upon a Clarinet,” featuring RIC faculty member Ian Greitzer as clarinet soloist and guest artist Diana McVey, an internationally acclaimed soprano, as speaker and soprano.

Kolb, a RIC adjunct faculty member, was the first American woman composer to win the Prix de Rome. Her compositions include “All in Good Time” (1993), commissioned for the 150th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic, and “Voyants” (1991), a concerto for piano and chamber orchestra dedicated to the memory of composer Aaron Copland.

Mary Ellen Kregler

Diana McVey
“Once Upon a Clarinet,” a poem written by Robert Gresh in 1964, personifies the instruments of the woodwind quintet involved in the creation and theft of a melody. The soloist, Ian Greitzer (clarinet) acting as the protagonist, passes the melody from one instrument to the next during which time it is stolen. The story line continues with the clarinet in pursuit.

The poem is narrated by Diana McVey, who contributes her own interpretation of the antics of the quintet.

“Ultimately, this work should appeal to both children and adults alike while providing an introduction to the personalities of the woodwind quintet,” Kolb said.

The other members of the quintet are Mary Ellen Kregler, flute; Denise Plaza Martin, oboe; Susan Wood, bassoon and RIC music major David Monte, French horn.

Two works on the program, David Balkrishnan’s “Spider Dreams” and Astor Piazzola’s “Four Tango,” will be performed by the Proteus String Quartet.

Proteus String Quartet
Proteus is comprised of RIC faculty members John Sumerlin and Samuel Breene on violin, Susan Culpo on viola and Steven Laven on cello.

“These two works are as exciting and crowd pleasing as any you will find,” Markward said.

Completing the program will be the suite from Aaron Copland’s seminal ballet “Appalachian Spring,” originally known as “Ballet for Martha.” Commissioned by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, this ballet won the Music Critics Circle Award, and the orchestral suite garnered a Pulitzer Prize.

It was not until Copland’s 70th birthday that he revived the original 13-instrument version of “Appalachian Spring.” This version will be performed at RIC, with Markward conducting.

Joining the other performers for the finale will be RIC students Alysa Berbey and Ruta Nikitska on violin, Jessica Dunn on viola, RIC faculty member Eliot Porter on contrabass and guests Laura Cetilia on cello and Michael Kregler on piano.

This concert is made possible by a grant from the RIC Performing and Fine Arts Commission.

General admission is $10; seniors and non-RIC students, $5; RIC students, faculty and staff, free. For further information, visit www.ric.edu/pfa.

The RIC Spring Arts Festival will also include events featuring the RIC Wind Ensemble (March 2), the RIC Symphony Orchestra (March 5) and the RIC Choral Groups (March 9).