Skip to main content
Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI concert to feature new works for piano & strings

Media Contact:

For Further Information: URI Music Department, 401-874-2431

KINGSTON, R.I.—January 17, 2008— The next concert in the University Artist Series at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, slated for Friday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m., will feature chamber works written for piano and strings. The concert will be held in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road, URI's Kingston campus. Admission is $8 for the general public, $2 for students, with seating on a first-come basis. The box office opens 45 minutes before the concert.

For more information, call the URI Music Department at 874-2431.While the program reaches back to sonatas composed by Amy Beach in 1896 and Ruth Crawford in 1926, it also will include new works by Amelia Kaplan and Ketty Nez and premiere two recent pieces by URI faculty member Eliane Aberdam.

The Wolfe/Nez Duo will be featured guest artists, along with cellist Christine Harrington and URI faculty members Ann Danis, violin, and Manabu Takasawa, piano. The Wolfe/Nez Duo will also present a masterclass/workshop for composers and string players at 4 p.m. the same day, in Room E 205 of the URI Music Department in the Fine Arts Center, at 105 Upper College Road in Kingston.

Beach’s Sonata in A minor for Violin and Piano, opus 34, a classic sonata in four movements, proved very popular during her life-time career, and it was performed internationally by many famous performers, including Beach herself (1867-1944), who was a gifted pianist as well as a prolific composer. It will be performed by the Wolfe/Nez Duo (Katherine Wolfe, violin, and Ketty Nez, piano) along with Crawford’s three-movement Sonata for Violin and Piano. Kaplan’s short piece titled Insolence, which explores “gestural sympathy” between the two featured instruments; the Rhode Island premiere of Tête à Tête (trans. “head-to-head”) by Eliane Aberdam, commissioned by the Wolfe/Nez Duo and to be world-premiered by them at Boston University on Jan. 22, and Ketty Nez’s own 2007 work, before [sic], written this past summer as a companion piece to an earlier work called beyond release, will round out the duo’s program.

In addition, the U.S. premiere of Aberdam’s second trio piece, Grisaille Vaporeuse, a work in three movements respectively pensive, lyrical, and joyful, will be performed by Danis, Takasawa and Harrington, who teaches in the Cranston public schools and at Providence College.

Wolfe and Nez formed their duo while both were faculty members at the University of Iowa. They have performed in a variety of venues since then, featuring a mixture of repertoires but generally focusing on contemporary works and new commissions. Both are active teachers and performers who also tour in combination with other musicians.

Wolfe is a founding member of the Matisse Piano Trio, and has recorded for both Centaur and Albany Records. She pursues a challenging career mix as soloist, recording artist, chamber musician, teacher, orchestra leader and adjudicator, and performs internationally. She holds degrees from Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music, and taught and performed in Bolivia on a Fulbright Lecture Award. She performed and taught in New York City, where she toured with groups such as Jupiter Symphony, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, and City Island Baroque Ensemble; performed in Broadway pit orchestras, and taught at the Bloomingdale School of Music and Hofstra University. She came to Iowa after a stint teaching at Oklahoma State University.

Nez joined the composition and theory department at Boston University’s School of Music in 2005, after two years at the University of Iowa. Two of her works were premiered by BU ensembles last year. Upcoming projects include beyond release, a concerto for two cellos and chamber orchestra, as part of a forthcoming CD by the University of Iowa’s Center for New Music; a new work for Ex Novo ensemble of Venice; and collaborations on early 20th-century French music.

Nez holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, the Eastman School of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music, and Bryn Mawr College. She spent several months in residence at the École Nationale de Musique in Montbéliard, France, prior to the premiere of her chamber opera An Opera in Devolution: Drama in 540 Seconds, at the 2003 Seventh Festival A*Devantgarde in Munich. In 2001, she was a visiting composer/scholar at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), and in 1998 participated in the year-long computer music course at the Institute de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM). Before her computer music studies, she worked for two years in Amsterdam, where she co-founded the international contemporary music collective Concerten Tot and Met. Her music has been performed in festivals in Europe, North America, and Asia.

A native of France, composer Eliane Aberdam studied piano and theory at the Conservatoire National de Region in Grenoble and did her undergraduate studies in composition at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Composition from UC Berkeley. In 1995, she was selected by IRCAM for the Annual Course in electronic music, and for the commission of PaRDeS, an electro-acoustic work for chamber ensemble and electronics. In 1998-1999, she taught composition, theory and Music technology at the University of Northern Iowa. She has attended music festivals such as The Bartok Seminar in Hungary, June in Buffalo, the Académie d'Été in Paris, and Voix Nouvelles in Royaumont (France). In 2000, the Ensemble Intercontemporain (Paris) commissioned and premiered the chamber orchestra piece Quoi? Ce point (after Primo Levi’s book Periodic Table). She has recently completed an opera (libretto by Maurya Simon) premiered in March 2007). She has been teaching composition and theory at the University of Rhode Island since 2001. Her works are performed in Israel, France and the United States.