Four renowned soloists headline Fredonia Fall String Festival

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The State University of New York at Fredonia School of Music will host its second Fall String Festival, a one-day residency with four world-renowned artists on Sunday.

The day will begin with a recital of solo and chamber music works at 1 p.m. in Rosch Recital Hall featuring guest artists and Fredonia string faculty and students. Guest artists include Scott St. John (violin), Sheila Browne (viola), Thomas Kraines (cello), and Diana Gannett (bass). The Fall String Festival is organized by Fredonia’s string faculty: David Colwell (violin), David Rose (viola), Dr. Natasha Farny (cello) and Kieran Hanlon (bass).

Tickets for the concert are $15 general admission, and are on sale at the Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center, online or by phone at 673-3501. Any unsold tickets will be available for purchase at the door.

Following the recital, the guest artists will share their insights with Fredonia string students in various master class and workshop settings. The sessions are also open to the public (no tickets required).

Mr. St. John is currently concertmaster of the ROCO Chamber Orchestra in Houston, Texas. He coaches chamber music at Western University in Canada and participates in the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. He is a partner in the new Rebelheart Collective at London’s Aeolian Hall, an innovative chamber orchestra and youth mentorship program connected with the El Sistema movement. Concert highlights of the past year include a “Canada 150” recital of early Canadian music in Calgary with pianist Katherine Chi, a performance of Peteris Vasks “Distant Light” at Scotia Festival and many chamber music performances with the Enso Quartet in California. A recent recording of Mozart’s Symphonia Concertante with his sister, Lara St. John, won a Juno Award for best recording: solo with orchestra. Working with composers has been important throughout his career; St. John has worked with John Adams, Charles Wuorinen and Oswaldo Golijov in the U.S., and Arsenio Giron, Gary Kulesha, Elizabeth Raum and many others in Canada. He was a member of the St. Lawrence String Quartet and faculty member at Stanford University for seven years, from 2006 to 2013. From 1999 to 2006, St. John was Associate Professor of Violin at University of Toronto, and founded the Felix Galimir Chamber Music Award for University of Toronto students. He began his violin studies at age three with Richard Lawrence in London. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied violin with David Cerone and Arnold Steinhardt, and chamber music with Felix Galimir. Current non-musical activities include serving on the boards of the London Organic Food Co-op and Transport Action Canada. St. John also supports HanVoice, a lobby organization for North Korean refugees in Canada.

Hailed by the New York Times as a “stylish player” for a concerto performance Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, violist Ms. Browne is an accomplished international soloist, chamber musician and professor. Named the William Primrose Memorial Recitalist of 2016, Browne has performed in major halls on six continents, including solo performances with the Juilliard Orchestra, Kiev Philharmonic, New World Symphony, in Carnegie Hall with the New York Women’s Ensemble, South African International Viola Congress Festival Orchestra, and the Viva Vivaldi!, Reina Sofia and German-French chamber orchestras, and with the Highland Mountain Correctional Center Women’s String Orchestra in Alaska. She was the only viola finalist in the 2004 International Pro Musicis Solo Awards at Carnegie Hall. She is a proponent of new music and has worked on solo and chamber works with living composers William Bolcom, Krystof Penderecki, Joan Tower, Judith Shatin, and Gabriella Lena Frank, among others. She has performed with Shmuel Ashkenazy, Aretha Franklin, Miriam Fried, Matt Haimowitz, Gilbert Kalish, Paul Katz, David Krakauer, Anton Kuerti, Ruth Laredo, Joseph Robinson, Arnold Steinhardt, Richard Stolzman, and members of Guarneri, Vermeer, Brentano, Audubon and Calidore quartets, Diaz Trio, and has recorded with Fire Pink Trio, Audra MacDonald, Natalie Cole and Lisa Loeb, on Sony, Bridge, MSR, Albany, Centaur, and Rising with Carol Wincenc was chosen as Minnesota Public Radio’s CD of the Month. A devoted and sought-after teacher and clinician, Browne has given master classes around the world, including at Seoul National, Luebeck Musik Hochschule, Leopold Mozart Academy, Eastman, Oberlin, Rice University, Lynn, University of Michigan and Boston University, among many others. As the first viola professor ever to teach in Iraqi Kurdistan at the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq’s inaugural year, she is featured in a recent book about the group, “UPBEAT.” She is Director of the January Karen Tuttle workshops, and is also on faculty at the annual New York University Tuttle Workshops in New York City and in Prague, and at several other summer festivals. Browne received a Naumburg scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Music degree at the Juilliard School, where she was Ms. Tuttle’s teaching assistant for four years. She was awarded a DAAD scholarship to study with soloist Kim Kashkashian, and was Karen Ritscher’s teaching assistant at Rice University while earning a master’s degree in Paul Katz’s String Quartet program. She serves as viola professor at the University of Delaware, in conjunction with a residency as the violist in the Serafin String Quartet, and has served on the faculties of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, University of St Louis-Missouri, and New York, Duke and Tennessee universities. She has had both a viola and bow made for her by Maarten Cornelissen and MacArthur grant winner Benoit Rolland, and also plays a Testore viola, on generous loan from Dr. William Stegeman.

Cellist Mr. Kraines has forged a multifaceted career as a cellist and composer, equally comfortable with avant-garde improvisation, new music, and traditional chamber music and solo repertoire. Kraines is the cellist of the Daedalus Quartet, and also performs with the Network for New Music and the Philadelphia-based free-jazz group The Transformational Music Ensemble. His compositions have been performed all over the world; his recent orchestration of his own chamber piece “Hansel and Gretel” was premiered in October 2015, by Kenneth Woods and the English Symphony Orchestra. His free-improvisation duo Dithyramb, with percussionist Cameron Britt, has performed and taught as guests of the Longy School of Music, the University of Florida at Gainesville and the Jubilus Festival. Kraines has taught at the Peabody Conservatory, the Longy School of Music, the Killington Music Festival, Yellow Barn and Princeton University, and currently teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, violinist Juliette Kang, and their two daughters, Rosalie and Clarissa.

As Professor Emerita, Ms. Gannett retired from a studio of amazing bassists at the University of Michigan. Many of them have gone on to win competitions and positions in important festivals, orchestras and academic appointments. Gannett taught at Oberlin College Conservatory early in her career with other teaching appointments including the faculties of Yale University School of Music and the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut, and the University of Iowa where as President for the International Society of Bassists she hosted the 1999 ISB convention. A native Iowan, she did her undergraduate training with Eldon Obrecht of the University of Iowa. She also studied with Stuart Sankey at the Aspen Music Festival and with virtuoso Gary Karr at Yale. While at Yale, she earned both a master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degree, the first Yale doctorate awarded in double bass.

She co-taught with Karr for many years. Both as a soloist and chamber musician, her performances have included many contemporary premieres and solo improvisations as well as traditional repertoire.

In recent years she performed in Mexico, Scotland, Israel, Poland and Brazil, as well at regional and local events. “Lady Bass” was her first CD followed by “Duetti Dolce,” “Old Wine in New Bottles,” “Come Away,” and most recently, “Artemis in the Oak Grove,” a compilation of music written for and dedicated to her. Her love of instrument making has also made her a fan of many fine modern builders. She owns a Carleen Hutchins, Mario LaMarre, Reck/Gannett, as well as an old Landolfi and Pietro Pallota.

SLSQ Photo: Marco Borggreve