Coker Music Recital Offers Special Approach to “Winterreise”

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – March 7, 2011 – Coker College will present a recital titled “Winterreise” on Tuesday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Watson Theater in the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center.  Admission is free.

While originally “Winterreise” was the creation of two artists, composer Franz Schubert and poet Wilhelm Müller, in this recital, the contributions of three artists—baritone Christian Elser, pianist Jun Matsuo and visual artist Tom Bamberger—will be combined to offer a fresh interpretation of the complete song cycle published in 1827.

In hopes of making the 19th-century art song genre more accessible to a modern audience, Matsuo and Elser decided to explore the possibility of adding a visual element to their spring recital.  They began by talking to museum curators, which conversations eventually led them to Bamberger, adjunct curator of photography at the Milwaukee Art Museum. After a few e-mail correspondences, the three met in Milwaukee to brainstorm about this project.  This meeting included conversations that ranged from dealing with the logistics of this project to a philosophical discussion about art, music and education. 

“Art songs were originally created for friends and family to enjoy in an intimate setting. However, over the years, a more academic approach has been adopted, which has attracted connoisseurs but may have alienated a general audience from enjoying the performance,” explained Matsuo.

“This is not to say that the recital is going to offer ‘action-packed’ entertainment,” she adds, “but the addition of the visual element might help foster an appreciation for this work of art.  The poetry, which Schubert sets with his ingenious melodic writing and haunting harmonic color, is rather dark and bleak.  With open-mindedness on the part of the audience, we believe our recital will offer a rich and rewarding experience.”

Matsuo joined the Coker College faculty in 2009 as a visiting assistant professor of music, teaching piano and music theory. Versatile as both a solo and collaborative performer, she has appeared as a guest pianist in New York, Maine, Florida and South Carolina. Her overseas activities include a recital and lecture at the Universitii Sains Malaysia in Penang as well as being one of the selected performers at the French Piano Institute in Paris for master classes with Dominique Merlet, Pascal Devoyon, Noel Lee, and Roy Howat. 

Matsuo earned her Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Pedagogy from the University of South Carolina, and prior degrees from Binghamton University and the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Other studies include the Schubert Workshop at Oberlin Conservatory.

Baritone Christian Elser is a versatile singing actor who has performed roles with such companies as the Chicago Opera Theater, Lyric Opera Cleveland, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Light Opera Oklahoma, Waukesha Symphony, Chicago City Symphony, Southwest Symphony and the Jefferson Performing Arts Society in New Orleans. He has also has performed live in concert on WFMT Chicago’s “Live from Studio One” and Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Live from the Elvejhem” broadcasts. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern University Schools of Music, and is completing his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Kansas.

Bamberger attended Boston University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he studied philosophy and taught mathematical logic. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the ASA Gallery at the University of New Mexico and the Milwaukee Art Museum. His solo exhibitions include several exhibitions at the Michael H. Lord Gallery in Chicago. Bamberger has received both an NEA grant and a fellowship from the Wisconsin Arts Board.

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Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S.
News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach. 

 
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