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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Strauss 150th birthday party as music festival continues

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Eric Edberg (left) and Claude Cymerman to perform together Tuesday and Wednesday in Greencastle.
Gorgeous, lush music and delicious birthday cake are slated for Wednesday night as the 150th birthday of composer Richard Strauss is celebrated at this week's free Greencastle Summer Music Festival concert at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Pianist Claude Cymerman, emeritus professor of music at DePauw University, and cellist Eric Edberg, the Cassel Grubb professor of music at DPU, will perform their own arrangements of five songs by Strauss, Cymerman's solo piano arrangement of the slow movement of the "Sonata for Violin and Piano" and the "Sonata for Cello and Piano."

Cymerman and Edberg will also perform at the weekly "Classical Revolution" event at Starbucks at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday (following the ParkFest concert), where they will talk about the program, give a preview of some of the works to be performed Wednesday, and play a number of pieces by other composers.

Strauss, whose music was famously used for the opening of "2001: A Space Odyssey," is often called "the last Romantic." Lush harmonies and a wide range of emotions have made his perhaps the most widely performed music composed after 1900 (born in 1869, he actively composed through 1948).

With Wednesday the actual 150th birthday of the great German composer, Edberg (the festival's founder and artistic director) and Cymerman decided to celebrate him with an all-Strauss program for their annual recital.

"And we will have cake," Edberg added. "We have researchers trying to find out if Strauss had a favorite cake. If we don't find an answer, perhaps we'll have German chocolate."

The purpose of the festival is to bring the community together with friends making music for friends, Edberg said, "as well as introduce the extraordinary emotional and spiritual power of classical music. Claude and I are close personal and musical friends, and have been performing together for over 26 years. The amazing nuance and depth of his playing is always inspiring to me."

Recognized as a Greencastle and DePauw treasure for more than three decades, Cymerman graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris with highest honors. After winning national and international competitions, including the grand prize at the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud contest, he studied at Indiana University.

Late French President Georges Pompidou recognized Cymerman as an "Outstanding Pianist." He has appeared as a soloist with the Radio France Orchestra, Orchestre des Pays de la Loire, Orchestre National d'Ile de France, the Luxembourg and San Francisco Chamber Orchestras, as well as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and is a frequent guest on French National Radio and the BBC.

Edberg, a classical and improvising cellist, has performed throughout the United States and in Italy and France. Winner of several competitions as a young man, he has soloed with numerous orchestras. Dedicated to developing new audiences for classical music, Edberg has organized events such as "Lie Down and Listen in the Dark," in which listeners bring sleeping bags or blankets, "Classical Music in Jeans," informal events in which listeners can clap whenever they want and even dance, and events in coffee shops and bars.

Edberg teaches courses on music entrepreneurship, concert presentation and audience development at the DePauw School of Music.

Now in its 10th season, the Greencastle Summer Music Festival presents free concerts, supported solely by donations from individuals and local businesses. The (non-religious) concerts are staged each Wednesday through late August at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church.

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