First concert of ISO, city, DePauw collaboration set Thursday night in Kresge

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Zach DePue (left) and principal violist Michael Isaac Strauss prepare for Thursday night's free concert at DePauw University.

Two leaders of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's string section -- concertmaster Zach DePue and principal violist Michael Isaac Strauss -- will take center stage Thursday night at DePauw University as soloists in a concert of "Symphonic Hits."

The program will begin at 8 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium, located within DePauw's Judson and Joyce Green Center for the Performing Arts. There is no admission charge. The public is invited to attend. Door open at 7.

Thursday's program will feature Mozart's "Sinfonia concertante for Violin and Viola" and "The Four Seasons" by Vivaldi.

The concert and a "Meet the Artist" event with DePue and Strauss (held May 3 at DePauw) serve to launch a multi-year education and community outreach partnership between the ISO, the university and the city as a result of Greencastle recently being designated a Stellar Community by the state of Indiana.

The collaboration will evolve to include more free concerts and master classes, the potential formation of a youth orchestra and other educational programs.

Thursday's concert, to be led by DePue, will open with DePue and Strauss as soloists in the Mozart Sinfonia concertante, an emotional and expressive work that features a lyrical first movement highlighted by alternating passages between the soloists and the orchestra. The final movement starkly contrasts from the first via a subdued yet passionate tone that spotlights the musical voices of the violin and viola.

Following intermission, DePue and the Indianapolis Symphony will perform Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons." Each of the four movements' distinctive themes musically represents the sounds of a particular season (birds in spring or a warm crackling fire in winter), as well as the beautiful and inclement qualities that define them. It has remained a popular staple in the concerto repertoire since its creation in 1723.

DePue was appointed concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and began his tenure in September 2007. Previously, he was a violinist in the Philadelphia Orchestra. Since 1985, he and his three violin-playing brothers have performed together as The DePue Brothers, and he is a founding member of the chamber group Time for Three, which currently serves as the ISO's ensemble-in-residence.

A native of Bowling Green, Ohio, DePue graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in 2002. An avid chamber musician, DePue has performed across the United States and in Israel.

Strauss has served as principal viola of the Indianapolis Symphony since 1994 and has appeared on numerous occasions as a soloist, including his acclaimed performances of "Harold" in Italy in 1999 with Raymond Leppard conducting.

Prior to his arrival in Indianapolis, he was principal violist for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Philly Pops, as well as co-principal of the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra.

In addition to his symphonic work, he performs regularly as a soloist and as a chamber musician in other cities and annually appears on chamber music series throughout the U.S. Strauss also is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music.

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