As Summer Music Festival ends, DePauw concert series begins

Friday, August 24, 2018
DePauw School of Music’s 2018-19 Faculty Select series begins with May Phang and Eric Edberg performing works for piano and cello Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Green Center’s Thompson Recital Hall.
Courtesy photo/Suzanne Hassler

Just about the moment you begin to miss those regular Wednesday Greencastle Summer Music Festival (GSMF) concerts, DePauw School of Music’s Faculty Select series is serendipitously scheduled to resume Wednesday, Aug. 29.

Featured on the 7:30 p.m. program in Thompson Recital Hall will be GSMF artistic director and cellist Eric Edberg and DePauw University faculty pianist May Phang. The pair will join together for only their second duo recital in 14 years, performing works by Felix Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny Hensel, Frédéric Chopin, and Edberg’s long-time friend, the Baltimore-based composer Vivian Adelberg Rudow.

“When May agreed to play this concert with me, probably my last faculty recital at DePauw (his trio gave its final concert last spring), I wanted to include works that have, for lack of a better phrase, an absolute killer piano part,” Edberg said. “The Chopin and Mendelssohn sonatas are major duos, each originally titled ‘for piano and cello,’ that make extraordinary virtuosic demands on the pianist.

“May has such dazzling technique, as well as superb musicianship, and I’ve wanted to hear her play the Mendelssohn in particular since she joined the faculty,” Edberg added. “She suggested we add a piece by Mendelssohn’s sister Fanny Hensel, a wonderful composer whose works were not widely performed or published in her lifetime due to the limitations on women working professionally within the wealthy Mendelssohns’ social circle.

“I also wanted to include music by a living composer, and I wanted it to be music that hasn’t been played at DePauw — and that was written by someone who one of us has a personal relationship with. I met Vickie Rudow in 1980 when I was a senior at The Peabody Institute. She hired me for one of my first professional new-music concerts, which led to me performing for four years with the Contemporary Music Forum of Washington, D.C. So she’s both a longtime friend and a very important early mentor. And her music is, well, gorgeous.

“It seems fitting,” the cellist concluded, “to perform music by someone who was so important in my early career on a concert that is, I expect, the capstone of my DePauw career.”

Edberg retired from full-time teaching last spring and is continuing to teach cello this year while the School of Music searches for its next cello professor.

He is keeping busy as the artistic director of the Greencastle Summer Music Festival, giving concerts and guest workshops, and volunteering at the Putnamville Correctional Institution.

Phang, a full-time professor of music at DePauw, currently is enjoying a sabbatical from teaching this year.

General admission tickets to the Faculty Select series are $5. Tickets for seniors, children and all students are free. For online purchases, visit The GCPA box office also will be open one hour prior to the performance, in the Judson and Joyce Green Center for the Performing Arts (605 S. College Ave.). Sale of Green Guest Artist season tickets at the center continues through Sept. 4.

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