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March 15, 2010

Red Cedar Chamber Music Artists, Anthony Devroye to honor Dvorak

DeKalb, Ill. — Red Cedar Chamber Music artists flutist Jan Boland and guitarist John Dowdall will join Avalon Quartet violist and Northern Illinois University faculty member Anthony Devroye in a performance of the trio “Spillville” by Harvey Sollberger.

The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 22, in the Recital Hall of the Music Building, 550 Lucinda Ave. on the NIU campus.

Sollberger’s “Spillville” was inspired by Antonin Dvorak’s “American Quartet,” which also will be performed on the concert by a string quartet of Northern Illinois University students.

“Spillville” is a seven-movement trio for flute, viola and guitar that provides a modern context for the musical ideas presented by Antonin Dvorak in his “American Quartet,” composed while Dvorak lived in Spillville, Iowa for three months during the summer of 1893. The idea for “Spillville” grew out of a variation Sollberger wrote for Red Cedar Chamber Music’s 2004 group commissioning project “Spillville Variations on a Theme by Dvorak.” Sollberger found the experience writing this variation, based on the Scherzo movement of the “American Quartet,” so stimulating and intriguing, that he also composed variations on the quartet’s remaining three movements.

This set of four variations forms the core of “Spillville,” each variation using melodic, rhythmic and structural ideas from the corresponding movement of the “American Quartet.” Sollberger links the variation movements together with three Serenades that are his arrangements of traditional Czech folk songs. “Spillville” is a fascinating and enjoyable reinterpretation of Dvorak’s musical language as refracted through Sollberger’s 21st century prism.

Dvorak came to Spillville, Iowa, in 1893 with his wife and children to provide a retreat from life on the East Coast and to reconnect with Czech culture. He played organ in the church and enjoyed speaking Czech with the Czech immigrants in Spillville. He also took frequent walks along the Turkey River, which provided inspiration for the music he composed in Spillville, including the beloved “American Quartet.” Sollberger feels a special kinship with Dvorak’s stay in Iowa, because his great grandfather lived in the vicinity of Spillville and might have had occasion to meet Dvorak or at least to have been aware of the famous composer’s Iowa sojourn.

The concert is free and open to the public, and the Music Building is accessible to all. For more information, contact Lynn Slater at lslater@niu.edu or (815) 753-1546.

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Media Contact: Lynn Slater, NIU School of Music
Phone: (815) 753-1546
Email: lslater@niu.edu