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Music professor presents special anniversary concert

Sept. 16, 2008

KALAMAZOO--In honor of his 40 years at Western Michigan University, internationally recognized composer and music professor C. Curtis-Smith will perform with special guests at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

Admission is $12, $10 for senior citizens and $5 for students. School of Music students will be given free passes.

The program will feature a trio of ensembles and three guest soloists. The award-winning La Catrina String Quartet, a group of WMU alumni, will open the concert with a performance of "The Barbershop String Quartet." Next, guest soprano Mary Bonhag of New York will sing "Chansons Innocentes," a cycle of e.e. cummings poems. To end the first half of the concert, the Merling Trio will perform "The Second Piano Trio."

After intermission, the Western Brass Quintet will perform "Games for Brass." Next, violinist Renata Knific, WMU professor of music, will perform "Fantasy Pieces," accompanied by Curtis-Smith. The final work on the concert will be a setting of Silvia Plath's poem, "Tulips," and will feature Bonhag, the La Catrina String Quartet and pianist Silvia Roederer, WMU professor of music.

Critics have praised Curtis-Smith's compositions. New York Times reviewer Bernard Holland wrote: "Mr. Curtis-Smith takes up where Debussy's lonely, bleakly beautiful last music ends. Yet these pieces have a voice of their own. One hears ideas at work and a momentum that carries thoughts coherently and convincingly from first note to last." A review in Fanfare Magazine called his Piano Etudes, "…brilliant and delightful."

Curtis-Smith is the recipient of more than 100 grants, awards and commissions, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood, the Prix du Salabert, and grants from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts and, most recently, commissions from the Barlow Endowment and the Harvard University Fromm Foundation. At age 38, he was the youngest faculty member ever awarded WMU's Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, the University's highest academic honor.

For more information, contact the Bullock Performance Institute at (269) 387-4704 or the School of Music at (269) 387-4678.

Media contact: Kevin West, (269) 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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