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Department of Music's University Chamber Music Series presents Chamber Music for Aficionados


BLACKSBURG, Va., March 26, 2008 – Virginia Tech Department of Music's University Chamber Music Series presents Chamber Music Master Works, its seventh concert of the season.

The concert will feature Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat Major, Opus 11. This celebrated collection of chamber music, performed by members of the Virginia Tech faculty and former Virginia Tech student Jeff Midkiff, will take place Saturday, April 5 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 6 at 3 p.m. in Squires Recital Salon.

By the time Beethoven composed Trio in B-flat Major, Opus 11, he was known as both a determined, rising composer and a piano prodigy renowned for his improvisational skills. Composed in 1797 for the then rare combination of clarinet, violincello, and piano, Trio in B-flat Major, Opus 11 is one of a series of Beethoven’s early piano trios written for his own piano performances, which were known in aristocratic Viennese society for their astonishing virtuosity, passion and novelty.

The piece, often referred to as the Gassenhauer or “Street Song” trio, performed by Mary Louise Hallauer on piano, David Widder on clarinet, and Alan Wenstein on cello, was dedicated by Beethoven to Countess Maria Wilhelmine von Thun, an aristocrat well known for her connections to Mozart.

Felix Mendelssohn’s Concert-Piece No. 2, will feature Virginia Tech alumnus Jeff Midkiff on clarinet. Written in 1833, Concert-Piece No. 2 reflects a tonal clarity that justifies Mendelssohn as one of the most noted German composers from the Romantic Era. The piece, also featuring David Widder on bassett horn and Mary Louise Hallauer on piano, was originally written for Mendelssohn’s two companions as a thank you for preparing excellent meals. He wrote, “The clarinet depicts my feelings of longing while the basset horn adds the rumbling of my stomach.”

Midkiff, who went on from academia at Virginia Tech to receive his master’s degree in clarinet at Northern Illinois University, is a professional clarinetist, as well as a mandolinist and fiddler who was raised on bluegrass. He has numerous recordings with several bands over the years and his most recent solo album Partners in Time truly reflects his broad-ranging musical sensibility.

Additional Department of Music faculty members performing include Jay Crone on trombone and Jon Adler on trumpet performing Boris Blacher’s Divertimento, and flutists David Jacobson and Betsy Crone performing Jules Demersseman’s Fantasie Concertante.

Tickets are $15 general, $10 senior, and $5 student. They are available in advance through the University Unions and Student Activities Ticket Office in the Squires Student Center, at (540) 231-5615, and at the door one hour prior to performance time.

The Department of Music at Virginia Tech provides professional music training to select music students and enhances the cultural life of the university, region, and the Commonwealth through teaching, professional service, artistic performance, creativity, and research. The Department of Music, located in the School of the Arts within the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, also provides high-quality training to a wide variety of ensembles and courses for large numbers of non-music majors.