University Chamber Music Series presents George Crumb's masterpiece: Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale)

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 2, 2007 – Virginia Tech Department of Music's University Chamber Music Series presents George Crumb's Vox Balaenae, (Voice of the Whale) on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m. in Squires Student Center Recital Salon.

Collaborating on this American masterpiece of the 20th Century will be Virginia Tech music professors Tracy Cowden on electric piano, Alan Weinstein on electric cello, and David Jacobsen on electric flute.

Originally composed for the New York Camerata, Vox Balaenae is a “beautiful dream vision of the deep,” according to Andrew Porter of the New Yorker. Crumb drew his inspiration for the piece from the singing of the humpback whale that he heard in 1969. The piece is performed in the dark with musicians wearing masks to efface the sense of human projection and enhance the impersonal forces of nature.

Cowden has been assistant professor of piano and a vocal coach at Virginia Tech since 2004. She earned her Bachelor’s of Music degree in piano performance from Western Michigan University, her Masters and Doctorate of Music in piano accompanying and chamber music from the Eastman School of Music. Cowden has performed with the Cavani Quartet, the Audubon Quartet and the Marble Cliff Players. She has been a featured soloist with the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Southwest Virginia, Ohio Wesleyan University Chamber Orchestra, and the Virginia Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Weinstein is assistant professor of cello and bass at Virginia Tech and holds degrees in music performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and the Eastman School of Music. Weinstein has performed with the Portland String Quartet, the Rochester Philharmonic and has served as the principal cellist of the Eastman/Dryden Orchestra. Along with having appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts across the U.S. and Canada, Weinstein is the winner of many national awards such as the Chamber Music America Residency Award. He is a founding member of the Kandinsky Trio.

Jacobsen has been teaching flute and saxophone at Virginia Tech since 1988 and holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana. Jacobsen often performs in recitals and chamber music concerts on the Virginia Tech campus as well as on national and world stages.

Also included in the program is Franz Joseph Haydn’s Trio in G Major and Jean-Michael Damase’s Sonata en Concert, a French work from 1952 with influences from turn of the century composers like Ottorino Respighi and Richard Strauss.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $5 for students and are available at the UUSA Ticket Office at (540) 231-5615, online at or at the door one hour prior to performance time. For more information on this performance, please contact the School of the Arts at (540) 231-5200.

Story written by Alyssa Markfort.