University Chamber Music series presents concert of all-Russian music

Carpe Diem String Quartet

Carpe Diem String Quartet

BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 25, 2008 – Virginia Tech Department of Music's University Chamber Music Series presents its sixth concert of the season featuring the Carpe Diem String Quartet and pianist Tracy Cowden.

The all-Russian program including music by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Sergey Taneyev, will be performed on Saturday, March 15, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 16, at 3 p.m., in the Squires Recital Salon located on College Avenue adjacent to downtown Blacksburg.

The Carpe Diem String Quartet – violinists Charles Wetherbee and John Ewing, violist Korine Fujiwara, and cellist Wendy Morton – are consummate artists very familiar with the Russian repertoire having undertaken several ambitious recording projects including all nine string quartets of Sergey Taneyev and the first part of a complete Shostakovich quartet cycle. Writing for Fanfare Magazine, the magazine for record collectors, Barry Brenesal said, “[…] Above all, I’m impressed by the group’s dark, beautiful tone, which hearkens back to some of the great Soviet quartets of yore.” The all-Russian program for the March 15 and 16 concerts includes Adagio and Allegretto by Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky’s Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11 and Taneyev’s Piano Quintet.

Carpe Diem String Quartet has also earned critical acclaim with cutting edge programs, electrifying performances, and a passion for audience engagement. They are committed to changing the concert experience of chamber music. Using innovative programming, which includes traditional presentation of the standard repertoire, thematic concerts, and popular music for younger generations, cameras and video to assist in the visual presentation, as well as speaking from the stage, to better engage the audience, they are bringing new audiences into the concert hall and revitalizing the chamber music recital.

Cowden joined the Virginia Tech music department faculty as Assistant Professor of Piano and Vocal Coach in 2004. She received the doctorate of musical arts and master’s degree in music in piano accompanying and chamber music from the Eastman School of Music, and a bachelor’s in music degree in piano performance from Western Michigan University. She has previously served as a faculty member at Ohio Wesleyan University, and as an adjunct faculty member at Kalamazoo College and Hope College in western Michigan.

As a collaborative pianist, Cowden has performed with the Cavani Quartet, the Audubon Quartet, and the Marble Cliff Chamber Players, and in recitals with principal musicians from the Montreal, Vancouver, Boston, and Columbus symphony orchestras. She has been featured as a concerto soloist with the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Southwest Virginia, and the Ohio Wesleyan University Chamber Orchestra.

In collaboration with Nancy Gamso from Ohio Wesleyan University, Tracy released a CD entitled With Blackwood and Silver, featuring modern duo repertoire for flute with piano and clarinet with piano. She also can be heard with the Eastman Wind Ensemble in its 50th anniversary recording, released in 2002.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $5 for student and are available in advance through the University Unions and Student Activities Box Office in the Squires Student Center, at (540) 231-5615 or online at 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.