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Jan. 27, 2004

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Britain's acclaimed Fitzwilliam String Quartet will be in residence at Bucknell University in February. They will give three concerts, meet with classes and present several workshops during their residency. All concerts are free to the public.

The program for the first concert, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m. in the Natalie Davis Rooke Recital Hall of the Sigfried Weis Music Building, will include Bach's "The Art of the Fugue," Mendelssohn's "Canzonetta," Mozart's "Quartet in B flat ("Hunt"), and Tchaikovsky's "Quartet No 1."

The second concert, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall, will include guest artist Barry Hannigan, piano, playing Beethoven's "Piano Trio in B flat ("Archduke") and Schumann's "Piano Quintet." Hannigan and the Quartet both debuted at Bucknell in 1978.

The third concert, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall, will include a performance of Jackson Hill's "Long hidden deep in winter's keeping" for solo voice and string quartet, featuring mezzo-soprano Martha Gibbs Hill; Dvorak's "Drobnosti" for two violins and a viola; Mozart's "Horn Quintet;" "Intricate Web" by Liz Johnson; and "Quartet No. 12" by Shostakovich. William Kenny, horn, will join in the performance of the Mozart horn quintet.

Members of the string quartet are Lucy Russell, violin, Jonathan Sparey, violin, Alan George, viola, and Nicola Baxter, violoncello.

Founded in 1968 by four Cambridge undergraduates, the Fitzwilliam first became well known through their close personal association with Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who entrusted them with the Western premières of his last three quartets. Quartet-in-residence at the Universities of York and Warwick, they also were affiliate artists at Bucknell from 1978 to 1986, returning to campus again on a regular basis since 1998.         

They are one of the very few string quartets in Britain using classical instruments for the appropriate repertoire, and perhaps unique in that they perform on both historical and modern instrumentation, sometimes within the same concert. Their most recent BBC broadcasts have all been on old instruments, including a live lunchtime performance of Haydn's Seven Last Words. The Fitzwilliam was re-established in January 1996 with two younger players, but with two members from the early '70s still at the center of the quartet.

The residency is supported by the Kushell Music Endowment of Bucknell University. For more information concerning the concerts or class visits, call 570-577-1239.

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