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Music Faculty Member Brings Community and Virginia Tech Collaborations to RU


Two nights of collaborative musical efforts are being presented at Radford University’s performance hall at the Covington Center through the efforts of adjunct faculty member Erica Sipes. These season openers for RU’s Department of Music include musicians from RU, Virginia Tech, and the community.

September 2 is a chamber music recital called “At the Close of Summer.”  This concert features Sipes (piano); Virginia Tech’s John Walker (oboe); Yi-wen Evans (bass) from the VT Strings Project and Roanoke public schools; Alistair Leon Kok (violin and viola), a graduate of VT and a dentist in Christiansburg; Susan Barrett (cello), a Blacksburg’s piano teacher; Theresa Conti (viola), a nurse from Blacksburg; Linda Plaut ( violin) from Blacksburg; and Tadd Sipes (baritone), also a RU faculty member.

The group will perform Finzi's “Eclogue” for piano and strings, Barber's "Dover Beach" for baritone and string quartet; Bach's Cantata, "Ich habe genug," for baritone, oboe, strings, and continuo, and Mozart's “Piano Quartet in E-flat Major.”

In discussing this performance Sipes says, “A core of us have been making music together for about seven or eight years, mostly in informal chamber music gatherings but also in performances around the community.  Tadd Sipes, John Walker, and Yi-wen Evans are special additions to this particular program because of the requirements of the repertoire that we are doing.”


Sipes’ other collaborative effort will be showcased in a performance called “Not Just Black and White – A Faculty and Guest Artist Recital” featuring the Colla Piano Duo on September 5. The duo is composed of Sipes and Virginia Tech faculty member Tracy Cowden. Both attended the Eastman School of Music in the 1990s. Though they did not perform together at that time, their paths crossed again in 2006 when Sipes’ husband was offered a teaching job at VT.

“Erica and I both collaborate with other musicians frequently, and we spend a lot of time honing our ‘musical radar,’ our ability to sense what our partner is trying to communicate with his instrument or voice. But performing together is truly special – our ‘radar’ works so well with each other that we have tremendous fun preparing programs such as this one,” Cowden said about the Colla Piano Duo.

When asked about the music being performed for this concert, Sipes responded that, “Most of the pieces on the program are arrangements of pieces that were intended for different instrumentation so they expose an even broader degree of color and texture than you might find in a program of music originally written for piano. One of the pieces even requires us to construct a special adaptation to the piano to create a very unique sound.” Musical selections include Brahms, Saint-Saens, Lutoslawski, Vivaldi, and Daquin.

Both performances are free to the general public and start at 7:30 p.m. in the performance hall of the Covington Center on the RU campus. For more information, please call (540)831-5027 or visit www.radford.edu/music.

Aug 19, 2013

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