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New York Philharmonic's principal violist bringing Romantic music to UB

The viola, with its low, smoky range, is beneath the radar for many. That perception changed in Buffalo a few weeks ago when Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Principal Violist Valerie Heywood stepped into the spotlight, performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola.

Buffalo’s voyage of viola discovery is going to continue Feb. 5,with a visit to the University at Buffalo by Cynthia Phelps, the principal viola of the New York Philharmonic.

Phelps will explore the potential of her instrument with a varied multicentury program. She will begin with a Bach sonata and continue with Schubert’s harrowingly lovely Arpeggione Sonata. To close the concert, she will play “Concert Piece” by Enescu. And she will precede that with Schumann’s Märchenbilder, Op. 13.

The title of the Schumann piece means “fairy tale images,” and reputedly Phelps has a way with this evocative, sensual music. When she played it in New York not long ago, the New York Times wrote: “Her sound was everywhere lush and lovely – the lullaby has never sounded more meltingly beautiful than it did here.”

Phelps appears at UB with pianist Yi-Fang Huang at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall. Tickets are $15 ($10 for seniors and students). UB students with a valid ID receive one complimentary ticket to all UB Music Department concerts this season.

For info, call 645-2921.


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