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Renowned strings duo to perform at KU’s School of Music

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

LAWRENCE-The Kruse Duo, comprised of Steven Kruse on viola and Penny Thompson Kruse on violin, will perform a free concert at KU on Friday, October 5, 2012, 7:30 PM, Swarthout Recital Hall.

The duo will perform a variety of works, including “Montana Music: Fantasy on a Chorale Tune” by David Maslanka; “Silent Moon for Violin and Viola” and “Rumi Settings for Violin and Viola,” both by Augusta Read Thomas; “Dumka: Duo Concertante for Violin and Viola with Piano” by Rebecca Clarke; “Sieben Bagatellen” by Braxton Blake; and “Phantasy Trio for Violin, Viola, and Piano, Op. 36” by Thomas Dunhill. The duo will be assisted by Patricia Higdon on piano.

Acclaimed for their rich sound and oneness of interpretation, the Kruse Duo has excited audiences on three continents over the past twenty years. Champions of new music by American composers, the Kruses are also at home with the standard repertoire of Mozart and Handel-Halvorsen. The Kruse Duo has appeared as soloists with numerous orchestras in the United States, Vietnam, and Romania. They have presented recitals at the Detroit Institute of Arts, The Huntington Library and Museum (San Marino, CA), Washington County Museum of Arts (Maryland), at universities in Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, West Virginia, and California, and in Vietnam, Taiwan, Germany, Romania, South Africa, and Canada. They have also performed at various state, national, and international professional conventions, including the International Viola Congress, the American String Teachers Association, and the College Music Society. They premiered "Jakarta" by David Snow for Violin, Viola, and Percussion Ensemble at the 37th International Viola Congress at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Recently the Kruse Duo premiered a new work by Braxton Blake at the 39th International Viola Congress in Würzburg, Germany.

As educators, the Kruse Duo regularly gives workshops and master classes to secondary school and college students. They have also presented workshops at the National Conference of the American String Teachers Association, including “Bowing for Better Health” and “Life Beyond the Second Method Book: Taking Responsibility for the Technical Development of Your Orchestra.” The Kruses have co-authored articles in the Strad, American String Teacher, and the Journal of the American Viola Society. Performing on matching instruments made by the famed Carl Becker family of Chicago, the Kruses are known for their unique blend and cohesiveness.

Penny Thompson Kruse serves as professor of violin at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio) and previously taught for eight years at William Jewell College (Liberty, Missouri). Dr. Kruse was trained at Northwestern and Yale Universities and earned the D.M.A. in violin performance from the Conservatory of Music and Dance, University of Missouri—Kansas City. For five seasons, she was a member of the Kansas City Symphony, serving as associate concertmaster during the 1989-90 year. Dr. Kruse has performed extensively in solo and chamber recitals, in addition to solo appearances with numerous orchestras in the U.S. As first violinist of the Escher Quartet, she was an artist-in-residence at Music at Penn’s Woods at Pennsylvania State University. Her recording of Chinese Folk Dance Suite by Chen Yi with the BGSU Philharmonia is available through Albany Records. Internationally, Dr. Kruse has performed and given master classes in Vietnam, Taiwan, Germany, Romania, Australia, and Canada. She has served on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival since 1993 and previously performed in the Grand Teton, Colorado, Peninsula, and Sunflower Music Festivals.

Violist Steven Kruse has performed as principal violist with the Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Camerata, Windsor Symphony, and South Bend Symphony, appearing as soloist with all four groups. Currently, he serves as principal violist with the Flint Symphony and performs regularly with the Toledo Symphony and the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra in Greensboro, North Carolina. He currently teaches at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio and Owens Community College in Toledo. During the summers, he is on the faculty of Eastern Music Festival. Previously, he taught for twelve years at the Conservatory of Music and Dance, University of Missouri—Kansas City and has also held teaching positions at West Virginia University, Bowling Green State University, University of Toledo, University of Windsor, William Jewell College, and the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Kruse has performed in Germany, Romania, Israel, Italy, Taiwan, and Vietnam, where he appeared as both viola soloist and conductor. He earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, and a doctorate from Ball State University. His principal teachers have been Lillian Fuchs, Milton Thomas, Robert Slaughter, and Jerzy Kosmala. Dr. Kruse is past treasurer of the International Viola Society and the American Viola Society.

To say that pianist Patricia Higdon leads an active career as a chamber musician, teacher, and coach is an understatement. Immediately after completing graduate work at the Cleveland Institute of Music, she began working as coach/accompanist with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and subsequently joined the faculty of the Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Each season she plays dozens of recitals with faculty, graduate students, and acclaimed artists from around the world. Her coaching and collaboration have played a significant role in the impressive accomplishments of the numerous students and young professionals who work with her, many of whom she partners to success as finalists or winners of national and international competitions. Ms. Higdon’s early work with vocalists has served to provide her with a lyrical sensitivity to the instrumentalists with whom she now specializes in playing. Higdon is also in constant demand as a pianist for master classes and recording sessions. She has performed with the world-class Kansas City Chorale and can be heard on two of their critically acclaimed recordings: Fernhill and Words and Music.

For more information, contact the KU School of Music for more information at 785-864-3436. MUSIC.KU.EDU.

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