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Concertante, a group heralded as the “next generation” of great chamber musicians, will perform in concert 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Tickets cost $18 and may be ordered by calling the Williams Center box office at 610-330-5009.

The program will open with the Capriccio Sextet, Op. 85 by Richard Strauss, and Sextet no. 2 in G major, Op. 36 by Johannes Brahms. Following intermission, the concert will continue with Octet in E-flat major, Op. 20 by Felix Mendelssohn.

The musicians of Concertante have won major national and international music competitions, and as solo performers have graced the premier stages of the world from New York’s Carnegie Hall to London’s Royal Festival Hall. Last year, Concertante performed at the XIV Macau International Music Festival in Macau, China.

“They play with a tonal richness, warmth, and unanimity,” writes American Record Guide. “…The urge to hit the ‘repeat’ key is hard to resist.”

Concertante was founded in 1995 by a group of Juilliard School graduates intent on pursuing their musical collaboration beyond graduation. It performs a wide array of repertoire ranging from quintets by established masters to less commonly performed nonets and other varied combinations of instrumentalists. The ensemble has a particular interest in furthering the cause of new music and has, to date, given the world premiere performances of new works by Steven R. Gerber, David Ludwig, Jan Radzynski, and Oded Zehavi. It has also offered infrequently performed chamber works by such celebrated composers as Borodin, Elgar, Schoenberg, and Richard Strauss.

Following an overwhelming community response to the ensemble’s premiere chamber music performance in Harrisburg, Pa., Concertante was named Resident Chamber Music Ensemble of the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg. Concertante is included in the 1999-2001 Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour Artist Roster and is a participant in Chamber Music America’s Music Performance Program, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The group performing at the Williams Center will be comprised of Ittai Shapira, Xiao-Dong Wang, and sisters Laura and Jennifer Frautschi, violin; Kirsten Johnson and Rachel Shapiro, viola; and Edward Arron and Zvi Plesser, cello.

Shapira has performed as soloist with the Czech National Symphony, the Polish Chamber Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Cape Town Philharmonic, and Jerusalem Symphony to name but a few. He has taken on the role of conductor/soloist with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and the Israel Virtuosi on their tour of Central America and the U.S. He collaborated with Yuri Bashmet and the English Chamber Orchestra on a United Kingdom tour. Shapira’s festival appearances include Aspen, Ravinia, Schleswig-Holstein and the International Concerto Festival at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Other noteworthy venues include the Barbican Centre, The Louvre in Paris and Alice Tully Hall.

Xiao-Dong Wang has been called the most talented violinist ever to emerge from China. At the age of 10 he entered the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, studying with the renowned teacher Zhao Ji-Yang. In 1983, he made his first appearance in Europe when he won First Prize in the Menuhin International Violin Competition. Wang has soloed with the Royal Philharmonic in London and recorded the Bartók Concerto No.2 and Szymanowski Concerto No.1 with Adelaide Symphony under Omri Hadari for Polygram records. Wang recently returned from touring the Far East performing the Brahms Concerto. He also appears performing on both violin and viola in chamber music concerts each year in Lincoln Center and in many other musical events in the United States.

Laura Frautschi has a varied career as soloist, chamber musician, and concertmaster. Her recent concerto appearances include the Tokyo City Philharmonic, the San Bernardino and New Haven Symphony orchestras, and the world premiere of Augusta Reade Thomas’ Spirit Musings for violin and orchestra with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. A regular guest at the Caramoor, Wellesley, and St. Bartholomew Chamber Music Festivals, she also tours and records extensively with the group “Kristina and Laura” with cellist Kristina Cooper and pianist John Novacek. Frautschi is concertmaster of the New York City Opera, the String Orchestra of New York City, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

Jennifer Frautschi made her debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at age 16. Her numerous prizes include the 1999 Avery Fisher Career Grant, First Prize in the Washington International Competition, and prizes in the Naumburg Violin Competition and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition. Frautschi’s 2000-2001 season included solo performances with the Indianapolis, National, Charleston, Delaware, Lancaster, Madison, Pasadena, and Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestras; the opening concert at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival; and chamber music at the Caramoor International Festival in New York, Piccolo Spoleto in South Carolina, and the Spoleto Festival in Italy.

Johnson was the first prize winner of the 1997 Washington International Competition. She made her solo debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 17, and since has performed with many orchestras, including the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, and the Juilliard, Jackson, Kalamazoo and Peninsula Symphonies. Johnson has participated in chamber music festivals nationwide and in performances with members of the Beaux Arts Trio, Orion, Guarneri, Vermeer, and Colorado Quartets.

Shapiro has appeared in recital in New York, Baltimore, Austria, Denmark, and Portugal, and in many summer festivals. In 2001 she was second prize winner in the Holland-America Music Society viola competition. Shapiro commits herself to music education both in community music and public schools. In past summers she has been on the teaching faculty of the Danish Summer School for Strings. Additionally, she is a teaching artist for the New York Philharmonic Outreach Program.

Arron has appeared as a soloist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra. He opened the Caramoor 2000 season in a performance of Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos with Yo-Yo Ma and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. In 2000, Arron made his New York recital debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Plesser, winner of the 41st Annual Washington International Competition, has performed as soloist throughout North America, Europe, and Israel. At age 17, he made his U.S. debut with Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman in Carnegie Hall. He has performed with leading orchestras, among them the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Plesser has given recitals in France, Germany, Sweden, and Finland, and has participated in many festivals.

The 2001-2002 Performance Series at Lafayette is supported in part by gifts from members of Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts, and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

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