University of Delaware
Xiang Gao

Oct. 18: 'Mozart Celebration'

10th annual Master Players Concert Series to open with 'Mozart Celebration III'


2:21 p.m., Sept. 6, 2013--The 2013-14 University of Delaware Master Players Concert Series (MPCS) will open Friday, Oct. 18, with the presentation “Mozart Celebration III.”

The concert will begin at 8 p.m. that evening in the Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts on the UD campus in Newark. 

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Last season’s Mozart concert was a sell-out and received rave reviews from members of the audience. The Opus 3 of this year’s special event features Mozart’s G Minor Piano Quartet, as well as his Violin Sonata in G Major. The second half will feature one of the most powerful compositions by a 20th century Russian composer, Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2, Op.67.

Xiang Gao, Trustees Distinguished Professor of Music, MPCS producing director and violinist, will be joined by several virtuoso performers to open the season. They include award-winning Canadian pianist Joel Hastings, faculty pianist at the Florida State University; concert cellist Alan Stepansky, who had a distinguished orchestral career playing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra before joining the Peabody Conservatory faculty, serving as principal cellist of the Boston Pops; and UD faculty violist Esme Allen-Creighton, who is also a member of the acclaimed Serafin String Quartet.

Preceding the concert, an MPCS Prelude Dinner will be available.

The state-of-the-art Gore Recital Hall seats just 200 and those interested in attending are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. To order advance tickets, call 302-831-2204. Tickets for all events are $25 for adults, $20 for UD faculty, staff, alumni and seniors, and $10 for students with ID.

There are two subscription series, with a six-concert subscription priced at $120 for adults, $96 for seniors, alumni, faculty and staff, and $48 for students. A four-concert subscription is $88 for adults, $72 for seniors, alumni, faculty and staff, and $36 for students. 

In addition to the Oct. 18 concert, there will be master classes held free of charge from 1:25-2:15 p.m. that afternoon, with pianist Joel Hastings in Gore Recital Hall and cellist Alan Stepansky in Puglisi Orchestra Hall.

Coming attractions

• Friday, Nov. 22, 8 p.m., Gore Recital Hall. The Kavafian Duo will perform with collaborative pianist Jonathan Feldman as a part of the MPCS Great Musical Families Recital Series. Last year, the Paul Kantor family trio gave the inaugural performance and this year the world famous Kavafian family will showcase two sister performers -- Ida and Ani Kavafian. As artists on the roster of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the sisters, who are world-class violinists and violists, have performed with the symphonies of Detroit, Colorado, Tucson, San Antonio and Cincinnati, and have recorded the music of Mozart and Sarasate on the Nonesuch label. They celebrated the 25th anniversary of their first performance together at Carnegie Hall in the fall of 2008 with a concert at Lincoln Center, which featured their Curtis Institute and Yale University students and colleagues.

An MPCS Prelude Dinner will be available. In addition, three free master classes will be held from1:25-2:15 p.m., that afternoon with violinist Ida Kavafian in Gore Recital Hall, violinist/violist Ani Kavafian in Puglisi Orchestra Hall and Feldman in 118 Amy E. du Pont Music Building.

• Saturday, Dec. 7, 3 p.m., Mitchell Hall. The holiday offering, “Music Wonderland – Holiday Pops,” is created and produced by Gao, and hosted by 2013 Miss Delaware Rebecca Jackson. The concert will feature the acclaimed UD Chorale performing holiday music under the direction of Duane Cottrell. Also performing will be instrumental ensembles including the Nittany Trombone Quartet, MPCS ensemble-in-residence 6ixwire Project, and the world-traveling UD Steel Band under the direction of Harvey Price. Selected scenes from The Nutcracker will be performed by leading members of the Mid-Atlantic Ballet under the artistic direction of director Patrick V. Korstange.

The concert will be free to children under the age of 14 accompanied by ticketed adults as part of an MPCS educational endeavor made possible by generous gifts from donors who participated in the UD alumni and friends China trip, which is led by Gao.

Following the concert, there will be a free “instrument petting zoo” from 4:30-5:30 p.m. under the direction of UD’s Suzanne Burton in Gore Hall and hosted by Project MUSIC scholars Sarah Kutash, Stephanie Espie and Trey Williams.

• Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, 8 p.m., Gore Recital Hall. The spring concert, “Gold Medalist’s Show – A Valentine’s Day Event,” will feature pianist Haochen Zhang. The show is the launch of another innovative event, one that celebrates top prize-winners of international music competitions. Many Americans remember the legendary American pianist Van Cliburn who won the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition held in Moscow during the Cold War. Since then, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition has become one of the most important piano competitions in the world. Zhang, a Chinese-American musician, was the gold medal winner at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition held in 2009. Zhang will offer his personal interpretation of romantic solo piano music by Beethoven, Debussy, Brahms and Stravinsky.

An MPCS Prelude Dinner will be available. In addition, a free piano master class with Haochen Zhang will be held 1:25-2:15 p.m. that afternoon in Gore Recital Hall.

• Friday, March 14, 2014, 8 p.m., Gore Recital Hall. “The Art of the String Quartet” will feature the Aeolus String Quartet, praised by Strad magazine for their “high-octane” performance and considered one of the finest string quartets performing today. Violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce, and cellist Alan Richardson formed the quartet in 2008 at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Since its inception, the quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States and performed across the globe with showings “worthy of a major-league quartet,” according to Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News

The quartet will perform Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 76 No. 5, Purcell’s Fantasias for Four Voices and Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 59, No. 1.

A free master class with the Aeolus String Quartet will be held from 1:25-2:15 p.m. that afternoon in Gore Recital Hall.

• Friday and Saturday, April 18 and 19, 8 p.m., Mitchell Hall. The season finale will be the ever-popular iMusic 7: Decoding Music – A Multimedia Concert.” Since its premiere in 2005, the iMusic concert has been MPCS’s most popular event for its creativity and originality. Continuing its interdisciplinary and unconventional tradition, iMusic 7 will take the audience on a journey to a future concert experience by using cutting-edge visual and audio technology. Based on the most advanced research on music and its inner connection with the human brain, many original compositions with visual and audio elements will be created by iMusic creator and producer Gao and world-famous scenic designer Qi Wei, as well as world-renowned visual artists, scientists and scholars. Creative musicians from around the world will join Gao on stage to change the way classical concerts are presented. For the first time, music therapy will play an important role in this conceptual concert.

An MPCS Prelude Dinner will be offered on April 19.

MPCS programs

This year MPCS will look to expand in presentation, education and creation including school programs such as a Tri-State Honors Orchestra for pre-college age musicians and a Summer Music Festival, as well as summer concerts, afternoon concerts for the retirees, concerts for people with special needs, and young artist competitions and concerts. MPCS seeks to develop programs to educate and engage community members at multiple venues all over the tri-state area.

MPCS Prelude Dinners

This year MPCS will also sponsor prelude dinners, at which guests can learn more about the evening's concert and enjoy a gourmet meal as, Gao said, "The arts are not complete without the art of food."

Audience members are invited to park early, dine with fellow patrons and learn more about the featured artists, the performance, and the historical context of the compositions from Gao and renowned guest speakers. The dinners will be held just steps away from the performance, and a shuttle service will be provided from the Roselle Center for the Arts parking lot to the dinner and concert. The dinners will be at an upscale, private dining location to be announced.

The evenings will begin at 5 p.m. with a complimentary full open bar followed by a catered dinner. Each dinner will start with a brief pre-concert talk given by a MPCS guest speaker.

Space for these fun and educational pre-concert dinners benefiting MPCS is limited. Making reservations three weeks prior to the concert date is recommended. Reservations are by email only at

MPCS Advisory Council

This year, to help with MPCS expansion, the series will be establishing an advisory council.

The council will be established this fall and members will be recognized during the 2013-14 season.

It will be comprised of dedicated community and business leaders, UD parents and alumni, and local academic leaders who value the positive impact of live music performance and education and provide a high level of volunteer service to enrich the cultural life of the tri-state community. 

The council members strive to help preserve and cherish music, the universal language of the planet. “MPCS staff and audiences deeply appreciate their leadership in advancing culture in our community, making it an even better place to live, work and raise families,” Gao said.

For more information see the Master Players website.

Program support

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Photos by Evan Krape and Kathy F. Atkinson

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