Oct. 15: Master Players Concert Series to open
Xiang Gao performs during the 2009-2010 Master Players Concert Series.


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1:11 p.m., Sept. 20, 2010----The 2010-2011 University of Delaware Master Players Concert Series (MPCS), titled “Music Unleashed,” will open in October.

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A season-opening gala titled “New Ark! New Ark!” will be held Friday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. in Mitchell Hall during Parents and Family Weekend.

The concert will showcase renowned UD faculty artists performing masterpieces of chamber music and showpieces.

For more than 20 years, top musicians living in the area because of their connections to the University have presented an unforgettable season opener to the delight of Delawareans, and this year's concert also introduces newly arrived faculty artists to the community.

“New Ark! New Ark!” will feature Christine Delbeau, piano; Philip Duker, percussion; Marianne Gythfeldt, clarinet; Julie Nishimura, piano; Harvey Price, percussion; Marie Robinson, soprano; Lloyd Shorter, oboe; Lawrence Stomberg, cello; Anne Sullivan, harp; Christiaan Taggart, guitar; and Bruce Tychinski, trombone

The MPCS will continue with:

Tricks and Treats: A Halloween Concert, Friday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. in Mitchell Hall with a post-concert instrument “petting zoo” from 8:15-9 p.m.

MPCS's newest tradition is this, the first Halloween concert for families, and interactive and creative family event that features a medley of musicians capable of conjuring the “spooktacular” spirit of Halloween.

Those who attend are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite costume. The evening's festivities conclude with a hands-on instrument petting zoo and chances to win many costume prizes. “Tricks and Treats” will engage and inspire imaginations of all ages.

Erhu and Violin: The Butterfly Lovers, Friday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m., both in Mitchell Hall.

This multimedia and multicultural concert features MPCS artistic director Xiang Gao and UD Institute for Global Studies Distinguished Guest Artist Cathy Y. Yang, international erhu (two stringed Chinese violin) virtuoso.

Accompanied by the internationally acclaimed collaborative pianist Rita Sloan, the Western and Eastern violinists will perform as a newly formed duet named “6 Wire” to celebrate the institute's International Education Week. Their fiery techniques and daring passion promise to impress audiences.

Yang's MPCS debut in last year's “iMusic 3: Ode to Earth” was so successful that she is returning at the request of MPCS audience members.

Actors Danny Peak and Stephanie Shade, visual artist Vincent D'Amico and other guest artists join the master musicians in a performance of the “Butterfly Lovers” multimedia violin concerto.

The Chinese story of the “Butterfly Lovers,” Liang and Zhu, is as powerful as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but 1,000 years older. This new production created by Xiang Gao, which includes a dramatic reading by playwright Danny Peak, draws its significance from Chinese history, culture, humor and tragic drama.

Handel's Messiah, Friday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m., both in Mitchell Hall

MPCS inaugurates an annual holiday concert as the MPCS holiday orchestra and international award-winning UD Chorale under the direction of Paul D. Head, UD's director of choral studies, perform Handel's glorious oratorio Messiah. In the spirit of the season, Mitchell Hall will be decorated in holiday finery.

Concertmaster David Kim with Marian Lee, part of the new Concertmasters Series, Sunday, Feb. 13, at 3 p.m. in Mitchell Hall.

MPCS has established a recital series featuring beloved concertmasters from around the world. The series kicks off with David Kim, concertmaster from the Philadelphia Orchestra, who gives a dynamic recital of an all Brahms program with his fellow Juilliard classmate, UD faculty pianist Marian Lee. This marks Kim's second MPCS appearance. This event is co-presented by the Korean American Association of Delaware.

Delaware Idols A Winners' Concert, Friday, March 18, at 8 p.m., in Gore Recital Hall with Julie Nishimura Delaware Idols Official Accompanist and Faculty Pianist

The 2009 Delaware Idols impressively concluded last year's MPCS season with a fiery performance with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. This year, the winners of the 2011 Delaware National String Competition compete on the MPCS stage for cash prizes and a professional concert engagement. Join the “judges” as the live audience chooses its next Delaware Idols in this exciting concert event.

iMusic 4: China Magpie, Friday, April 15, 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 16, 8 p.m., in Mitchell Hall.

The iMusic productions created by internationally known violinist and Master Players Concert Series founding artistic director Xiang Gao are creative and engaging pops concerts that humanize music in ways audiences have never imagined. Last year, iMusic 3 celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with many of today's leading artists and the cross-generational MPCS audience.

This year, the internationally acclaimed ensemble China Magpie, of which Gao is a founding member, returns for its third appearance with MPCS. Established by Yo-Yo Ma and Silk Road Project, China Magpie performs crossover music with its own arrangements and compositions. The Boston Globe cited China Magpie for its “vibrant playing, urgent communication and energetic rhythm borrowed from rock music.” The concerts also celebrate the U.S. release of China Magpie's first album.

The fun family iMusic events are appropriate for children age four and up and sell out quickly.

The state-of-the-art Gore Recital Hall in the Roselle Center for the Arts only seats 200 and those interested in attending are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. MPCS tickets cost $25 for the general public; $20 for senior citizens, UD faculty, staff and alumni; and $10 for students with ID. Tickets are available at the REP box office in the Roselle Center for the Arts or by calling (302) 831-2204.

For more information, visit the Master Players Concert Series website.

Photo by Evan Krape