The Master Players Concert Series will present "CSI: Beethoven, A Chamber Music Play" on April 18 and 19.

April 18-19: iMusic VIII concert

Master Players' season finale concert is the popular iMusic concert


9:34 a.m., April 10, 2015--The season finale of the University of Delaware Master Players Concert Series will be the ever-popular iMusic VIII, this year featuring the world premiere of CSI: Beethoven, A Chamber Music Play at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 18, and at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 19, in Mitchell Hall. 

Produced and performed by Master Players founding director Xiang Gao, the producer and composer of Campus Chatter and recipient of the Delaware Governor's Award in the arts, iMusic is an annual multimedia season finale for family audiences. 

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This year, iMusic VIII will present a new genre, a chamber music play that artfully blends music, medicine, and live theatre to celebrate German culture and German-American heritage. 

Titled CSI: Beethoven, A Chamber Music Play, the new work will explore the genius' unsurpassed chamber music, personal life, deafness and mysterious death. 

Advance tickets are available by calling 302-831-2204. 

Tickets for all Master Players events are $25 for adults; $20 for senior adults, alumni, faculty and staff; and $10 for students with ID. Also, $5 student rush tickets will be offered at the door 30 minutes prior to each concert. 

Online purchase for tickets and pre-paid parking vouchers are available to all Master Players audience members. For more information, visit the website.

Invited by Gao, the production is written and stage-directed by the acclaimed playwright and director Didi Balle, with music research by UD faculty music historian Maria Anne Purciello, and is being conceived for Gao and guest musicians and actors invited by Master Players. 

During the production in Mitchell Hall, many never before seen images of Beethoven provided by the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San José State University will be presented to the audience. 

“Maestro Beethoven himself will be on the Mitchell Hall stage on borrowed time to learn about his own fate from the CSI team of doctors and historians,” Gao said. “The audience will not only be able to hear Beethoven’s monumental chamber music, but to understand the type of person he truly was behind the stage.”

The guest artists include collaborative pianist Matthew Brower, actress Laureen Smith (as Dr. Hoffman), UD faculty actor Steve Tague (as Dr. Guthrie) and actor Tony Tsendeas (as Ludwig Van Beethoven). 

“As a leading presenter in the region with a passion for education, Master Players will proudly feature four of UD’s star music students from the University Symphony Orchestra during this concert -- concert master Melissa Kitchen, principal cellist Adam Collins, principal violist Eric Harmon and UD concerto competition winner Mengjiao Li,” Gao said.

The iMusic VIII presentation is based on and inspired by the original Symphonic Play version of CSI: Beethoven, created, commissioned and premiered by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and its music director, Marin Alsop, with Balle, its playwright-in-residence and stage director.

Free pre-concert presentation

Master Players will offer a free of charge pre-concert presentation one and one-half hour prior to each concert led by the producer, the playwright and special guest Michael Teixido, M.D., an acclaimed otolaryngologist/neurotologist. Topics will include Beethoven's music, life, hearing loss and the creative process of this particular iMusic production. 

This event is made possible by the President's Diversity Initiative Fund at UD. 

Master Players audiences are reminded that the production 6ixwire Around the World – iMusic VIII, originally scheduled to be presented in April 2015, instead will be presented in March 2016. Ticket buyers can use their 6ixwire tickets for the CSI: Beethoven, A Chamber Music Play event.

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. Other sponsors include the University’s Vita Nova restaurant and the Courtyard by Marriott Newark-University of Delaware Hotel.

About the artists

Xiang Gao, producing director and violinist, is recognized as one of the world's most successful performing artists of his generation from the People's Republic of China. His musical integrity and virtuoso technique have gained accolades from audiences and reviewers around the world, and he has performed for many world leaders. 

Most recently, Gao was a featured soloist performing for the former Chinese President Hu JinTao and the visiting King Carlos I of Spain. 

Highlights of recent seasons’ engagements include the North American premiere of Eduard Tubin's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Detroit Symphony; the 2011 world premiere of Kristin Kuster’s Two Jades for solo violin and symphony band in Disney Hall, Los Angeles and the National Center for Performing Arts, Beijing, China; solo performances with more than 100 orchestras worldwide including the Czech Philharmonic, the Gothenburg Symphony-National Orchestra of Sweden, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic of Russia, the Estonia National Symphony, the Mexico State Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Aspen Music Festival orchestras and the Knoxville Symphony. 

As a multifaceted musician and singer songwriter, Gao composes, arranges and performs in the styles of jazz, funk, bluegrass, Asian folk, pop and Latin American music. As a member of the China Magpie ensemble established by Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, and the 6ixwire Project, a crossover duet he and erhu soloist Cathy Yang formed in 2009, Gao is frequently featured on CCTV, China's leading TV station, performing live concerts for more than one billion TV viewers worldwide each time. 

Gao is the Trustees Distinguished Professor of Music and the founding artistic director of the Master Players Concert Series at UD. He is also the ZiJiang Professor of Music at the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. He performs on a fine violin made by master maker G.B. Ceruti of Cremona, Italy in 1794. The University purchased this rare instrument to support Gao's international performing career. In 2007, the Stradivari Society in Chicago selected Gao to be a recipient of world famous Stradivarius violins for his international solo concerts.

Didi Balle, playwright and stage director, has credits as a professional writer and director that include numerous commissions, broadcasts and staged productions of her work spanning Symphonic Play, radio musicals, plays, musical theater,variety shows, song cycles and opera. She has created a new genre of writing with her plays for actors and orchestras in the Symphonic Plays. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) recently announced the appointment of Balle as the organization's first playwright-in-residence.

Her most recent success includes the acclaimed world premiere of a new Symphonic Play, CSI: Mozart, commissioned by and for the BSO and featuring a cast of five professional actors. 

Currently, Balle is researching and writing two newly commissioned Symphonic Play presentations for premieres in the 2014-15 season. 

Balle is the founding director of Symphonic Stage Shows. She received her master of fines arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts music theatre program, where she was awarded the Oscar Hammerstein Scholarship as a playwright-lyricist. 

Her first writing job was co-writing a weekly radio musical-comedy serial with Garrison Keillor called The Story of Gloria, A Young Woman of Manhattan.

Balle is also a published writer and journalist and worked as a contributing editor for The New York Times for 13 years. 

Maria Anne Purciello, UD faculty music historian, is an assistant professor at whose research focuses on the development of the operatic genre, with particular emphasis on the musical manifestation of comedy. Her interdisciplinary approach draws heavily on cultural and intellectual history as well as on literary and theatrical traditions in its exploration of the intersections of music, poetry, drama and dance.  

In addition to her work on opera, Purciello’s scholarly interests include 17th- and 18th-century aesthetic history; reception history; and gender studies, with a special focus on American women in music.  She regularly presents her research at conferences in both the U.S. and Europe, and is currently working on a book titled Artificio o Naturalezza? Comedy and Verisimilitude in Seventeenth-century Opera.

Matthew Brower is a Philadelphia-based collaborative pianist, coach, and educator whose expertise spans a vast array of styles in both vocal and instrumental repertoire. His versatility allows him to bring a vision and sensitivity to each genre, from opera and art song to chamber music and jazz. 

Brower has collaborated with professional and student musicians at such esteemed institutions as Opera Philadelphia, Toledo Opera, Westminster Choir College, the University of Michigan, the University of Delaware and the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy. 

He frequently performs with the 6ixwire Project, an ensemble-in-residence at UD renowned for its synthesis of traditional and contemporary Eastern and Western musical styles. 

He earned his doctor of musical arts and master of music degrees in collaborative piano from the University of Michigan and his bachelor of music degree in piano performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. 

Brower has been awarded the Music Teachers National Association Student Achievement Recognition Award, the Oberlin Piano Faculty Prize in Accompanying, a Max Kade Fellowship to support German studies, and a University of Michigan Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant towards study at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy.

He currently works as the chorus pianist and musical assistant with Opera Philadelphia and as the accompanist for Gao’s violin studio at UD.

Tony Tsendeas’ work as an actor and director has received critical acclaim both in the U.S. and Europe. He was the artistic director of the highly regarded Action Theater and an artistic associate of the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival. 

For Balle’s Symphonic Stage Shows, Tsendeas has appeared as Beethoven in CSI: Beethoven, Sigmund Freud in Analyze That: Freud and Mahler, Sir Issac Newton in Elements of the Earth: A Musical Discovery, Issac Glickman in Shostakovich: Notes for Stalin and Cabinet Minister, and Herr Pfeffermeister in Wagner: A Composer Fit For A King

Film and video work includes HBO’s The Wire, NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street, and appearances and voiceover work for The Family Channel, The Learning Channel, and The Discovery Channel. 

He is a member of the theatre faculty of the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he teaches acting. 

Steve J. Tague, professor of theatre and UD faculty actor, has performed in theaters from Seattle to Philadelphia. He has performed the title role in Titus Andronicus for Bart Sher at the Intiman Theater and Hamlet for Charlie Fee at The Great Lakes Theater Festival as well as Tartuffe, King Lear, Richard the Third and Macbeth among many others.  

As a member of the University’s Resident Ensemble Players, Tague performed in Noises Off, Little Foxes and the world premiere of two Theresa Rebeck plays, Fever and O Beautiful. At the REP he has directed Angels in America, Mousetrap, Anything to Declare and next fall will be directing the world premiere of The Patsy, a new adaptation of Feydeau’s Le Dindon by Greg Leaming.

Laureen E. Smith, an actress, recently finished working with Balle in the BSO’s world premiere of Mad But for Music and was seen by Washington audiences as Mrs. K in Rep Stage’s The Piano Teacher.

Recently returned from Vancouver, British Columbia, Smith was seen in John Patrick Shanley’s Beggars in the House of Plenty (Beaumont Stage), You Can't Take It With You and Shadowlands (Pacific Theatre), Itsazoo’s site-specific Debts and Andromache (Jericho Arts Centre), as well as in the Canadian feature film Rain Down and the Cannes Festival short invitee Tell Me.

Smith is a member of Directors Lab North and her directing credits include productions both in Canada and the U.S. She has taught at both the University of British Columbia and George Washington University, where she received her doctorate.

Dr. Michael Thomas Teixido is a native of Wilmington, Delaware, who completed his residency in otolaryngology at Loyola University of Chicago in 1990. He continued his training with subspecialization in neurotology (neurology and neurosurgery of ear problems) at Northwestern University, Southern Illinois University and the University of Chicago. Since 1991 he has been in neurotologic practice at Christiana Care Health Services and Nemours/duPont Hospital for Children where, in addition to his clinical practice, he continues his academic activity with clinical appointments at Thomas Jefferson University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  

Teixido founded the Delaware Otologic Medicine and Surgery Fellowship in 2006. He directs the Balance and Mobility Center at Christiana Care Health Systems, and is active in adult and pediatric cochlear implantation. He is a member of numerous professional societies related to otology and neurotology, regularly presents nationally and internationally and holds numerous editorial board positions. 

Teixido has contributed over 30 peer-reviewed publications to the medical literature. 

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