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Scott Witzke

Alain Barker
IU Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jacobs School ensemble and students featured in "A Prairie Home Companion" this weekend

Feb. 13, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Three students and the spirited pre-college Violin Virtuosi ensemble from the IU Jacobs School of Music will take the stage this Saturday, Feb. 16, in the IU Auditorium as Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion comes to town. The live broadcast, hosted by public radio station WFIU, will also include Royal Academy of Radio Actors Tim Russell, Sue Scott and Fred Newman; and the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band.

"IU Jacobs School of Music heard on A Prairie Home Companion is the 'perfect radio' experience," said Christina Kuzmych, WFIU's station manager. "WFIU is proud to help make it happen."

Violin Virtuosi

Pre-college Violin Academy's Violin Virtuosi will perform during the live broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" in the IU Auditorium Feb. 16.

Print-Quality Photo

"A Prairie Home Companion represents the finest in radio theater world-wide, and we're thrilled that young students -- those who represent the future of music -- will be featured in this way," said Gwyn Richards, dean of the IU Jacobs School of Music. "We are delighted and deeply honored to have the Jacobs School invited to participate."

Directed by Jacobs School Professor Mimi Zweig, the Violin Virtuosi is the premier ensemble of the pre-college Violin Academy. The internationally travelled ensemble is made up of nine exceptionally gifted violinists between the ages of 13 and 18 who dedicate much of their lives to the ensemble. Their performance on A Prairie Home Companion will include selections from works by Fritz Kreisler, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Jacobs faculty member Atar Arad.

Esther Kim is one of the country's most promising young violinists, winning the Prix Du President at the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists in 2002. A year before, she won the Bronislaw Kaper Award and title for "Most Promising Musician" at the L.A. Philharmonic. Born in Southern California, Kim's studies have taken her across the U.S. and Europe. She is currently a student of Professor Jaime Laredo. Kim will be accompanied on the piano by Jacobs School Dean Emeritus Charles H. Webb and their performance will include Zapateado by Pablo de Sarasate.

Ignasi Cambra, a 2007-2008 Jacobs Scholar and bachelor's student in piano, is from Barcelona, Spain. Blind from birth, Cambra has won numerous international piano solo and chamber music competitions and has performed with several major orchestras in his home country. This past December, he played at the United Nations and Carnegie Hall. Cambra studies with Professor Edward Auer.

Aleksey Bogdanov, baritone, is a master's student at the Jacobs School who made his debut with IU Opera Theater last season as Abbate Cospicuo in Busoni's Arlecchino. A native of Odessa, Ukraine, Bogdanov moved to San Francisco at the age of 9. Bogdanov is a student of Andreas Poulimenos and will be heard again later this semester as the four villains in Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann.

A Prairie Home Companion will also feature comical skits by Keillor and the Prairie Home cast, including his signature monologue, "The News From Lake Wobegon."

A native Minnesotan, Keillor began working at Minnesota Public Radio in 1969. In the summer of 1974, he hosted the first live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, a program now heard weekly on more than 580 public radio stations by more than four million listeners. Keillor also hosts a daily five-minute radio program, The Writer's Almanac, heard weekdays on WFIU at 7 p.m., and is a frequent contributor to Time. He also is the author of 13 books and winner of numerous awards for his broadcasting and literary work.

A Prairie Home Companion is produced by Prairie Home Productions, and is presented and distributed by American Public Media. The program is sponsored nationally by Lands' End Direct Merchants and Select Comfort.

WFIU -- Public Radio from Indiana University -- broadcasts in Bloomington at 103.7 FM, with translators in Columbus at 100.7 FM, French Lick/West Baden at 101.7 FM, Greensburg at 98.9 FM, Kokomo at 106.1 FM and Terre Haute at 95.1 FM. WFIU is an NPR member station offering local and national news as well as jazz and classical music.

As one of the most comprehensive and acclaimed institutions for the study of music, the IU Jacobs School of Music plays a key role in educating performers, scholars, composers, dancers and music educators who influence performance and education around the globe. The 170 full-time faculty members in residence at the Jacobs School include performers, scholars, composers and teachers of international renown. The more than 1,600 students from all 50 states and 55 countries outside the United States who study at the Jacobs School benefit from the intensity and focus of a conservatory combined with the broad academic offerings of a major university.

For more information about Prairie Home Companions' visit to Bloomington, visit