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Jacobs School of Music

Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Thursday, May 14, 2009

IU Virtuosi to give concert tour of France

May 14, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Virtuosi, a collection of nine young violinists, violists and cellists in the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music's Pre-College String Academy, will leave May 25 to perform a series of concerts across France, returning June 8.

Members of this year's group, who perform both as soloists and as an ensemble, include violinists Brian Allen, 15; Alex Ayers, 18; Zoe Martin-Doike, 19; and Stephanie Zyzak, 15; violinists/violists Sangwoo Kim, 18; Ren Martin-Doike, 17; and Daniel Wunderle, 18; cellists Nathan Vickery, 17, and Jacobsen Woollen, 16; and pianist Jayoung Kim, a doctoral student of Distinguished Professor Menahem Pressler.

The tour is primarily funded by the Starling Foundation, a long-standing supporter of the school and program. This will be the sixth time the foundation has sponsored an international tour of this kind.

"We're very grateful to the Starling Foundation for its support through the years. Without their generosity and belief in the string program, this life-changing experience for these very talented musicians wouldn't be possible," said Mimi Zweig, professor of violin, artistic director of the Virtuosi and director of the IU Pre-College String Academy.

Starling began its close association with the Jacobs School in 1983 and began supporting the Pre-College String Academy in 2003.

Over the past few years, the Virtuosi completed four successful tours of France and, in 2004, was enthusiastically received on its tour of Japan. In 2006, the group toured Sweden, Spain and Italy, where it presented the entire Beethoven Violin Sonata Cycle.

Zweig will travel with the students on the trip, along with co-directors Brenda Brenner and Susan Moses.

"This is probably the seventh or eighth trip abroad with the kids over the years, six of them funded by the Starling Foundation," said Zweig. "It has a lasting influence on the musical and personal lives of these young people. The experience adds a whole new dimension to their lives, and they remember it forever."

The performers are gifted students from Bloomington and beyond who study at the Pre-College String Academy at the IU Jacobs School of Music. They are immersed in an intense musical curriculum of weekly private lessons, chamber music, theory, master classes and rehearsals.

The repertoire for this tour includes music by Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Wieniawski, Brahms, Ravel, Copland, Bartok, Kreisler and Martinu.

Public Television recently released the Emmy Award-nominated documentary Circling Around -- The Violin Virtuosi, which has been aired throughout the United States.

"These young people are America's best ambassadors, and we've seen over time that their playing affects people on such a personal level," explained Zweig. "We play for young people, old people, teachers, people who love music. They show America at its best, and that has a real impact on the people we meet."

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