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Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Ryan Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, October 1, 2009

IU President's Concert to feature the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and violinist Alexander Kerr

Oct. 1, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra returns to Bloomington on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m. for the inaugural Indiana University President's Concert in the Musical Arts Center.

The concert, offered free by the university to the campus and Bloomington community, will be conducted by renowned maestro Juanjo Mena and will feature Jacobs School of Music Professor Alexander Kerr in a performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. Kerr is also the principal guest concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Additional works on the program include Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5 and IU composer and Jacobs Professor Claude Baker's "Aus Schwanengesang."

Jacobs Professor Alexander Kerr will perform Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 11 at 3 p.m. at Bloomington's Musical Arts Center.

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"I am delighted that this inaugural concert will feature such a distinguished group of musicians, including Alexander Kerr from Indiana University's internationally renowned Jacobs School of Music," IU President Michael McRobbie said. "The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is highly regarded around the nation and the world for its exceptional musicianship, and I have no doubt that its members will deliver a very special performance. I am also pleased that we could present this concert as part of our Celebrate IU festivities, which honor, among other areas, the university's longstanding tradition of excellence in the arts."

The President's Concert, sponsored by the IU Office of the President and Jacobs School of Music, is designed to showcase the vast musical resources of the university and surrounding community. The inaugural concert, which will be held during IU's Homecoming Week, does not require tickets and will be general seating.

"It is always exciting to have the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in Bloomington," said Jacobs School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards. "Their appearance on our season is fast becoming a tradition and this year is made all the more special through its selection as the presidential concert. Not only do we look forward to hearing the ISO's accomplished artists, but we also have the opportunity to hear the work of conductor Juanjo Mena, hear Professor Alex Kerr in the Mendelssohn Concerto and to experience Professor Claude Baker's 'Aus Schwanengesang,' which hasn't been heard in Bloomington since 2002 and was composed in memory of Peter Worsley, a longtime member of the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Symphony."

About Juanjo Mena

Recently appointed principal guest conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway, Juanjo Mena is one of the most distinguished and dynamic conductors of his generation. Relinquishing his post as music director of the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 1999, Mena continues as chief guest conductor at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa. Born in Vitoria, Spain, he has worked with most of the principal symphony and chamber orchestras of his native country.

Mena is increasingly in demand and has appeared with the BBC Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Berner Symphonie-Orchester, Bucharest Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orquesta Filarmónica de Santiago, Orquesta Sinfônica de São Paulo, Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife, Oslo Philharmonic, RSO/Berlin, Staatsphilharmonie/Rheinland-Pfalz, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra and the Opera di Trieste. Festival appearances include La Folle Journée (Nantes), La Roque d'Anthéron International Piano Festival, the White Nights Festival (St. Petersburg) and numerous festivals with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra.

In the summer of 2004, Mena's North American debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra resulted in an ongoing relationship: following annual appearances since 2006, he will conduct two subscription weeks in both 2009-10 and 2010-11. Mena has also appeared with the Indianapolis, Kansas City and Oregon symphonies. Upcoming North American debuts include the Atlanta Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Houston Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Grant Park Festival.

About Alexander Kerr

Alexander Kerr, professor of violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and former concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, accepted the position of principal guest concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2007. Kerr continues teaching and performing at the Jacobs School while performing with the ISO and in solo and chamber engagements throughout Europe, North America and the Far East. In 1996, at the age of 26, he was appointed concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has also been concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Kerr has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras throughout the United States and Europe and as a chamber musician at some of the world's premier music festivals. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with a number of the world's top musicians, including Grammy Award-winning musicians and Jacobs alumni Joshua Bell and Edgar Meyer. He recently toured Europe with acclaimed violinist Sarah Chang and members of the Berlin Philharmonic. He also has launched a new piano trio with pianist Anton Nel and cellist Paul Watkins.

A faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado, Kerr regularly presents master classes at several of the nation's leading music schools and conservatories.

About Claude Baker

Professor of Music and internationally recognized composer Claude Baker has written for many leading orchestras, including those of Saint Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Louisville, as well as the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfonica de RTV Española and the Orquesta Nacional de España.

Honors for his work include an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; two Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards; the Eastman-Leonard and George Eastman Prizes; a "Manuel de Falla" Prize (Madrid); BMI-SCA and ASCAP awards; commissions from the Fromm and Koussevitzky Music Foundations; and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation and the state arts councils of Indiana, Kentucky and New York. In 2007, he received the Indiana University Sonneborn Award in honor of his work as a teacher, scholar, and artist.

Baker has served on the faculties of the University of Georgia and the University of Louisville and has been a Visiting Professor at the Eastman School of Music. At the beginning of the 1991-92 concert season, he was appointed Composer-in-Residence of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for eight years. In recognition of his contributions to the St. Louis community during that period, Mr. Baker was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1999.

Baker attained his doctoral degree from the Eastman School of Music, where his principal composition teachers were Samuel Adler and Warren Benson. His works are published by MMB Music and Carl Fischer, and are recorded on the ACA, Gasparo and Louisville First Edition labels.