Rawlins Piano Trio and Friends to Present Quintets of Medtner and Elgar

Image Rawlins Trio and Friends Performers Julia Bullard, viola; Marie-Elaine Gagnon, cello; Katie Wolfe, violin; Eunho Kim, violin; Susan Keith Gray, piano. Not pictured is violinist Tara Lynn Ramsey. (Courtesy: William Witt)

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Guest artists Katie Wolfe, Tara Lynn Ramsey and Julia Bullard will join Eunho Kim, Marie-Elaine Gagnon and Susan Keith Gray of the Rawlins Piano Trio for a free concert of piano quintets by Medtner and Elgar at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 26, in Colton Recital Hall in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.

Russian pianist and composer Nicolai Medtner completed his Piano Quintet in C Major (opus posthumous) in 1948, after having begun it in 1904. He presented it as a summation of his life’s work by using quotes and sketches from earlier works and through the use of personally meaningful biblical texts set to melodies played by the violin. A plainsong chant opens the first movement of the Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84 by British composer Edward Elgar. Written at his country estate in 1918, the dramatic work is rumored to be based on a legend of sacrilegious Spanish monks turned into gnarled trees by a lightning strike. 

The musicians first performed together last summer as invited artists in the Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival in Cedar Falls/Waterloo, Iowa. This reunion includes a tour of Vermillion, Cedar Falls (Jan. 27) and Iowa City, Iowa (Jan. 28). 

Violinist Ramsey, originally from Cedar Falls, holds degrees from Northwestern University and the Cleveland Institute of Music. She is co-concertmaster of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, performs with the Civic Orchestra String Quartet and teaches at Triton College.

Originally from Minnesota, violinist Wolfe enjoys a career as an active soloist, teacher, recording artist, chamber musician and orchestral leader. She is on the faculty of the University of Iowa and the Assisi Music Festival in Italy. She is a founding member of the Matisse Piano Trio and the Wolfe/Nez Duo, a duo that performs and records 20th and 21st century works for violin and piano. Wolfe holds degrees from Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music.

Bullard is professor of viola and associate director of the School of Music at the University of Northern Iowa. Recent solo and chamber engagements include performances in Russia, Central and South America, New York, Illinois and Iowa. She received her bachelor and master’s degrees from Temple University in Philadelphia and the DMA degree from the University of Georgia.

All three artists of the Rawlins Piano Trio -- pianist Susan Keith Gray, violinist Eunho Kim and cellist Marie-Elaine Gagnon -- are faculty members in the University of South Dakota Department of Music.

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