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March 3, 2011

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab




Annual SRU Baker Scholarship Concert premieres Barr work


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The Slippery Rock University music department’s eighth annual Dwight and Jeane Baker Memorial Scholarship Concert will include the premiere of a work by Stephen Barr, SRU assistant professor of music.

           The “Confluence” concert, presented by the Slippery Rock Piano Trio, is at 7:30 p.m., March 20, in Swope Music Hall.

           The trio includes SRU music faculty Warren Davidson, assistant professor, on violin; Paige Riggs, instructor, on cello; and Nanette Kaplan Solomon, professor, on piano.

           Also on the program are chamber works by Romantic and contemporary composers, including a work for violin and cello by Bohuslav Martinu and Antonin Dvorak’s piano trio “Dumky.”

           Barr’s “Confluence: A Fantasy for Piano Trio,” was composed for the Slippery Rock Piano Trio at the request of Kaplan Solomon. “The piece is cast as a fantasy or ‘fantasia,’ a freely evolving composition that does not correspond to any formal musical structure or design,” Barr said. “ Specifically, ‘Confluence’ is conceived as a piece in what I call ‘organic form’; that is, a number of small musical ideas are created first, and the work then grows outward from these cells, through transformations, subtle interrelationships and the interlacing of different ideas.”

           “The concept is somewhat analogous to how crystalline structures form in nature, but not quite as rigid in its development. This organicism is coupled with the reprise of significant passages, so that the total construction is a sonic tapestry woven from strands of all the musical ideas, where the listener hears everything as being familiar to some degree,” Barr said.

           “The title itself comes from the definition of the word as being a merging point; in this work, it applies in two senses of the word. First, there are points in the work where all of the musical themes interweave in close proximity or simultaneously, so there is a gathering or confluence of themes.”

           “Secondly, while this work contains its own original musical material, it also contains quotations of nearly every work I have composed over the last five years; these are referenced and transformed in new ways that do not exist in their original contexts. Therefore, ‘Confluence’ is a merging point for much of my compositional thinking of the last half decade,” Barr said.

Barr joined the SRU faculty in 2006. He teaches music theory, orchestration, music technology, choral conducting and methods, and conducts the SRU Concert Choir, SRU Women’s Choir and SRU Chamber Singers.

            He has served as an adjunct instructor of music theory at the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa and also taught in the Florida public school system.

            He earned his music degrees from Westminster College, the University of South Florida and his doctorate at West Virginia University, where he was awarded a Sweiger Doctoral Fellowship.

            He has been a resident at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and the Aspen Music School and Festival in Aspen, Colo.

            His 2010 work “Ethereal Wave” for solo euphonium and percussion was performed at the Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference in Washington, D.C., and the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference in Tucson, Ariz.

           Kaplan Solomon performs frequently as soloist and chamber musician. She has presented lecture-recitals at the College Music Society national meetings in San Diego, Savannah, Cleveland, San Juan, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, and Quebec City and has performed at international conferences in Berlin, Vienna, Kyoto, Limerick, Costa Rica and Madrid.

Her involvement with the works of women composers has led to invitations to perform at several feminist theory and music conferences, including the American Music/American Women Symposium in Boulder, Colo., the Athena Festival in Murray. Ky., and at six of the International Festivals of Women Composers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has been a soloist with orchestras in Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and a featured artist with the Butler, Youngstown (Ohio) and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras.

Solomon has also performed at the Phillips Collection and the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., Wigmore Hall in London, the Lincoln Center Library in New York City, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. A former board member for performance of the College Music Society, she also served on the editorial board of the American Music Teacher. She recently completed a term as board member of the IAWM and is currently president of the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association.

She has produced three compact discs.

Solomon received her early training as a scholarship student at the Juilliard School. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Yale College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, a master of music from the Yale School of Music and a D.M.A. from Boston University

Riggs grew up in the Boston area and moved to Pittsburgh in 2002. She earned degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University-Bloomington and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she was awarded a doctorate of musical arts in 2000.

She joined the SRU faculty in 2009 and has served on the music faculties at the University of Virginia and Lawrence University. She has been principal cellist and soloist at the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival since 1999, and performed and taught for many years at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, N.C.

She has been a guest artist at numerous music festivals and concert series, including the Music on the Edge Series in Pittsburgh, the Foothills Music Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., the Garth Newel Music Festival in Warm Springs, Va., the June in Buffalo Festival in Buffalo, N.Y., and the Embassy Concert Series in Washington, D.C.

While a student she received fellowships from the Spoleto Music Festival, the Bach Aria Festival and the Tanglewood Music Center, which awarded her the C. D. Jackson Memorial Prize in 1997. She has performed as the principal cellist of the Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra and currently serves in that that position in the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra and the McKeesport Symphony.

Davidson conducts the Slippery Rock University Symphony Orchestra and teaches violin and viola. He earned his bachelor of arts in philosophy and psychology at Duquesne University before turning to full-time violin study.

He completed his master of music degree in violin at Duquesne, his master of arts in theory and composition at the University of Pittsburgh, a certificate of advanced studies in chamber music at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and earned a doctor of musical arts degree from West Virginia University where he was granted a Swiger Fellowship. Davidson is very active as an orchestral concertmaster, recitalist and teacher.

He was recently named music director of the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra.

           All proceeds from the event go to the Dwight and Jeane Baker Memorial Scholarship Fund, which grants an award each year to an incoming string or piano major. The Bakers, who retired in 1983 from SRU’s music department, were long-time devoted faculty members.

       The suggested minimum donation is $10 for adults and $5 for students. Contributions above that amount are tax deductable.

           For reservations or further information, call 724.738.2063.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.