One of the University of Rhode Island’s most prestigious student chamber music ensembles, the Undergraduate Honors String Quartet, will close out this semester’s performance season at the university with their fall concert on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston. The URI Graduate String Quartet will also perform in this concert. Admission is free, with tickets available at the box office on a first-come basis starting 45 minutes before the concert.
Members of the Undergraduate Honors quartet are chosen annually by audition and must also meet strict academic standards. Coached by Susan Robison, they perform two full programs of advanced classical string ensemble music for the public each year in addition to other performances at schools and private functions. Performing will be: violinist Jennifer Langevin, from Franklin, Mass.; violinist Allison DuBois, from Miller Place, N.Y.; violist Christina Stavrakas, from Medfield, Mass., now of South Kingstown; and cellist Emily Johnston from North Kingstown.
Their program will feature four movements from F. J. Haydn’s String Quartet No. 38 in E flat major, Op. 33, No. 2: Allegro moderato, cantabile; Scherzo, Largo sostenuto, and Finale-Presto; Trois Chansons (three songs) from M. Ravel/arr. by Bill Holcombe Jr.: “Nicolette,” “Three Lovely Birds from Paradise,” and “Roundelay”; and the Allegro movement from String Quartet No.1 in D minor by J. C. Arriaga.
The Graduate Quartet, directed by Ann Danis, will offer the Allegro, Andante, and Presto from Mozart’s Divertimento in F Maor, K. 138; as well as the Hans Krasa piece, Theme and Variations, thought to have premiered in the Terezin concentration camp around 1944. Members of the ensemble are Kevin Koehler and Manuel Muller, violins; Annie Lagace, viola, and Morgan Santos, cello.
Allison DuBois, a senior Music Education and Violin Performance major at URI, began playing the violin at age 9. As a senior in high school, she performed a solo with the school's string orchestra. She has played in the Sound Symphony Orchestra on Long Island, as well as the South County Chamber Orchestra in Narragansett. In 2007, she participated in New York Opera's "Opera in a Nutshell" program, learning music from Puccini's "La Boheme" at Lincoln Center. This past summer, she participated in Manhattan School of Music's Inaugural Chamber Music Festival. DuBois studies with Ann Danis at URI and is co-concertmaster of the University Symphony Orchestra. This is her second year as a member of the Undergraduate Honors String Quartet. She has also played mellophone with the University Pep Band, and she sings with the Concert Choir. In the future, she plans to attend graduate school as a Violin Performance major, and hopes to pursue a career as an orchestral or chamber performer, as well as a teacher.
Jen Langevin is currently a freshman at URI studying both violin performance and mathematics. She began playing violin in fourth grade and has continued ever since, deciding to study music in college during her senior year of high school. She hopes to attend graduate school after URI and receive a degree in either education or violin performance. She plans to perform and teach music while still incorporating math into her career in some way.
Emily Johnston, a junior at URI, has been playing the cello for ten years and is studying to be a music teacher. This is her third year as a member of the Undergraduate Honors String Quartet and also as principal cellist of the URI Symphony Orchestra.
Christina Stavrakas, a junior at URI, has been playing music for 14 years. She began her studies on the violin at age 6, switching to viola in high school. While in high school, she performed with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. Last winter, she performed a solo piece with the URI Symphony Orchestra after winning their annual solo concerto competition. She has been teaching private violin and viola lessons for four years. Working towards a double degree in Music Performance and Psychology, Stavrakas hopes to pursue a career in one of the helping professions post graduation in either music therapy or clinical psychology, while continuing to perform and teach privately.
The Undergraduate Honors director, cellist Susan Robison, is a URI faculty guest artist with a Masters of Music degree in Performance from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelors of Music in Performance, cum laude, from Ball State University. She has performed with orchestras and in recitals and chamber music performances in the Midwestern U.S., New England and throughout France and Belize. In addition to her work at URI and teaching privately, Robison teaches cello at the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut where she is also co-director of the string chamber music program. She is an active chamber music coach, and is the program coordinator for ARIA International Summer Academy, where she is also on the cello faculty.
Ann Danis is well known as URI’s Director of Orchestral Activities and director of the URI Symphony Orchestra in addition to teaching, coaching ensembles, and conducting the Fall River Symphony Orchestra. A noted violist, she is also an active performer and guest conductor in the New England region and beyond.
The URI Concert Hall is handicap-accessible, and parking is available in the lot behind the Fine Arts Center, off Bills Road. For more information, contact the URI Department of Music at 874-2431 or check the website www.uri.edu/music.