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Professors perform Beethoven's complete sonatas

January 30, 2004

Photo of Jassen TodorovThe life and works of Beethoven are generally divided into three parts and now classical music fans will have a rare opportunity to enjoy all 10 of the great composer's sonatas for piano and violin in a trio of free evening concerts Feb. 3, 17, and March 2. Each concert begins at 7 p.m. in Knuth Hall in the Creative Arts Building.

Violinist Jassen Todorov and pianist William Corbett-Jones will perform the works in numerical order to show the development of Beethoven's style from his first sonata written at the age of 28 to No. 10 composed 14 years later when his deafness was tragically advancing.

"This is the first time in more than 20 years that the University has performed the complete cycle," said Todorov, who is in his second semester as assistant professor of violin in the School of Music and Dance. Corbett-Jones last performed the 10 sonatas on campus in the early '80s, he said.

Photo of William Corbett-JonesThe first concert's program features lighthearted sonatas from Beethoven's early period, Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4. "Cheerful, beautiful, witty, colorful, and classical -- a la Mozart," said Todorov.

Sonatas Nos. 5, 6 and 7 are on the program for the second concert Feb. 17. The program begins with the fifth sonata, a melodious composition about spring that exudes innocence and sweetness, and becomes more complex and dramatic with the sixth and seventh sonatas.

The last concert on March 2 features sonatas Nos. 8, 9 and 10. Written in 1812 when his reputation as a great composer was firmly in place and when his deafness was advancing, Beethoven's 10th sonata is "very intense, very symphonic, very mature and very serene," said Todorov.

Called "a violinist of rare technical ability who brings musicality to his performances," by the British music journal, The Strad, Bulgarian native Todorov first came to international attention after his Carnegie-Weill Recital Hall debut in 1999. Since then he has released two solo CDs featuring works by Brahms and contemporary composers. He is completing his doctor of musical arts at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, from which he also earned a master's degree in music.

Corbett-Jones has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Africa and the Far East as a recitalist, orchestra soloist and in collaboration with internationally renowned colleagues. The London Times dubbed him "among the most gifted of contemporary pianists."

-- Susan Arthur


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Last modified January 30, 2004, by the Office of Public Affairs