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Cassatt String Quartet coming to Odessa

April 24, 2012

The New York-based Cassatt String Quartet will perform its sixth annual mini-residency, entitled “Cassatt in the Basin,” Sunday through Saturday, May 5, designed to give area students the opportunity to study with artist-teachers and develop chamber music audiences of the future.

According to Lynda L.Ciolek, spokesperson for the Quartet, the program — sponsored by the Ector County Independent School District's Education Foundation — continues work begun by the Cassatt String Quartet in November 2007.

“Members of the Cassatt String Quartet — Muneko Otani, violin; Jennifer Leshnower, violin; Sarah Adams, viola; and Nicole Johnson, cello — will instruct junior high and high school string students,” said Ciolek. “Jan Mayfield, Odessa High School orchestra director, spearheaded this project with her colleague, Todd Berridge, Permian High School’s orchestra director.

“The Cassatt String Quartet will offer student quartet coaching, master classes in which the quartet will hear and critique students performing their pieces. That includes demonstrations by the quartet of proper communication, interpretation and performance technique, as well as open rehearsals and concert performances.”

Set Sunday through May 5 at various locations in Odessa, Ciolek said the program is open to all Permian Basin students and teachers.

“Teachers and students from Permian and Odessa High Schools, ECISD, MISD, Odessa College, Midland College, UTPB Howard College and other communities in the Permian Basin are welcome to attend any educational and performance events,” said Ciolek. “All events are free to the public.”

Ciolek said the program will kick off Sunday with a special spring seminar from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Wanger Noel Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Texas at the Permian Basin, located at 1310 N. FM 1788 in Midland. The event is free and open to the public.

“Members of the quartet will conduct a master-class with the video and audio aspects broadcast via the streaming server on campus,” said Ciolek. “The master-class will include an interactive question and answer session for students from other campuses.”

For more information on the program, contact Todd Berridge at todd.berridge@ectorcountyisd.org or Jan Mayfield at Jan_Mayfield@yahoo.com

The Cassatt celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006 with a series of world-premieres and a performance at the Library of Congress on the Library's Stradivarius Collection. Recently, the Cassatt offered concerts for the American Academy in Rome, Cornell and Syracuse Universities, were guest clinicians at the the Texas Music Educators Association and gave mini-residencies at the Centro National de las Artes in Mexico City, Vassar College and the University of Texas at Austin.

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