Faculty Recital: Scott Woolweaver, viola

101010 Woolweaver poster.jpg
10/10/2010 - 3:00pm


Program Notes

Scott Woolweaver, viola

The Williams College Department of Music presents faculty member Scott Wooweaver in a viola recital on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, at 3 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus. This free event is open to the public.

Woolweaver will be joined by SUNY Potsdam faculty member and fellow violist Shelly Tramposh as well as pianists Doris Stevenson and Cullan Bryant.

Have you ever noticed that solo stars of the concert stage are “high”? Even though they may be perfectly on pitch, and perfectly sober – they tend to perform in the upper frequencies: the soprano, the tenor, the violinist, the trumpeter and the flutist are the ones to stand in the limelight. Other lower range musicians must content themselves as supporting voices. Traditionally an instrument that dwells in the lower register doesn’t get to speak out as often or as forcefully. The “high” instruments carry much better in difficult settings, a factor important in days gone by. This factor, in our acoustically enlightened age, is no longer an excuse for the modern composer or listener to overlook the altos, the baritones and the basses. It is certainly never an issue in any of the fantastic concert settings found at Williams College. With this concert, we all have an excellent opportunity to acquaint ourselves and delight in the dulcet sounds of a lesser-known solo instrument.

On a daily basis, master musician Scott Woolweaver challenges old notions of who is allowed to stand in the limelight and who is not. Mr. Woolweaver, a denizen of the middle register, plays the viola. Larger and lower than the violin, it is just as dexterous as its smaller cousin and has a richer and fuller sound. In the hands of a virtuoso like Mr. Woolweaver, all prejudices against this alto voice are not so much banished as they are smothered in a velvet-smooth dark chocolate sauce of ethereally lush sound.

Composers, luckily, have been unable to resist the viola’s seductive power. Mr. Woolweaver presents a program which opens a window on the world of the viola soloist with pieces from different periods. Works of Schumann and Glazunov offer a classical experience for viola followers. This is also a rare opportunity to double your pleasure with two viola soloists, as guest violist Shelly Tramposh  joins Mr. Woolweaver for Two Pieces for Two Violas by Richard Cornell. Ms. Tramposh also performs something hot (and fast) off the press: Etwas für Bratsch’ (etwas rasch) (2010) by Paul Siskind. She also performs Hindemith, whose monumental Sonata for Viola and Piano (1939) provides both the soloist and the pianist with a workout which is both provocative and challenging for the listener.

Violists, as well as fans of classical music and modern art music will no doubt want to find themselves in the audience. Especially encouraged, however, are those who love the sopranos, trumpeters and other standard-bearers of the high frequencies: this is a chance to bask in what is otherwise in the background, or underground. Mr. Woolweaver and his viola are sure to please and surprise – all for free – which is surely the healthiest and best priced high on offer anywhere.

Scott Woolweaver graduated with Distinction from the University of Michigan School of Music where he won the Earl V. Moore and Joseph Knitzer awards for outstanding participation in chamber music, before moving to Boston for graduate studies with Walter Trampler. While at U of M, he founded the Vaener String Trio, which won the Grand Prize at the Joseph Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and later founded the Boston Composers String Quartet, which won the Silver Medal at the String Quartet Competition and Chamber Music Festa in Osaka, Japan. Currently he is a member of the Grammy-nominated Baroque ensemble Boston Baroque, the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston, and Alea III, a contemporary ensemble in residence at Boston University. Scott is a regular guest of the Martha's Vineyard Chamber Music Society and is Director of the Adult Chamber Music Institute at Kneisel Hall in Blue Hill, ME. He is also Lecturer in Viola and Chamber Music at Tufts University.  In 2005 he was named Artist Associate at Williams College. He plays a Johan Georg Thir viola made in Vienna in 1737.


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