Faculty RecitalJoanna Kurkowicz, violin and Doris Stevenson, piano
Joanna Kurkowicz, violin, and Doris Stevenson, piano, present a duo recital titled Songs and dances of eternal beauty in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus. This free event is open to the public.
The concert celebrates the arts of song and dance through the melodic intensity of Mozart’s Sonata in B Major K. 454, the soulful blues of Ravel’s Sonata No. 2, and the tango and jazzy rhythms of Previn’s Tango Song and Dance. The program also includes the pinnacle of the solo violin repertoire — Bach’s monumental and brilliant Chaconne, which follows the exuberant dances of Partita in D Minor BWV 1004.
Ms. Kurkowicz and Ms. Stevenson have been performing together for over ten years, and frequently appear with the Williams Chamber Players.
Praised in Gramophone magazine for “disciplined virtuosity,” violinist Joanna Kurkowicz enjoys an active and versatile career as an award-winning soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and concertmistress. She has performed on many of the great concert stages of the world, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall, Boston and the Grosse Saal, Salzburg, and has appeared as a soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, the Jefferson Symphony, the San Luis Obispo Symphony, the New England String Ensemble, the Berkshire Symphony, the Poznan Philharmonic, the Polish National Radio Orchestra in Katowice and Warsaw and others. She has received awards from the Samuel Chester, Presser, Saint Botolph, Kosciuszko, and Olevsky Foundations, the Harvard Musical Association, the Irving McKlein International Competition, the Carmel and Coleman Chamber Music Competitions, and in Poland, the Henryk Wieniawski and Tadeusz Wronski International Competitions. She was recently a recipient of the New England Conservatory Outstanding Alumni Award. Ms. Kurkowicz currently serves as concertmistress of the Boston Philharmonic and the Berkshire Symphony, and previously held the same post for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Vermont Symphony. She was a member of the acclaimed Metamorphosen and Orpheus Chamber Orchestras. Since the fall of 2002 she has been Lyell B. Clay Artist in Residence at Williams.
Joanna Kurkowicz is a strong advocate of contemporary music and has premiered many works by living composers and made many recordings on such labels as Chandos, Bridge, Centaur, CRI, Albany, New World, Neuma, Capstone and Archetype. Her Chandos recording of Violin Concertos Nos 1, 3, and 7 by Bacewicz was awarded a ‘Golden Tuning Fork’ by the magazine Diapason d’or and reached No. 6 on Amazon’s chart of Best Classical Albums in 2009. A founding member and artistic advisor for the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston, she has been a guest artist at the Mozarteum Festival in Salzburg, Ravinia Festival, Bargemusic in New York, Asia Pacific Festival in Wellington, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, and Marthas’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society, among others. Joanna Kurkowicz plays a violin made by Pietro Giovanni Guarneri in 1699.
Ms. Stevenson has won lavish praise from critics and public alike in performances around the world. She has soloed with the Boston Pops, played at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Salle Pleyel in Paris, Sala de Musica Arango in Bogota, and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Her work as a collaborative pianist is marked by her acute sensitivity and musicianship. Ms. Stevenson has performed with Gregor Piatigorsky, Ruggiero Ricci and Paul Tortelier. Early in her career, she was invited by Heifetz and Piatigorsky to perform with them in their chamber concerts. She was pianist for the cello master classes of Piatigorsky, who described her as “an artist of the highest order.”
Doris Stevenson is deeply committed to performing new music. In the last three years she has played in concert the works of twenty living composers. She was the first woman to perform Frederick Rzewski’s masterpiece, De Profundis for speaking pianist, which she brought to New York City to perform as a Williams in New York concert. Her many recordings include six major works by David Kechley and two by Ileana Velazquez-Perez, the Saint Saens violin sonatas with Andres Cardenes, the complete Mendelssohn cello works with Jeffrey Solow, and the Brahms Sonatas with cellist Nathaniel Rosen. A CD of Stravinsky rarities with violinist Mark Peskanov received a Grammy nomination. Ms. Stevenson taught for ten years at the University of Southern California and has been Lyell B. Clay Artist in Residence at Williams since 1987.