Faculty cellist Leonid Shukaev, a founding member of the St. Petersburg String Quartet, will appear as soloist with the Wichita State University Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, in Miller Concert Hall. Featuring music by Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, and Mason Bates, the program will be conducted by Mark Laycock, director of Orchestras.
Tickets are $7 with discounts available through the College of Fine Arts Box Office at (316) 978-3233 or www.wichita.edu/fineartsboxoffice.
Shukaev will perform Tchaikosky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, a virtuosic showpiece for cello and orchestra. The work, named for an ornate style of early classical music, ranges in mood from melancholy to impetuous, intimate to heroic. Despite its title, musicologists believe the theme is Tchaikovsky's own original creation.
The program also features Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique, one of the first great masterworks of the Romantic era. The revolutionary, faintly autobiographical work, composed when Berlioz was 26 years old, is a powerful, vibrant depiction of obsessive love and its fatal consequences. Opening the concert will be "White Lies for Lomax" by contemporary composer Mason Bates. Its jazz-inspired rhythm and harmony pay tribute to ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, one of the first scholars to preserve the music of the American South.
A graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Shukaev studied with Emanuel Fishmann, the teacher of Misha Maisky and Boris Pergamenshikov. Shukaev served on the faculties of the St. Petersburg Conservatory and the Rimsky-Korsakov Music College, where he held the position of professor of cello and string quartet. He is also a former faculty member of the Oberlin Conservatory.
Several of his students have been winners of international competitions, and many of them now play in European and Russian orchestras and teach in conservatories in Russia.