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Audubon Quartet Finds Its Musical Preserve in Virginia

November 01, 1987|JOHN HENKEN

The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is probably not an institution that immediately arouses the attention of musicians. But the Audubon String Quartet has found its residence there mutually rewarding.

"This is what a university should be," cellist Thomas Shaw said recently. "A place of learning, of experimenting, of growing . . . a place for really expanding your mind. And I think the quartet fits in fine. We all feel that we're enriched by this."

What is unusual about the Audubon's residence at Virginia Polytechnic--now in its seventh year--is that the players are not also members of the music department faculty. Rather, the ensemble is used to generate a profile for the university, which has been very helpful in recruiting faculty.

The quartet also goes into classrooms of disciplines outside the music area, such as architecture and physics. Shaw describes the quartet as "a viable, vital teaching element. We get their (the students') ears out of a textbook, and give them an 'ears-on' experience."

Friday the Audubon Quartet appears as part of the Doheny Soirees at Mount St. Mary's College, bringing with it Peter Schickele's "American Dreams." Schickele may be better known as P.D.Q. Bach, but this quartet is a serious effort--"a broad cross of Americana" in Shaw's words. "American Dreams" was composed for the Audubon Quartet, as was Ezra Laderman's Sixth Quartet, and the ensemble's RCA recording of both is due out soon.

Haydn's Quartet in B-flat, Opus 50, No. 1, and Smetana's Quartet in E minor complete the Doheny program. For information, call the Da Camera Society, (213) 747-9085.

FESTIVAL REDUX: The Rudy Perez Performance Ensemble is offering a dance retrospective of the Los Angeles Festival this Saturday and Nov. 8, 14 and 15 at the Los Angeles Photography Center. Entitled "Perpetual Acts," the event is a collage of works that received their premieres at the festival. Information: (213) 383-7342.

SYMPHONY SEASON: Each of the five concerts scheduled by the Riverside Symphony this season will feature a different guest conductor, as the orchestra searches for a new music director following the departure of Lawrence Christianson to teach in West Virginia. Patrick Flynn leads a pops program Saturday to open the season in Riverside Municipal Auditorium.

VOCAL BENEFIT: The Los Angeles Vocal Arts Ensemble is presenting a special benefit program this evening in Shatto Chapel of First Congregational Church. Proceeds from the concert--listing music by Schubert, Faure, Rossini, MacDowell and Sondheim--will be used to help defray the medical expenses of ensemble member Dale Morich, who is suffering from throat cancer. Information: (213) 385-1341.

SCREAM: The 1987 Southern California Resource for Electro-Acoustic Music Festival takes place Saturday at UCLA. Eighteen composers will be represented on three programs in Schoenberg Auditorium. The programs include real-time computer performances, taped music, pieces for live performers and tape, and such diverse elements as the robot choreography of Margo Apostolos.

SHOSTAKOVICH PREMIERE: Saturday, the Long Beach Symphony gives the apparent West Coast premiere of Shostakovich's 13th Symphony, composed in 1962. The Yevtushenko texts in all five movements of the symphony--subtitled "Babi Yar"--deal with social and civic repression and persecution. The performers include bass Thomas Paul, the Cal State Long Beach Men's Chorus and the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles.

PEOPLE: CalArt's Stephen Mosko has been named principal guest conductor of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.

Local composer Bruce Babcock's Three Songs on Texts of Rilke will be given their San Francisco premiere today, with tenor Jonathan Mack the soloist.

Susan Marshall, whose dance company appeared in the recent Los Angeles Festival, was one of five recipients of the first American Choreographers Awards, established by the National Corporate Fund for Dance to recognize emerging choreographers.

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