MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

February 4, 2017 

 University and Community Fine Arts Series brings world-class musicians to Mayville


We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to bring world-class musicians to the stage of the Mayville State University Classroom Building Auditorium via the annual MSU and Community Fine Arts Series. The concerts are of great educational benefit to Mayville State students, and are open for the enjoyment of all. I encourage all community members to take advantage of the exceptional opportunity to see some of the best artists in the world perform right here on our campus each year.

Although two of the concerts have already been held, the 2016-2017 Mayville State University and Community Fine Arts Series includes a total of five concerts by performers who have earned recognition for their talent and level of musicianship. Mayville State partners with the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks for the series of concerts. Musicians will perform in Grand Forks on Sundays before making their Monday appearances at Mayville. Each concert in the series is performed in the MSU Classroom Building Auditorium. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening. A pre-concert social is held at the Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center from 6:30 to 7 p.m., prior to each of the concerts.

The next concert in the series is planned for Monday, Feb. 6. Gilles Vonsattel, Swiss-born American pianist, will perform at the Classroom Building Auditorium. Vonsattel was a winner of Canada’s 2009 Honens Piano Competition, He is also a top-prize winner at the Naumberg and Geneva competitions. Drawing acclaim for his “tightly conceived and passionately performed” recital programs, Vonsattel’s recently released album, “Shadowlines,” was described by The New York Times as a “mesmerizing disc by the immensely talented pianist Gilles Vonsattel.” His 2011 recording for the Honens/Naxos label of music by Debussy, Honegger, Holliger, and Ravel was named one of Time Out New York’s classical albums of the year, while a 2014 release on GENUIN/Artist Consort received a 5/5 FonoForum and international critical praise.

Pius Cheung will perform at Mayville State Monday, Feb. 27. Dubbed a “neo-Romantic marimba virtuoso,” Pius Cheung is widely known as a master soloist on his unusual instrument. His brilliant CD of Bach’s Goldberg Variations was written about in a feature story in The New York Times, which praised not only the technical feat of performing the intricacies of this keyboard work with four mallets, but also expressed admiration for his “deeply expressive interpretation, notable for its clear voicing, eloquent phrasing and wide range of color and dynamics.” His second CD, Symphonic Poem, presents Cheung’s own compositions, and was released at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in 2009. As a composer, Cheung’s Three Etudes won first prize in the Classical Marimba League’s Competition in 2007. He has also composed a Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra, and collections of preludes, etudes, and sonatas.

The last concert in this year’s series will be Monday, April 3 and feature Amit Peled, cello, who performed in last season’s concert series. He returns as a part of a wonderful “Peled Celebration,” as his sister, Zemer Peled, will open her porcelain sculpture show at the North Dakota Museum of Art Sunday afternoon, April 2. Amit’s performance is titled “Journey with my Jewishness.” This compelling program follows Amit’s personal, musical, and spiritual journey from his childhood growing up in a small kibbutz in Israel – along with his sister, Zemer – and listening to his mother singing the traditional tune Eli Eli, to playing Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei as a young cellest and personally connecting with the Yom Kippur message, Amit explores the ups and downs of life and the desire to balance tradition, identity, and self-expression. Among other works, the program features Mark Kopytman’s heart-wrenching Kaddish and Ernest Blocch’s beloved three scenes From Jewish Life.

All concerts in the series are open to the public. I hope that you will have the opportunity to join us for one or all of the remaining performances this year. Admission for individual performances is $13.00 for adults and $5.00 for high school students. Mayville State students are admitted free of charge with college identification. For more information, contact MSU and Community Fine Arts Series Coordinator Cody Hunter at 701-788-4742 or