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Classical to folk: Trio Voronezh to present season’s final HBPA concert

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HESSTON, KAN. – Trio Voronezh will present the final concert of the Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts (HBPA) season at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 5, at Hesston Mennonite Church, performing works by Strauss, Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi, as well as folk and traditional songs and popular standards, all on traditional Russian instruments.

“Since their 1996 U.S. debut, Trio Voronezh has created a sensation wherever they’ve performed,” commented HBPA chair Matthew Schloneger. “They are able to produce an astonishing sound using three simple Russian folk instruments and their eclectic repertoire will be sure to please music lovers of all types.”

Founded in 1993, Trio Voronezh started their career playing in small concert halls in Germany, France and the Netherlands. They made their U.S. debut at the Oregon Bach Festival, where they became an instant hit. Since then, their career has continued to rise, with concert appearances in Europe, a music video filmed in the United States and a return to the Oregon Bach Festival in 1997 and 1999. On the eve of their 1998 U.S. tour, Trio Voronezh appeared on public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor.

In 2003, the trio made its orchestral debut with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra in a highly successful collaboration with Doc Severinsen. During the 2003-2004 season, Trio Voronezh performed with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and in numerous recitals across the country.

The trio’s diverse repertoire ranges from the works of Bach, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky to Russian folk songs, gypsy dance music, and popular songs by Gershwin. This ever-expanding concert material is arranged by the trio’s members and performed with extraordinary virtuosity entirely from memory. More recently they have added works by Astor Piazzolla, Alfred Schnittke, Shostakovich and Strauss.

Classically trained at the Conservatory in Voronezh, Russia, Valerie Petrukhin, Vladimir Volokhin (National Champion, All-Russian Domra Competition) and Sergei Teleshev, formed the trio in 1993 in their native working-class city of Voronezh. They play traditional Russian folk instruments: a double-bass balalaika (the three-stringed Russian national instrument, with a triangular body made of fir); a domra (a three-stringed short-necked ancestor of the mandolin); and a bajan (a chromatic-button accordion, with various registers).

This program is presented in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

Tickets for Trio Voronezh range from $14 to $17 with discounts available to students and senior citizens. Free child care is available to patrons who request the service in advance. Call 620-327-8158 or 316-284-2505 or e-mail to order tickets or for more information.

Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts has also announced an April 24 concert featuring John McCutcheon. McCutcheon is folk music’s Renaissance man – a master instrumentalist, a powerful singer-songwriter, a storyteller, activist and author. All proceeds from the concert will benefit HBPA’s Endowment Fund. Premium tickets ($100) include the best seats in the house and an after-concert reception with McCutcheon. Concert tickets are $25 to $30 with discounts available for students. The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Hesston Mennonite Church in Hesston.

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