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HBPA event to include convocation by Tracy Silverman

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HESSTON, KAN. – Three Part Invention, an instrumental ensemble of violin, piano and cello, will present the fifth and final concert in the 2010-11 Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts Series at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 17, at Hesston Mennonite Church on the Hesston College campus.

Tracy Silverman, who plays both traditional and electric violin in Three Part Invention, will present a convocation program Friday, April 15, at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium.

The trio, described as “three of the most talented instrumentalists ever to mutate from the classical gene pool,” will perform reinterpretations of classical repertoire as well as original works and pieces from their new, self-titled, all-Bach CD.

Silverman, pianist Philip Aaberg and cellist Eugene Friesen break classical performance conventions by infusing classical sounds with jazz, pop and world influences.

“We are excited to have these three pioneering giants of classical crossover come together in Hesston to explore the fusion of classical masterpieces with jazz, blues, New Orleans roots music and free improvisation,” said HBPA director Matthew Schloneger.

All three musicians have roots in the classical style and bring contemporary sounds of rock, world influences and jazz to their solo careers as well.

“Area arts patrons may be familiar with all three members of Three Part Invention,” said Schloneger. “Tracy Silverman performed spectacularly as an electric violin soloist with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra last year, and Philip Aaberg and Eugene Friesen have appeared in various venues across Kansas over the last several years, including the Stiefel Theatre in Salina, the McPherson Opera House and the Lawrence Arts Center.”

Aaberg, a Grammy-nominated pianist, was the recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Music Scholarship at Harvard, where he honed his piano and chamber music skills and was invited to participate in the Marlboro (Vt.) Music Festival, known worldwide for developing musical leaders. He has performed his American West-inspired music around the world in solo concerts and with major orchestras such as the Boston Pops. He has also worked with a diverse group of artists including Peter Gabriel, Elvin Bishop, John Hiatt, Maria Muldaur, the Doobie Brothers and the Paul Dresher Ensemble. In 1995, he received the Montana Governor’s Award for the Arts.

Silverman is a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York City and has been recognized as the leading figure in the field of electric violin. Pulitzer-prize winning composer John Adams wrote the electric violin concerto “Dharma at Big Sur” expressly for Silverman, praised by the BBC as “the greatest living exponent of the electric violin.” Silverman was first violinist with the San Francisco-based Turtle Island String Quartet, the first string quartet to achieve success with rhythms and improvisations. He teaches jazz violin in Nashville at both Belmont University and Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.

Cellist Eugene Friesen’s long tenure with the Paul Winter Consort, one of the earliest representatives of world music, has established him as one of the first and greatest contemporary improvising cellists. Friesen’s gift for improvisatory music has been featured worldwide with Trio Globo and poets Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Robert Bly and Coleman Banks. He won Grammy awards in 1994 and 2006 for his contributions to two Paul Winter Consort recordings. Friesen’s original compositions have been performed by the Kansas City Symphony, the Colorado Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, New Jersey Symphony and others. Friesen teaches at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and is artist-in-residence at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City.

In addition to the HBPA concert appearance, the trio will do a number of educational activities with grant support from Mid-America Arts Alliance.

On April 15, in addition to his Bethel convo appearance, Silverman will perform on electric violin at 9 a.m. at Chisholm Middle School in Newton and at 2 p.m. at Wichita East High School.

The trio will also host an improvisation workshop Saturday, April 16, at 10 a.m. at Hesston Mennonite Church. Intermediate and advanced players of any instrument are invited to participate. The event is free and open to the public.

Single ticket prices for Three Part Invention range from $14 to $17, depending on seating section, with discounts available to students and senior citizens.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 620-327-8158 (Hesston College) or 316-284-5205 (Bethel College), e-mail or visit the HBPA website at

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 a great nation deserves great art, and is supported by Mid-America Arts Alliance, with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kansas Arts Commission and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts Series, now in its 29th year, started in 1982 as the Hesston Performing Arts Series (HPA) with funding and planning provided by Hesston College and the Hesston community. In 1998, HPA planners launched a partnership with Bethel College (North Newton) and the name changed to Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts. Hesston College and Bethel College host five performances by world-renowned or regionally acclaimed artists each year.

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