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Violin duo to be joined by pianist in Bethel concert

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – As violin duo Nova Deco brings their string blend to Bethel College for the third year, they will also showcase the talents of Bethel music professor Karen Bauman Schlabaugh.

Nova Deco, which specializes in early 20th-century repertoire for violin duo, is comprised of Nancy Johnson and Dominique Corbeil. The concert is Saturday, March 31, at 7 p.m. [note time change from some previously printed schedules] in the Administration Building chapel on the Bethel campus. Admission is free, though the concert is a benefit for the Rupert Hohmann String Scholarship Fund at Bethel College, so there will be a freewill offering taken.

On the program are, in the first half, “Five Duos” by Reinhold Gliere, the “Chaconne” from Sonata in D minor by J.S. Bach and “Three Tangos” by Carlos Gardel.

Nova Deco will be joined in the second half of the recital by Karen Bauman Schlabaugh. They will play “Duets” by Dmitri Shostakovich, Sonata for two violins and piano by Darius Milhaud and “Navarra (Danza Espagnole)” by Pablo Sarasate.

“We often perform music that is not terribly well known,” said Johnson, “so we’ve chosen some more popular pieces for this program. The Sarasate and Bach are works that most violinists are familiar with, and tangos have been enjoying new popularity.

“Then we thought it would be fun to add another flavor to our two-violin world, and asked Karen Schlabaugh to join us,” she continued. “A few years ago, we performed a Milhaud sonata for two violins alone and we really liked it, so finding one with piano was a treat. It is a gem of a piece, very flavorful and fun to play. Rupert Hohmann, whose scholarship this recital is a benefit for, met Milhaud once, too, so it has a bit of a personal connection. Working with Karen is also always a treat.”

Johnson and Corbeil, two violinists who bring considerable experience to their performances, started Nova Deco in 2009. In addition to performing occasional recitals, Nova Deco is also an artist group with Arts Partners, which provides artists to public schools for performances and workshops.

Johnson has been principal 2nd violin in the Wichita Symphony Orchestra since 2000. She also performs with the Wichita Grand Opera and the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra and is on the faculty of Bethel College. She teaches many private violin students and plays extensively in the greater Wichita area.

Johnson enjoys performing in many different genres, from classical chamber music to Irish fiddling to symphonic literature. Before moving to Kansas, she lived in Portland, Ore., where she played with the Portland Opera Orchestra, the Oregon Ballet Theatre and, on occasion, the Oregon Symphony. She returns to Oregon every summer to play with the Oregon Coast Music Festival Orchestra in Coos Bay.

Johnson has been on the faculty of universities and colleges in Washington and Utah and holds degrees in violin performance from the University of Kansas and Virginia Commonwealth University. She lives on five acres north of Newton with her sons Jacob and Ben.

Born in Montreal, Corbeil has performed with orchestras in the United States, Europe and Canada. She received her musical training at the University of Montreal, studying with the noted violin soloist Vladimir Landsman, and at Montclair State University, where she studied with Oscar Ravina of the New Your Philharmonic.

Corbeil currently serves as assistant principal second violin with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and performs with the Wichita Grand Opera. She is also a member of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra and Tulsa Ballet Orchestra. For the past 11 summers, she has been a member of the Colorado Music Festival. For the past 20 years, she has had a successful private music studio.

Corbeil lives in Wichita with her husband, timpanist and percussionist Jerry Scholl, and her son Olivier.

Schlabaugh is professor of music at Bethel College. She holds a bachelor of music degree from Oberlin College, a master of music degree in piano performance from Ithaca College and the doctor of musical arts in piano from the University of Iowa. While at Ithaca, she spent a semester studying at the Royal College of Music in London, with the support of an Alumni Fellowship from Oberlin. Her teaching assignments have included piano, music theory and history courses and piano pedagogy. She has been chair of Bethel’s music department since fall 1998.

Before her appointment at Bethel, Schlabaugh served on the faculties of Skidmore College and Tabor College. She has participated as a teacher and collaborative pianist in summer institutes in Michigan, Wisconsin and New York. She performs frequently as a soloist and collaborative musician with colleagues from Bethel and the Wichita area. She has appeared on two occasions as soloist with the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, most recently in the spring of 2002 in Piano Concerto No. 1 in C by Beethoven, and has performed in many of the Harvey Festival summer concerts sponsored by the NMKSO.

Schlabaugh’s CD, French Recital Favorites with Wichita clarinetist James Jones, was released in June 2005 under the Centaur Records label. Schlabaugh regularly serves as an adjudicator and clinician at piano festivals and contests throughout Kansas and the region.

The Rupert Hohmann String Scholarship, for which the recital is benefit, was endowed by Rupert Hohmann of North Newton, retired violin professor and son of former Bethel music faculty member Walter Hohmann. This is the first scholarship at Bethel to be dedicated to the use of string students.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2011-12 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2011-12. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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