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Dixie State University to host Early Music Festival with support of national grant

By Taylor Lewis

In recognition of Early Music Month, Dixie State University will host its second Early Music Festival in partnership with Early Music America, which selected the university from a multitude of performers and institutions across the country as one of only eight recipients of the organization’s mini-grants.

Stephen and Susan Talley

Highlighting music from the 15th to 18th centuries, Dixie State’s Early Music Festival promotes early music in Southern Utah, generates interest in historically informed performance practices and offers student-performers experience on modern and period instruments such as the viola da gamba. 

“While early music events and festivals have been common along the East and West Coasts for years, there aren't as many established traditions of this kind in Utah,” said DSU Assistant Professor of Music Ka-Wai Yu, who directs the university’s Early Music Ensemble. “Because of this, we will be blazing our own trail as the new Early Music Ensemble in Southern Utah.”

To kick off its second Early Music Festival, Dixie State’s Early Music Ensemble will host the concert “Organ Extravaganza,” an evening of organ and chamber music featuring organists Stephen and Susan Talley. The Talleys will collaborate with Dixie State students and faculty to showcase the university's baroque pipe organ, made by German maker Rudolf Janke in 1979. The concert is set to take place at 7:30 p.m. on March 26 in the Dunford Auditorium, located in the Val A. Browning Learning Resource Center on the Dixie State campus.

Cosmopolitan Baroque

Also as part of the festival,ensemble-in-residence Cosmopolitan Baroque will host a masterclass and demonstration at 4 p.m. on March 28 in the Concert Hall of DSU’s Dolores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center. In addition to introducing and demonstrating the period instruments they play, the four members of the ensemble — Jonathan Rhodes Lee on harpsichord, Jennifer Grim on traverso flute, Gregory Maldonado on baroque violin and Ka-Wai Yu on viola da gamba — will offer DSU students insights and professional critiques.

Later that evening, Dixie State’s Early Music Ensemble will present the concert “Händel, a Celebration” in honor of the 260th anniversary of the composer’s death. Student vocalists and instrumentalists will collaborate with the DSU Theatre and Dance Departments to present a diverse program, which will include pieces with dances and period costumes. The concert will also feature a viol consort, Gregorian chant, Renaissance madrigals and Baroque music for larger ensembles. The Cosmopolitan Baroque will perform Händel's Concerto Gross, Op. 3 No. 3 with the DSU Early Music Ensemble. “Händel, a Celebration” will take place at 7:30 p.m. on March 28 in the Eccles Concert Hall.

Admission to all Early Music Festival events is free, and the public is encouraged to attend. To see a complete list of upcoming events and learn more about the Early Music Festival at Dixie State University, visit music.dixie.edu/earlymusicfestival.