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Viola quartet performs Sept. 6 at Appalachian’s Hayes School of Music

BOONE—The ViolasFour! string quartet will present a program of music for the viola  Sunday, Sept. 6 at 4 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall at Appalachian State University. Admission is free.

The violists are Eric Koontz, a member of the Hayes School of Music’s string faculty at Appalachian, Katrina Smith, Scott Rawls and Constance Gee.

The program includes Richard Lane’s “Quartet for Four Violas” composed in 1978, the 2004 composition “Viola Fight Song” by Michael Kimber and based on best-loved themes from famous viola works, Ichiro Nodaira’s “Ciaccona de Bach” written in 2000, “Transformation pour quatre altos de” by Bach and the 1907 composition “Fantasia for Four Violas” by York Bowen.

The literature for viola quartet is a 20th-century invention. Although the ensemble lacks the lower octave of the cello, its range and color offerings are surprisingly generous, ensuring its permanent place at the table in the offerings of chamber music.

The quartet is made up of four friends who studied and worked together in New York, New Haven, Spain and North Carolina.

Smith leads the viola section of the Dallas Opera and plays with the Glimmerglass Opera Summer Festival. She performs on period instruments with several well-known ensembles in North America.

Rawls is a professor of viola at UNC Greensboro, chair of viola studies at Brevard Music Center, and is a member of the group Steve Reich and Musicians.

Gee is an assistant professor of viola at the University of South Carolina. Her former appointments include teaching at the University of Virginia, and leading the viola sections of the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and Orquestra Sinfónica de Tenerife.

In addition to teaching in the Hayes School of Music, Koontz led the viola sections of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, where he also performed and recorded with the Cuarteto Glinka.

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