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Brazilian violist de Biaggi to perform with SIU Versa’tile faculty-student chamber ensemble

String musicians in formal attire perform in a wooded area.
SIU News

Brazilian violist Emerson de Biaggi will perform with the Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Music faculty-student Versa’tile Chamber Ensemble as part of a strings masterclass and recitals, Feb. 21-25.

De Biaggi will perform with Versa’tile during a concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24. He will also present a strings masterclass at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, and a lecture recital at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25.

Each of the events will be in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall, 980 Faner Drive, on the SIU campus and are free and open to the public thanks to SIU’s Fine Arts Activity Fee. Donations in support of the Southern Illinois Chamber Music Society (SICMS) Scholarship Fund will be accepted at the door. The faculty-student chamber ensemble is under SICMS and School of Music auspices.

On Feb. 24, de Biaggi and Versa’tile will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Viola Quintet in C Minor, K. 406/516b” and Antonín Dvořák’s viola “String Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 97 ‘American’.”

For these performances, Versa’tile comprises the SIU-MSU faculty string quartet and the SIU graduate string quartet. In the SIU-MSU quartet are SIU School of Music faculty violinist Michael Barta, violist Rossana Cauti and cellist William Cernota, along with Frank Lakatos, an SIU alumnus and Murray State University faculty member. The SIU graduate quartet includes Noah Brown and Iasmim de Carvalho, violin; Maria Del Mar Añasco, viola, and Paolo Chiavaroli, cello.

On Feb. 25, de Biaggi’s lecture recital will also feature SIU Carbondale composer and pianist Thomas Edgar, a senior in piano performance and aviation flight. Edgar is fluent in both jazz and classical music styles and was a 2023 recipient of the Presser Foundation Award. His work includes pieces for solo piano, various chamber ensembles, different jazz settings and symphony orchestra, Cernota said.

Edgar’s orchestral composition “Spring Awakens” won the 2020 Student Composers Competition of the National Association for Music Education and European American Musical Alliance. A certified commercial pilot and flight instructor in the School of Aviation, Edgar studies piano with School of Music faculty Yuko Kato and composition with Christopher Walczak.

The Feb.25 performance will feature Brazilian contemporary music for viola and piano and viola ensemble, with works by composers Dimitri Cervo, José Vicente, Marlos Nobre, Edino Krieger, Antônio Carlos (Tom), Jobim, Sivuca (Severino Dias de Oliveira) and Glória Gadelha.

De Biaggi has been teaching viola and chamber music at Unicamp at São Paulo State University since 1998. He is an active chamber player and has performed as a soloist with orchestras all over Brazil, mostly presenting pieces from the contemporary Brazilian repertoire for viola. He is a founding member and president of the Brazilian Viola Society.

De Biaggi earned his bachelor’s degree at University of São Paulo in 1988, a master’s degree from Boston University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

For information regarding the performances, contact Cernota at william.cernota@siu.edu or Cauti at rossana.cauti@siu.edu. For information about the School of Music, visit the School of Music website.

Leah Lerner is a media writer, producer, and announcer at WSIU Public Broadcasting located at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Contact WSIU Radio at 618-453-6101 or email wsiunews@wsiu.org.
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