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Guest artist recital Feb. 26 to help celebrate 'A Year of Inclusivity'

February 20, 2014
Mary Ellen Haupert
Nancy Oliveros
Laura Sewell

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host a guest artist recital featuring violinist Nancy Oliveros, cellist Laura Sewell and pianist Mary Ellen Haupert as a part of the music and theatre arts department's "A Year of Inclusivity" project. The group will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in Phillips Recital Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

"A Year of Inclusivity" is a project that features performances by UW-Eau Claire faculty, students and guests. The intention of the project is to raise consciousness of underrepresented composers — or composers whose gender, racial or cultural background or sexual orientation would have previously limited their musical popularity or affluence.

Dr. Gretchen Peters, professor of music, created the project after being approached with the idea by a student. Together, they brought it to the music and theatre arts department.

"It was very well-received," Dr. Peters said. "It has been a concern of mine for a long time."

Peters further explains that the term "underrepresented" could apply to many different types of composers and artists who aren't recognized in today's society.

"We chose the term because we purposely wanted the project to be inclusive," Peters said. "Certainly gender is one aspect as female composers have always been in a very small minority in the classical world. Race is also an important aspect, as African-American and American Indian composers, for example, are also in a very small minority in the classical world."

Together, Oliveros, Sewell and Haupert will perform Louise Farrenc's Trio No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op.33 and Trio No. 2 in D Major, Op. 34, pieces that they plan to record later this year.

Louise Farrenc was an exceptional classical French composer and pianist from the 19th century, a time when it was rare for women to compose anything but amateur pieces. Her prodigious musical abilities allowed her to excel in the fields of piano performance and composition, but because of her gender, she is now considered to be an underrepresented composer.

Peters said that marginalization of female musical artists and composers is still prevalent.

"In the popular music scene, a list of 'top-40' songs or a list of Grammy-award winners will reveal a heavily male-dominated musical world," she said.

"If looking at conductors of professional orchestras, only a very few are women. Today, females only constitute about twenty percent of classical composers. Or, when looking at programs performed at UW-Eau Claire today, only 5-10 percent of the compositions are by women composers," Peters said.

Nancy Oliveros, the violinist of the guest trio, is one of the founding members of the Artaria String Quartet. She has performed throughout the United States and Europe and has appeared with members of renowned musical groups including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, and the Juilliard and Cleveland Quartets. She currently lives in St. Paul, Minn., co-directing the Artaria Chamber Music School and running a private studio.

Cellist Laura Sewell has studied chamber music with members of the Juilliard, Tokyo, Guarneri, Budapest and American quartets. She was one of the founding members of the Lark Quartet, and while performing with the group, it won a bronze medal at the Banff International String Quartet Competition. She has appeared with jazz pianist Butch Thompson on "A Prairie Home Companion" several times. She now performs as a cellist with both the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Mary Ellen Haupert spreads her musical abilities between her roles as music director for Roncalli Newman Parish and as a tenured associate professor of music at Viterbo University, both in La Crosse.

The guest artists are at UW-Eau Claire as part of a series of performers supported by the Visiting Minority Scholars Program of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

For more information about the recital or the "A Year of Inclusivity" project, contact Dr. Gretchen Peters at or 715-836-4102.



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