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Media Memo: UW-Eau Claire Chemist to Introduce Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra Program

TO: News/Assignment Editors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume, News Bureau, Director

DATE: Feb. 24, 2009

SUBJECT: UW-Eau Claire Chemist to Introduce Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra Program

A UW-Eau Claire chemistry professor will open the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra's Saturday, Feb. 28, "Russian Delights" concert by discussing Alexandre Borodin's dual careers as a chemist and as a composer.

Dr. David Lewis, an organic chemist, has an interest in the history of chemistry and especially the history of organic chemistry in Russia prior to the Revolution. This has sparked his interest in Borodin, especially since the composer's musical career has generally eclipsed his considerable chemical accomplishments. Borodin achieved his greatest recognition long after his death, both musically and in regard to his most important chemical contributions, according to Lewis.

Works by Borodin and Russian composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev will be featured on the Feb. 28 program, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire.

The Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra has numerous ties with UW-Eau Claire. Examples include: Ivar Lunde, professor emeritus, is the music director; several of ECCO's founding members were or are music faculty; many orchestra members are members of the music faculty, including Tim Lane, Christa Garvey and Verle Ormsby; some orchestra members are faculty in other departments who pursue their musical talents on the side, including Johannes Strohschank, chair of the foreign languages department; and other former and current members of the orchestra are UW-Eau Claire graduates.

In addition, many of the soloists who perform with the orchestra during the year have UW-Eau Claire ties. For example, Nicholas Phillips and Keith Thompson will be soloists in the Shostakovich piece during the Feb. 28 performance. Phillips is a member of piano faculty and Thompson, a UW-Eau Claire graduate who now works in the Twin Cities, is ECCO's principal trumpet player. Nobu Yasuda of the music and theatre arts department was a soloist during a November 2008 ECCO concert.

The university's extensive involvement in the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra is an example of how UW-Eau Claire serves and enhances the greater Eau Claire community.

For information about the upcoming concert or other Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra-UW-Eau Claire ties, contact Dr. David Gordon, professor of emeritus of communication and journalism who is helping to coordinate publicity for ECCO. You can reach him at 715-552-1799 or gordona@uwec.edu.

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