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Classical couple to perform piano and violin concert

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The University of Maine at Presque Isle presents two classical musicians for one evening filled with works by Schubert, Brahms and Dvorak when pianist Duncan J. Cumming and his wife violinist Hilary Walther Cumming perform on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Campus Center.

Duncan J. Cumming, a native of Presque Isle, is in his fourth year on the faculty of the University at Albany and has performed concertos, recitals, and chamber music concerts in cities across the United States as well as in Europe. He also has appeared in such famous concert halls as The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Merkin Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City, and the Wallenstein Palace in Prague, Czech Republic, according to biographical information on the University at Albany website.

This past season he traveled throughout New England and to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia for solo recitals, outreach concerts for children, and Capital Trio performances. In November, he hosted and performed in "Youth Movements," a festival he organized at the University at Albany; and in March, he organized the "Piano Roles Festival." In 2009, he received a grant to record music of Mozart and Weber on Weber's own 1812 Brodmann fortepiano, in the possession of Christopher Hogwood in Cambridge, England. In addition to preparing for this recording, he will have a concert tour of the United Kingdom this fall. A recent review describes his playing as "technically flawless...thoughtful, deliberate and balanced, without a wasted gesture or any histrionics, rather like Rachmaninoff." His new book, The Fountain of Youth: The Artistry of Frank Glazer, came out in 2009.

Cumming graduated Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors from Bates College in 1993, where he studied with Frank Glazer. In 1994, he received a full scholarship from the European Mozart Foundation and participated in intense chamber music study and performance at the European Mozart Academy in Prague. Upon his return to America, he studied with Patricia Zander at the New England Conservatory where he received his Master of Music degree in 1996. In May of 2003, he graduated with the Doctor of Music degree from Boston University.

In 2002, Cumming joined the faculty of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute where he continues to teach, coach chamber music, and perform as Assistant Director of the Young Artists Piano Program. This past summer, he took over as the director when an illness forced the director to leave just days into the program. Before accepting the position at the University at Albany, he was a member of the faculty at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He has lectured, given master classes, and served on juries for competitions in addition to his performing and teaching. Known for his innovative and carefully constructed programs, Cumming often presents informal commentary to the audience on the music he plays. He has commissioned, premiered, and recorded new works for solo piano, violin and piano, and piano trio.

Hilary Walther Cumming, also teaches at the University of Albany and performs as the violinist in the Capital Trio. She has participated in concerts from South America to the former Soviet bloc, and continues to be active in performances across the northeastern United States, according to biographical information on the University at Albany website.

Before moving to New York, she served as concertmaster of the Cape Cod Sinfonietta and the Andover Chamber Orchestra; she has been heard as soloist with these ensembles as well as with the Reading Symphony, Concord Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A versatile artist, she is comfortable in many styles including classical, baroque, and Irish traditional music.

Ms. Cumming graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, where she studied with Gerardo Ribeiro. In 1991, she moved to Bloomington, Indiana, and earned a Master of Violin Performance degree under the tutelage of Franco Gulli, modern violin, and Stanley Ritchie, baroque violin. Upon graduation, she was awarded a Fulbright grant, and she spent the next year in Copenhagen, Denmark, studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music with Peder Elbaek and Marta Libalova. During this time, she traveled bi-monthly to Paris for lessons with Sylvie Gazeau and Nell Gotkovsky.

Ms. Cumming has recorded primarily with the ATHELAS Ensemble (Denmark), the Abbott Trio, and the Coleridge Ensemble, among others. Her most recent compact disc recording, made in August 2008 with the Musicians of the Old Post Road, is now available from Meridien Records.

Together with the cellist Şölen Dikener, Duncan J. and Hilary Walther Cumming make up the Capital Trio, the new ensemble in residence at the University at Albany. Duncan and Hilary have two daughters, Lucy Rose and Mairi Sky, and a son, William Bear.

Tickets are available at the door and are $10 for adults, $2 for students, and free to SAGE, UMPI, and NMCC students with ID. For more information about this performance, call 768-9462.