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Guest Recital: Michael Kimber, viola with Kathryn Plummer, viola

Monday, October 01, 2018,

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  • Location: Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall • 2400 Blakemore Avenue • Nashville, TN 37212

Monday, October 1

8 p.m.

Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall

Guest Recital: Michael Kimber, viola

with Kathryn Plummer, viola

Violist Michael Kimber has been praised for his “lyrical sound, full of warmth and color” and “agility that was little short of astounding.”  He began his musical studies on violin and had in mind pursuing a career as a composer. However, at the age of 20 he was persuaded to play viola (not violin) in a string trio, an experience that was life-changing. Captivated by the viola’s rich sound, he saw the light, went to the dark side, and decided to dedicate his efforts to becoming a violist, studying with Francis Bundra at the University of Michigan and at Interlochen, and with Raphael Hillyer, the founding violist of the Juilliard String Quartet.

After completing his doctorate in viola performance, Dr. Kimber began his professional career playing viola with the Alexandria Quartet, an American ensemble in residence at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Australia. This adventure was followed by an exciting year premiering new music from coast to coast in the US and Canada as violist of the Kronos Quartet. During twenty-five years as a viola professor, first at the University of Kansas and then at the University of Southern Mississippi, he also served as principal violist of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, the Kansas City Camerata, and the Meridian Symphony Orchestra, while performing internationally with ensembles as diverse as the Atlanta Virtuosi, the Early Music Consort of Kansas City, and the Oread Baroque Ensemble. Since 2005 he has been artist instructor of viola at Coe College, plays viola with Orchestra Iowa, and is an active member of the Iowa Composers Forum.  Among his former students are Brant Bayless, principal violist of the Utah Symphony; Maria Bogodist, principal violist of the Omsk (Siberia) Philharmonia; Tim Deighton, professor of viola at Pennsylvania State University; and Julio Lopez, violist in the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and a professor at the Vienna Music Academy.

Having given up composing in 1965 to focus on viola performance, Dr. Kimber began to compose again in 1985. Since that time his music, especially that for viola, has become widely known and performed. In 2010 the American Viola Society presented him its Founders Award in recognition of his contributions as a composer of music for viola. Seven CDs of his music, recorded by Polish violist Marcin Murawski, have been released by Acte Préalable. His music can also be heard on the CDs American Voices (Hillary Herndon, viola), archi d'amore zelanda (Donald Maurice, viola d’amore), and Night Strings (George Taylor, viola), and in numerous performances on YouTube by both students and artist performers.  The 2017 International Viola Congress in Wellington, New Zealand, concluded with massed violas performing eight of his works in a “Tribute to Michael Kimber.”  He has been named Red Cedar Chamber Music composer-in-residence for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons.

Fascinated with the colorful history of tuning systems and intonation, Dr. Kimber enjoys opening musicians’ ears to the beautiful subtleties of melodic and harmonic intonation, an awareness of which should be a part of every musician’s training. Nevertheless, he is most often applauded for something more mundane — the invention of the amazingly comfortable poly-pad violin/viola shoulder rest. Since 1990 tens of thousands of poly-pads have been purchased in all 50 states, DC, and 34 foreign countries.

This event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the West Garage (2500 Children's Way) free of charge.