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ISSUE 117 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/19/2003

1964 grad returns to play horn recital

By Carl Schroeder
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 19, 2003

This year’s four-part alumni recital series, sponsored by the music department, began on Sept. 8 with a French horn recital by Sharon Moe ’64. Accompanied on piano by Xiayin Wang, Moe delivered a performance that displayed her command of the French horn in late romantic, 20th century and contemporary styles.

“It really is a great honor to participate in the 100th anniversary celebration [of the music department],” said Moe, who is an internationally renowned and highly sought-after performer.

After opening with the harmonically adventurous “Sonata for Horn and Piano” by Benhard Heiden, Moe and Wang segued into “Elegy for Mippy I,” a sad, lyrical tune by Leonard Bernstein composed in memory of his

brother’s dog. The following work, “The Harmonica Player” by David Guion, had a humorous folk-like quality that allowed Moe to further demonstrate her dramatic range on the horn.

Other highlights on the program included the famous “Vocalise” by Sergei Rachmaninoff, “Morceau de Concert” by Camille Saint-Saëns, and the five-movement “City Nights” suite, which was composed for Moe by 1943 St. Olaf graduate Keith Textor.

“I’m delighted in [Sharon’s] musicianship and her wonderful commitment to the college,” said President Christopher Thomforde, who attended the concert.

Moe was equally complimentary of St. Olaf’s faculty and facilities. “I love St. Olaf, and I get inspired every time I come back here,” Moe said after her 90-minute performance in Urness Recital Hall.

Wang expressed enthusiasm about the campus as well. “It’s great to be here,” Wang said. “The crowd was great, and the performance space is wonderful as well.”

Moe also delivered a two-hour French horn master class during her visit, much to the delight of St. Olaf’s avid horn contingent. “She was able to pinpoint exactly what everyone’s issues were,” said French horn player Erin Vork ’04, one of the masterclass participants.

Like Rachmaninoff and Saint-Saëns, who were virtuoso performers during their lifetimes, Moe is also a composer in many genres. Last winter, Moe’s “American Fanfare” was performed by the St. Olaf Band, and her orchestral composition “Windows” has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

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