UGA string faculty perform with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra first violinist

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String faculty members of the University of Georgia will be joined by a first violinist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in a string quartet recital in Ramsey Concert Hall on Friday, Sept. 8, at 8 p.m. 

Kenn Wagner, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra first violinist since 1995 and a faculty member at Kennesaw State University and Morehouse College, returns to the Hugh Hodgson School of Music to perform with frequent collaborators Michael Heald, associate professor of violin, Maggie Snyder, associate professor of viola and David Starkweather, professor of cello.

“Kenn has been coming to collaborate with UGA faculty for about three years and has developed a lovely rapport with the faculty here,” said Heald. “Despite his huge commitments to the ASO, he has developed a very nice career as a teacher, soloist, and chamber musician.”

The concert’s program includes Mozart’s String Quartet No. 14 in G major—the first of Mozart’s “Haydn Quartets,” written in honor of Joseph Haydn—and a piece Heald calls “one of the greatest string quartets ever written:” Schubert’s Quartet in D minor, often referred to as “Death and the Maiden.”

The quartet was written in 1824, after Schubert learned he was dying, and its colloquial name originates from a song the Austrian composer wrote in 1817.

“Schubert’s song was actually a setting of the Matthias Claudius poem of the same name,” said Heald. “The theme of that song forms the basis of the second movement of the quartet. The theme is a death knell that accompanies the song about the terror and comfort of death.”

Ironically, the grim quartet’s first performance was pleasant and quaint: “Death and the Maiden” was first performed in Vienna in 1826, in the home of two amateur violinists with Schubert himself playing viola.

This performance is presented admission-free and will be streamed live to music.uga.edu/streaming.

The Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia sponsors more than 350 performances each year. Go to music.uga.edu to view the school’s performance calendar, subscribe to the weekly email newsletter, and learn more about the School of Music.