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Francaix Trio performs in Ashe

Article Published: Feb. 20 | Modified: Feb. 23
Francaix Trio performs in Ashe

From left, Eric Koontz, Bair Shagdaron and Douglass Miller are the Francaix Trio and will perform Feb. 22 at the Ashe Arts Center in West Jefferson.

Photo submitted

The Ashe County Arts Council will sponsor an evening of chamber music when faculty members from the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University come together for a concert on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ashe Arts Center.

The Francaix Trio includes Eric Koontz on viola, Douglass Miller on clarinet and Bair Shagdaron on piano.

The first selection by Josef Holbrooke, entitled “Nocturne; Op.57,” was inspired by the poem, “Fairyland,” by Edgar Allan Poe. Another selection by Libby Larson, entitled “Black Birds, Red Hills,” was inspired by paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe. The concert will also feature selections from Robert Schumann and Jean Francaix.

Koontz led the viola sections of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra before returning to the United States to pursue studies toward a doctor of musical arts degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

In Barcelona, he premiered Max Bruch’s “Double Concerto for Viola, Clarinet and Orchestra on the Iberian Peninsula” under the baton of Lawrence Foster. He earned a bachelor of music at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and holds master of music and master of musical arts degrees from Yale University. Koontz joined the string faculty at the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State in 2005.

A native of Lenoir, Miller made his formal New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall in 1973 as winner of the Artists International Management Competition. He has been a member of the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood, the Mozarteum Festival Orchestra in Salzburg and the International Hindemith Festival in Los Angeles. Locally, Miller plays with the Roanoke Symphony, the Western Piedmont Symphony and the Appalachian Woodwind Quintet. He joined the faculty at ASU in 1980. He can be heard on Richard Stoltzman’s Aria album on RCA and has also recorded on the Centaur label.

Shagdaron was born in Moscow, Russia, and began studying music at age of 4. In 1964, he entered the prestigious Moscow Gnesins Music School for Gifted Children. After graduating in 1976, Shagdaron studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory under the renowned Tatiana Nikolaeva. In 1984, he obtained his doctorate degree in piano performance from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

As an accomplished soloist, Shagdaron was awarded the honorary title of “The People’s Artist of Buryat Republic” (Russia). Shagdaron has given master classes in Japan and also performed throughout the U.S., Russia, Japan, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and Mongolia.

After coming to the U.S. in 1996, Shagdaron taught at Ottawa University in Kansas. In the fall of 2000, he joined the faculty of Appalachian State University as assistant professor of Piano. Shagdaron continues to actively participate in the music world of today. He has been a guest artist for An Appalachian Summer Festival and soloist with the Western Piedmont Symphony performing the Second Piano Concerto by Shostakovich.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students and are available at the Ashe Arts Center or by phone with a credit card. The Ashe Arts Center is located at 303 School Ave. in West Jefferson. For more information or tickets, call (336) 846-2787.

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