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UW-Green Bay recital to feature singing champions, world premiere of song

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The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s music discipline and Office of Student Life will present a Nov. 19 guest recital highlighting past winners of the prestigious Czech and Slovak International Music Competition of Montréal. The recital will occur two days before the University hosts preliminary and semifinal rounds of the 11th Czech and Slovak competition beginning Nov. 21.

The Nov. 19 recital will feature Kimberly Haynes, first-place winner of the 2003 Czech and Slovak voice competition, as well as Melody Wilson, first-place winner of the competition in 2009. Pianist Tim Cheek of the University of Michigan and himself a Czech diction coach and specialist, will accompany on the piano. The recital will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 in Fort Howard Hall at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive. It is free and open to the public.

In addition to talented guest musicians, the recital will feature the world premiere of a song, Smutný večer [Sad evening], by composer Vitezslava Kaprálová. The song, thought to have been written around 1936, was discovered in 2006 at the Moravian Museum Brno in the Czech Republic. The Kapralova Society, which is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the young composer, found the piece. Kaprálová died in 1940 at the age of 25, apparently from tuberculosis. The Kapralova Society is donating a prize of $500 Canadian for this year’s Czech and Slovak music competition.

Smutný večer is a song for voice and orchestra, but Kaprálová’s manuscript is missing the last page or two of orchestration. Still, Kaprálová’s initial piano sketch for the work is complete, which allowed Cheek to create a transcription for piano and voice. The author of Smutný večer’s poetry is unknown, but could be Kaprálová herself.

The Nov. 19 guest recital continues a unique and enduring connection between UW-Green Bay and the world of Czech and Slovak music. The University in 2003 became the first and only American site for the preliminary and semifinal rounds of the annual voice competition of Montréal, an event held every two years to promote the Czech and Slovak vocal repertoire for young singers, while fostering the exchange of young musicians and specialists between North America and the Czech Republic, as well as Slovakia. UW-Green Bay will host preliminary and semifinal rounds Nov. 21 and 22, ahead of the final round in Montréal, Québec (Canada) Nov. 25-26. For more information on the competition, visit www.uwgb.edu/international/music/.

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