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Renowned Peabody Trio Brings Classical Flair to UNC

Roll over, Beethoven, and give Tchaikovsky the news. Classical music is outdated, right? Not so, says Seth Knopp, pianist for the internationally renowned and award-winning Peabody Trio, which performs at 8 p.m. Friday in the Hill Hall Auditorium.

The trio, which formed in 1987 and won the Naumberg Foundation's Chamber Music Award in 1989, is a firm believer in the timeless power of classical music.

"Music reveals what words cannot," Knopp said. "Words are around but not exact. Great pieces are about life searches and the greatest pieces' meanings deepen over time, with more life experience."

The trio is also made up of Knopp's wife, violinist Violaine Melancon, and what he calls a "perfect match" of a cellist, newest member Natasha Brofsky. The trio, which is the resident faculty ensemble of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, is scheduled to perform a broad range of pieces, including both traditional and contemporary works of the chamber music genre.

"There is a large body of great works to explore," Knopp said. "We want to give exposure to newer works and also breathe new life into older, more traditional works."

Music Professor Richard Luby, who originally scheduled the trio to perform, said he chose it because it is a group of internationally renowned artists from the East Coast. "I thought it would be good to present them to our audience here," he said, an audience he believes will be filled with a wide range of people, from faculty to music majors and other students.

As instructors at the Peabody Conservatory, the trio's members conduct classes and weekly seminars for gifted high school and college-age musicians about classical performance techniques. They are also frequent visitors to the area's elementary and middle schools, where the trio enjoys teaching young children how to listen to music and what to listen for.

"Classical music is a different form than radio, so there is a different way of listening," stated Knopp. "But we find that children often understand what composers mean better than musicians. They are wonderful at listening to the heart of the matter."

When asked why he thought UNC students should be interested in a classical performance, Knopp replied enthusiastically, "What's not to be excited about? Anyone who is interested in individual expression of emotion and what's common between people should be fascinated by classical music."

The concert is the sixth this year in the William S. Newman Artists Series. Tickets are $12 for the general public, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. They can be purchased at the music department's office in Hill Hall or at the door.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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