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An afternoon of great works


Violinist Catherine Sheng-Cooper and pianist Mercia Buck will present a recital of great works for the Lake Macquarie Music Society this weekend.

The gifted performers are set to appear at the Adamstown Uniting Church on Saturday 1 May from 3pm.

Sheng-Cooper was born in Taiwan and started her studies at the age of five.

She is a graduate of the University of Newcastle, gaining a Master of Music degree.

Her teacher was respected violinist and pedagogue Elizabeth Holowell.

Sheng-Cooper is the concert master of the Lake Macquarie Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera Hunter Orchestra.

She performs with the Pacific Palm Court Orchestra directed by Rod Barnes, too.

She also boasts a very large teaching practice in Charlestown and, with her husband Dave Cooper, comprises the duo Two Play Strings.

Buck is a graduate of Sydney Conservatorium, has a Masters Degree from the University of New South Wales and an Arts Degree from the Open University in the UK.

She studied in Vienna and London.

Buck has had a lifetime of performance, teaching, lecturing and arts administration, founding the Lake Macquarie Music Society and Opera Hunter.

In 2011 she was awarded an OAM.

Pianist Mercia Buck and violinist Catherine Sheng-Cooper.

The 1 May program features Beethoven’s Spring Sonata, Debussy’s Violin Sonata, Kreisler’s Prelude and Allegro, as well as some favourite Gershwin.

“Beethoven dedicated his violin and piano sonata opus 24, later called The Spring, to Count Moritz von Fries, an Austrian banker and genuine lover of the arts,” Buck said.

“He had a vast library of more than 2,000 books and a valuable art collection including paintings by Raphael and Rembrandt.

“Von Fries hosted many musical performances at his Palais Fries in Vienna, supporting Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert.

“Debussy’s Violin Sonata was his final major work, premiered on 5 May 1917 and played by violinist Gaston Poulet with Debussy at the piano.

“It was a time of intense sadness because of the First World War and Debussy was suffering from an illness.

“Haydn’s Creation was premiered there.

“It is quite short, but intensely personal and expressive.

“There is at times reference to what seems to be the grotesque and macabre, other times capricious, even a sense of Pierrot and the theatrical.”

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Entry to the recital is $25 and $20 (concession) with children admitted free.

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