UGA professor of cello opens Hugh Hodgson Faculty Series

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The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music opens the 2016-2017 edition of its prestigious Hugh Hodgson Faculty Series with David Starkweather, the School’s professor of cello, performing in Ramsey Concert Hall on Tuesday, August 30, at 8 p.m.

An acclaimed performer, researcher, author and educator with over 30 years at UGA, Starkweather’s performance will showcase not just his own talent, but the talent of some of his frequent collaborators at the School of Music, beginning with the first piece on the program, Handel’s Trio Sonata in G Minor.

Milton Masciadri [professor of double bass] and I played it on tour in Italy and Serbia, and now will perform it here in Athens with our colleague Martha Thomas [Despy Karlas Professor of Piano],” said Starkweather.

The second of four pieces on the program is Bach’s Suite No. 6 in D Major, a work described by Starkweather as “monumental.” The suite stands apart not just for what it requires of the instrument, but what instrument was originally required.

“The sixth suite was intended for a cello with five strings, adding an E string above the usual C-G-D-A tuning in fifths,” said Starkweather. “Such an instrument is extremely rare, thus the piece is usually played on a normal cello, adding difficulty as many passages are in higher positions.”

The slow movement of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Sonata in G Minor follows intermission, and Thomas rejoins Starkweather for this performance, which he describes as a “favorite of all music lovers who enjoy the lush lyricism and harmonic richness of [Rachmaninoff].”

The concert closes with Zoltán Kodály’s Sonata in B Minor. This three-movement sonata will change the voice of Starkweather’s cello—deeper, with the lower two strings tuned down a half step—and employ a number of challenging techniques.

“A fascinating solo sonata,” said Starkweather. “It uses many challenging techniques such as strumming pizzicato and left hand pizzicato, double-stops with sustained notes and trills and extremely high register. Typical Hungarian motives and themes add to the work’s evocative nature.”

Tickets are available at or the PAC box office for $12 or $6 with a UGA student ID.

The UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music sponsors more than 350 performances each year. To view the performance calendar, subscribe to the weekly email concert listing or learn more about the School of Music, go to