Colorado piano-viola duo to perform at UGA School of Music

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The Hugh Hodgson School of Music will host two guest artists from the University of Colorado Boulder when violist Erika Eckert and pianist Margaret McDonald, who perform as the Eckert-McDonald Duo, come to Ramsey Concert Hall on Wednesday, April 5, at 8 p.m.

The duo, formed in 2004, met as faculty colleagues in the College of Music at the University of Colorado Boulder—Eckert is the associate professor of viola and McDonald is the associate professor of collaborative piano. They have performed recitals throughout the US and recently made their first international appearances with performances in Vienna, Florence and Cremona, Italy, in October 2016.

Their UGA performance will include works from lauded modern composers Libby Larsen, Jennifer Higdon and Margaret Brouwer. 

Larsen’s “Viola Sonata,” a three-movement piece composed in 2001, opens the performance. Larsen was the first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra (the Minnesota Orchestra in 1983) and has held residencies from California to Ohio to North Carolina and beyond.

Sonata for Viola and Piano follows, written by Higdon, a Grammy-winner and the recipient of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

“The Sonata for Viola and Piano was composed in 1990, just as I was starting graduate school,” Higdon wrote of the piece. “It explores the wonderful colors for the viola, and also allows for substantial dialogue with the piano.”

The recital finishes with Brouwer’s “Rhapsodic Sonata,” which “portrays musically a person who is on an internal journey,” according to Brouwer herself. Brouwer received a Meet The Composer Commissioning/USA award in 2010, an Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2006 and was named a Guggenheim Fellow for 2004.

Admission to the Eckert-McDonald Duo performance is free. You can read more about the duo on the University of Colorado Boulder website.

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, and to learn more about the School of Music, go to