Moores honors own

The Moores School of Music paid tribute to the career of C.W. Moores Distinguished Professor Fredell Lack Friday night in the Dudley Recital Hall of the Fine Arts Building. Lack is one of the Moores School of Music’s most celebrated and accomplished faculty with a career spanning more than 65 years in which, after attending Julliard, she traveled across the United States and Europe as a violin soloist for orchestras in New York, Pittsburg, Stockholm, Sweden, Oslo, Norway and Berlin, as well as for the Royal Philharmonic in London and the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, among many others.

‘She’s one of the most famous female violinists of the last century,’ associate violin professor Kyung Sun Lee said.

Lee, the night’s violinist, was accompanied on the piano by her husband, visiting associate music professor, Brian Suits.

The University and the Moores School of Music owes a tremendous amount of credit to Lack for its development, Suits said.

‘She had a really incredible hand in making the music school what it is, even from its conception,’ Suits said.

Both Lee and Suits said that Lack has been an inspiration to them as a colleague and a musician.

‘She’s such a wonderful supportive colleague and she has all of this connection with the music world to draw on. Just about everybody in the classical music world who’s been alive in recent past, she has worked with them, or knows of them, or has stories to tell about them,’ Suits said. ‘She’s just such a wonderful resource, and we’re so lucky to have her.’

Suits and Lee are decorated concert musicians in their own rights. Suits taught accompaniment at the Yale School of Music from 1990 to 2002 and is a composer, conductor and arranger as well as a classically-trained pianist. His orchestral arrangement ‘The Host’ was a hit at the 2006 Cannes Film festival and broke all box-office records in Korea.

Lee, who plays a Joseph Guarnerius violin from 1723, is a Peabody Conservatory and Julliard-trained violinist who has been recognized by the Tchaikovsky Competition and the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Lee was the first-prize winner Washington and D’Angelo International Competitions.

Lee came to UH in 2006 and she said she has Lack to thank for that as well.

‘My teacher, Sylvia Rosenberg, who is a 75-year-old, she and Ms. Lack used to be so close, and that’s how I got the invitation for the job,’ Lee said. ‘It’s been wonderful. We’re neighbors in the studio, and she often comes to my door and says she is happy to have me around and she wants to know if there’s anything she can do to help.’

The tribute consisted of four parts, with selections from Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Of the pieces played, Brahms’ Sonata No. 2 had a special meaning, Lee said.

‘There are three Brahms sonatas and people actually like the last one a lot and the first one, but (Lack) really thinks the second one is the perfect one, so I said, ‘OK, let’s do No. 2.”

Friday’s concert was a replacement for what was originally meant to be a five-piece performance with assistant horn professor Roger Kaza, affiliate artist in viola Wayne Brooks, and associate cello professor at Rice University Brinton Smith in addition to Lee and Suits. Hurricane Ike forced the concert to be rescheduled but Kaza, Brooks, Smith and all members of the Houston Symphony could no longer participate due to a schedule conflict.

Despite the setback, Suits said the concert was a success.

‘It can’t go much better than that,’ Suits said. ‘The Mendelssohn was the first time we’ve ever played it. It was a brand new piece for us. It went very well.’

Lack, who will retire at the end of the semester, was in attendance at the tribute after having been in the hospital earlier that day to undergo a scheduled procedure. She left soon after the concert was over, but spoke to Lee about the concert before she left.

‘She has been here for 50 years, and now she’s about to retire. She told me she feels very secure leaving (the program) to me, so I’m very honored.’ Lee said. ‘She was so delighted to hear the beautiful concert. I was flattered.’

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