Penn State Chamber Orchestra to perform Nov. 13

November 08, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Chamber Orchestra will perform a concert at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13, in Esber Recital Hall at University Park. Featured performers will include faculty violinist James Lyon and faculty cellist Kim Cook in a performance of Saint-Saëns' "La muse et le poète" (the muse and the poet), a "musical conversation" between the two instruments originally written as a piano trio in 1909 and orchestrated by the composer a year later. The orchestra will also perform Tchaikovsky's "Serenade to Strings," one of the world's most popular pieces written for strings and regarded by the composer as one of his finest works. The Chamber Orchestra is conducted by Gerardo Edelstein.

Tickets are $4.99 for general admission and $2 for students. No advance ticket purchase is available, and purchases are cash only. Ticket sales will begin 45 minutes prior to the concert in the lobby.


Divertissement — Jacques Ibert

La muse et le poète, Op. 132 - Camille Saint-Saëns (James Lyon, violin; Kim Cook, cello)

Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48 — Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Praised as “a dramatic violin soloist,” Lyon has been lauded by the press for his “virtually definitive performance” of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219. His performances have taken him to places as varied as Amman, Jordan, where he performed for Queen Noor; to Venice, where he performed in a concert attended by Gian Carlo Menotti; to Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, where he performed to critical acclaim as a member of two Penn State ensembles, the Castalia Trio and Duo Concertant. 

Lyon has presented masterclasses at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, the Paris Conservatory, and at the Eastman School of Music. He has collaborated in performances with members of the Ying and Tokyo Quartets, as well as members of the Lincoln Center Chamber Players. Prior to his appointment at Penn State, Lyon was a member of the Harrington Quartet, 1987 grand-prize winners of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and artists-in-residence at West Texas State University.

Lyon’s students have been national prizewinners in both the Young Artists Division of the Music Teachers National Association Competition and the American String Teachers Association Solo Competition, as well as numerous local and regional competitions. They perform in the Spektral Quartet, the U.S. Army Strings, the Cleveland Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Erie Chamber Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony, and other fine orchestras. His students are on the faculties of the University of Chicago, Louisiana State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rider University, Grove City College, and Lycoming College. Numerous students have become outstanding music educators, as well as private teachers of violin. 

Lyon has been honored to receive teaching awards from the Pennsylvania-Delaware String Teacher’s Association and the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State, where he was also a Schreyer Distinguished Honors Professor from 2011 to 2014. His recordings are available worldwide through CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon, and include several works by prominent women composers of the 19th century. His recording with the Castalia Trio of trios by Brahms and Ravel was honored with the Sound Stage Award shortly after it was released on Skrvna Records in the Czech Republic.

Lyon is a professor of music at Penn State, and is a member of the violin and chamber music faculty at the Wintergreen Academy in Virginia. He performs on an 1869 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin, as well a 1983 violin crafted by American luthier David Burgess. He is married to cellist Carol Purdy Lyon and resides in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania.

Hailed as "the superb American cellist" (Die Rheinpfalz, Frankfurt), Kim Cook has been acclaimed for her "truly glorious tone" (Musical Opinion, London), "ravishing colors and textures" (New York Concert Review, Carnegie Hall), and "keen awareness of line and style" (The Strad). Cook has performed as a soloist in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, China, Israel, Jordan, Latin America, and throughout the United States. She has toured extensively as an International Artistic Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, presenting concerts and masterclasses throughout the world. Television and radio broadcasts of Cook's performances have been heard in Brazil, China, and the United States. She has recorded concertos by Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, and Haydn, as well as the solo sonatas of Kodaly, Crumb, and Hindemith. A graduate of Yale and the University of Illinois, Cook studied with Gabriel Magyar, Aldo Parisot, Alan Harris, and Janos Starker. Prior to Penn State, she was principal cellist of the Sao Paulo Symphony under the direction of Eleazar de Carvalho, and professor of cello at New Mexico State University.

At Penn State, Cook has developed one of the important cello studios in the Northeast, attracting talented cellists from Europe and throughout the United States. The 26-member Penn State Cello Choir has been recognized for its performances and for the Penn State Cello Festivals. Cook's students have won many prestigious awards and have received assistantships and scholarships to attend excellent graduate programs. Former students currently occupy positions in orchestras and music schools in the United States, Germany, Brazil, and Taiwan.

Cook was the inaugural Penn State laureate for the 2008-09 academic year, which allowed her to appear as a highly visible representative of Penn State, appearing regularly at events University-wide, and throughout the Commonwealth at community and state events.


  • James Lyon

    James Lyon

    IMAGE: Penn State
  • Kim Cook

    Kim Cook

    IMAGE: Penn State
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Last Updated November 08, 2016