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Photograph by Pat Crowe http://www.patcrowephotography.com

 

Fancy Fiddling

 

 

UD’s own Xiang Gao will play the Stradivarius for the first time in Delaware this month.

Between teaching and performing around the world, one wonders how renowned violinist Xiang Gao, an associate professor in the University of Delaware music department, manages his days. Or how he negotiates meaningful time with his family. Or changes litter boxes for his two Tonkinese cats, cooks gourmet Chinese meals and skis in Colorado.

“It’s not easy, but quite a few soloists today are wearing different hats,” Gao says. “The good news is that most of my concerts are on weekends, so I never have to cancel any lessons with my students, and I have great support from my family.”

At 33, Gao has performed for American and Chinese presidents. He was the first Chinese violinist to join the roster of Columbia Artists Management. And last year the Stradivarius Society loaned him an 18th-century Stradivarius violin, an honor awarded to only the most accomplished musicians.

Gao will play the Stradivarius for the first time in Delaware at UD’s Center for the Arts on May 18. “Xiang Gao and Friends” will feature guest artists from the China Magpie Ensemble, a group Gao founded as part of the Yo-Yo Ma Silk Road Project in Beijing.

The concert brings many of the world’s most creative musicians to campus. Gao will be joined by Wu Tong, Lui Lin and Hui Li, who performed a sold-out event two years ago at the Master Players Chamber Series. Call 831-2578 for information. —Maria Hess

In With the Old

It’s time again for maypole dancing and other colonial fun when Old Dover Days returns May 5. The signature spring event recalls Dover’s colonial history with traditional crafts, special tours and costumed interpreters. It’s a family favorite and a great time. For more, call (800) 233-KENT, or visit visitdover.com.

Scull Session

Check out the Wilmington Rowing Club when it hosts the Christina Sprints at the riverfront on May 12. The low-key event is much smaller than the WRC’s signature Diamond State Masters Regatta held in the summer—which is a good thing for those new to the sport. Along with WRC members, rowers come from Carnegie Lake in Princeton, the Capitol Rowing Club in Washington, D.C., and clubs on Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row. It’s a good opportunity for novice rowers to get an introduction to the season, and spectators can meet and talk to rowers to learn about the sport. WRC is in the Shipyard Shops, but you can watch from anywhere along the Christina Riverfront. For more, call 652-5339, or visit wilmingtonrowing.org.

Row, Row, Row Your Shallop

The National Geographic Society recently determined that during his 1,700-mile voyage 400 years ago, captain John Smith and his crew journeyed as far inland as what is now Delaware, navigating the Nanticoke River, meeting Nanticoke Indians, and giving the state an important link to this milestone event. From May through September, a 12-person crew will reenact the voyage, sailing a 28-foot reproduction of Smith’s shallop to visit more than 20 towns on Delmarva. The crew will journey as Smith did, by sailing or rowing the entire trip. On May 29 the Delaware Public Archives will dedicate a state monument to Smith at Phillips Landing Wildlife Refuge near Laurel. Check out the 8-foot black granite monument and visit with the 2007 crew. On May 20, the shallop and her crew will visit the Nanticoke River Marine Park in Blades for a commemoration of Smith’s first contact with the Nanticoke tribe. Both events are free. For more, visit www.johsmith400.org.

Airplane Propellers?

Assistant Professor Harvey Price has taught percussion at the University of Delaware for more than 20 years. A May 7 performance marks his 100th percussion ensemble concert. Price plays with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the orchestras of OperaDelaware, Walnut Street Theatre and DuPont Theatre. He will lead the UD alumni percussion ensemble in a performance of “Ballet Mecanique,” George Antiel’s 1924 piece, written for three xylophones, four bass drums, a gong, two pianos, a siren, three airplane propellers, seven electric bells and 16 synchronized player pianos. The complex instrumentation kept the piece from being performed until the late 1990s. Thanks to technology, audiences can now hear a live performance. For more, call 831-2577, or visit ravel.music.udel.edu/calendar.

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