One-of-a-Kind Chamber Music Series Continues with Open Borders Nov. 19

The 2017-18 Viterbo One-of-a-Kind Chamber Music Series will continue with Open Borders Sunday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Nola Starling Recital Hall.

Musicians Jonathan Borja, flute, Mary Ellen Haupert, piano, and Wassim Ibrahim, oud, will present a unique and exciting selection of music representing a variety of cultures and styles. Composers on this program all have ties to the United States but received their musical training in the U.S., Mexico, China, and Syria. Works include Aaron Copland’s Duo for Flute and Piano, Katherine Hoover’s Winter Spirits, Samuel Zyman’s Sonata No. 2 for Flute and Piano, Chen Yi’s Three Bagatelles from China West, and an original work by Syrian composer Wassim Ibrahim, who travelled to the U.S. for this performance.

Ibrahim’s piece, Trauma and Silence, will receive its world premiere at the concert on Nov. 19. Ibrahim, who was born in Damascus, Syria, and is a doctoral candidate at the Music Academy in Krakow, Poland, will speak about the work that he dedicated to Haupert. In reference to the piece, he wrote, “Wars, all of them, create within us a kind of strange silence.” Ibrahim visited La Crosse in 2016 as part of a cultural exchange with Roncalli Newman Parish and had the opportunity to perform with Haupert and Viterbo students in a benefit concert for Syrian refugees.

Borja is an assistant professor of music at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse where he teaches flute and music history. A native of Mexico City, he has performed throughout the United States and Mexico and has had the opportunity to collaborate with some of the concert’s featured composers, including Chen Yi and Samuel Zyman.

During intermission of the concert, students from Haupert’s music history class will conduct an “idea spread” by sharing information on the featured composers. Haupert, artistic director of the series and professor of music at Viterbo, wanted to enhance the concert experience for both students and the audience by having the students research the pieces and the composers and converse with those in attendance about their research.

“I am excited about the opportunity to connect our students and their work with the community through the One-of-a-Kind series,” said Haupert. “Not only does it give students great firsthand experience to hear pieces by the composers they are studying performed live, but it gives the audience a chance to learn more about the music and have a more fulfilling concert experience.”

 The third concert of the series will take place Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. with Music for Protest featuring the Artaria String Quartet with pianist Mary Ellen Haupert. Wisconsin Public Radio is the media sponsor for the One-of-a-Kind Chamber Music performances.

Tickets are $17 for general admission seating. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Viterbo box office at 608-796-3100 or visit