School of Music

William Rounds, Premier Cellist, Presents “An Evening of Brahms, Kodály and Others” at USM School of Music

October 11, 2013

Contact: Erin Bartoletti, (207) 780-5256 or

William Rounds, Premier Cellist, Presents “An Evening of Brahms, Kodály and Others” at USM School of Music

GORHAM, Maine – William Rounds, University of Southern Maine (USM) faculty cellist, will present a concert later this month at the USM School of Music, featuring lively accompanied and solo pieces, and concluding with a grand masterpiece by Zoltan Kodály.

The program, focusing on bright, spirited pieces, includes works by Luigi Boccherini, classical Italian composer; André Previn, Academy Award-winning composer; Brahms, legendary 19th-century composer; and Zoltan Kodály, Hungarian composer and philosopher. Rounds will be accompanied by Sayuri Miyamoto, award-winning pianist, and Elisabeth Marshall, USM faculty voice artist.

The details of the concert are:

  • “An Evening of Brahms, Kodály and Others” performed by William Rounds, University of Southern Maine faculty cellist, 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, Corthell Concert Hall, USM Gorham campus

“The audience will feel like they’ve traveled through a variety of styles and time periods,” Rounds said in a recent interview. “It’s a complete musical experience.”

Rounds will open the concert with Boccherini’s “Sonata No. 6 in A Major,” an accompanied piece with two short movements presented in the order of the Baroque sonata tradition.

“It’s an early Italian style sonata,” Rounds said. “It’s sparkling and full of life, with dramatic flourishes and nimble passagework.” 

The traditional Boccherini piece will be countered by “Vocalise,” a more contemporary work by Previn. Rounds will be joined by Miyamoto on piano and by Marhsall singing soprano.

“‘Vocalise’ is a haunting and beautiful piece,” Rounds said. “Sayuri Miyamoto is a marvelous collaborator and accompanist, and Elisabeth Marshall is a remarkably talented vocalist.”

“The unexpected harmonies and changes create tension and release,” said Marhsall, who is a USM School of Music alumna. “There is a certain atmosphere of simultaneous longing and delight, which is never fulfilled.”

“Without any words, the piece is wonderfully open to interpretation,” Marshall continued.

The large work of the first half of the program will be Brahms’ “Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 2 in F Major, Opus 99,” a late 19th-century piece, the latter of two sonatas Brahms composed for cello and piano.

“It’s Brahms in all his glory,” Rounds said. “It’s a very mature sonata, including four movements, and making technical demands on both performers that are not often seen in cello parts of this time period.”

“It’s a beautiful piece,” said Miyamoto, who will be marking her third performance at USM.

“The piano writing is quite rich and sometimes dense, in a good way,” she continued. “To balance with the cello, while still retaining the full richness of the piano, is the challenge.”

For the second half of the program, Rounds will retune his cello to perform Kodály’s “Sonata for Cello Solo, Opus 8.”

“It’s a very distinctive piece and it’s not performed very often,” the performer said. “It’s a landmark solo work for the cello. By lowering the bottom two strings a half-step, the basic harmonies of the piece are immediately outlined.”

Rounds has been a faculty member of the USM School of Music since 1991. He is a member of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and he also plays frequently as an extra with the Boston Symphony.

The distinguished cellist has performed throughout the U.S. as well as in Europe and Asia, appearing as a soloist with orchestra, in recital and as a chamber musician. In addition to his classical career, he previously toured with John Denver, recorded for Aerosmith and has performed or recorded with a wide variety of popular artists ranging from David Bryne to Jerry Vale.

Rounds has played for the soundtracks of numerous films including “Schindler’s List.” As an experienced teacher and clinician, he works with students through the Boston Symphony’s education programs and presents master classes at colleges throughout the U.S.

Details of the concert:

Tickets: $15, general public; $10, seniors, USM employees and alumni; $5, students.

Make reservations online at or call the USM Music Box Office at (207) 780-5555. For special accommodations, call (207) 780-5142, TTY (207) 780-5646.

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