WFU's Secrest Artists Series concludes with Tuscan Sun Festival Tour

By Pam Barrett
March 30, 2005

Wake Forest University will conclude its Secrest Artists Series with a concert by the Tuscan Sun Festival Tour with the New European Strings (NES) Chamber Orchestra, Russian cellist Nina Kotova and a special appearance by best-selling author Frances Mayes at 7:30 p.m. April 16 in Wait Chapel. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m.


Nina Kotova

The concert was originally created at the Tuscan Sun Festival in Corona, Italy. Corona is the home of Mayes, author of the novel "Under the Tuscan Sun."

The concert will be conducted by Dmitry Sitkovetsky and performed by the world-renowned NES Chamber Orchestra and Kotova. The program will feature Kotova's "The Tuscan Sun" with narration by Mayes as well as a video presentation and the photography of Stephen Rothfield.

Sitkovetsky, a world renowned violinist and conductor, is the music director for the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. He is also currently principal guest conductor of the Russian State Symphony in Moscow and is conductor laureate of the Ulster Orchestra.

Kotova is a third-generation musician. She is hailed as having "powerfully expressive energy with a technique of utter mastery." Kotova has studied cello since the age of seven, when she was accepted into an adult cello class at the Moscow Conservatory. Her career has taken her across the globe performing as a soloist, chamber musician and composer.

In August 2003, Kotova co-founded the Tuscan Sun Festival in Corona. She serves as the artistic director of the festival, which celebrates music as well as literature, art and film by bringing together artists, musicians and writers from all over the world to Tuscany for concerts, exhibitions and lectures.

The NES is a chamber orchestra founded in 1990 by Dmitry Sitkovetsky. It was inspired by Sitkovetsky's experiences as a musician of the East and West and combines the uniform mastery of techniques and total intensity playing with the finest traditions of ensemble playing and a thorough knowledge of various musical styles.

Frances Mayes is the author of three best-selling books about Italy and a widely published poet and essayist. "Under the Tuscan Sun" was number one on The New York Times Best-Seller list and remained on the list for more than two years. Her most recent book, "Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style from the Heart of Italy," was published in the fall of 2004.

Mayes will hold a book signing after the performance in Wingate Hall, adjacent to Wait Chapel. Hardback copies of "Under the Tuscan Sun" will be available for purchase for Mayes to sign.

Concert tickets are $22 general admission; $16 for senior citizens and non-Wake Forest students; and $5 for children under 12. Tickets are available without charge to all Wake Forest students, faculty and staff. Tickets can be purchased weekdays, noon to 5 p.m., by visiting the Theatre Box Office in Scales Fine Arts Center or calling 336-758-5295.

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