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Jesselson/Fugo Duo

This CD was produced as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of the Jesselson/Fugo Duo. As part of that event, the Duo commissioned six composers to create 10–minute works for cello and piano. The composers are all current or emeritus faculty members of the School of Music at the University of South Carolina, where the Duo is in residence. They are: Reginald Bain, Samuel Douglas, Gordon “Dick” Goodwin, Tayloe Harding, Bert Ligon, and John Fitz Rogers,. In addition, this CD contains three works for solo cello which were either written for Robert Jesselson, or closely associated with him, by composers Ben Boone, Ayala Kalus and Meira Warshauer, All the composers are from the Carolinas.

Since their formation in 1981, the Jesselson/Fugo Duo has been delighting audiences with their impeccable ensemble playing and the rich literature for cello and piano. Included in their repertoire are the major sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Strauss, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Schubert, Boccherini, Valentini, and Rachmaninoff, and other major works for cello and piano such as the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations, Chopin Polonaise Brillante, and Bruch Kol Nidre, as well as numerous virtuosic showpieces by Popper, Cassado, Nin, Paganini and others. With special emphasis on the Romantic repertoire, the Duo also performs music by contemporary composers such as Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Barber, Carter and Messaien, as well as exploring less well known composers of works for cello and piano, such as John Knowles Payne, Robert Fuchs and Jacob Avshalomov.

This CD celebrates the longevity of the Jesselson/Fugo duo, and adds to the existing body of literature for cello and piano.

Robert Jesselson is a Carolina Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina, where he teaches cello and plays in the American Arts Trio. In 2010 he was also named Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year, the highest teaching award given by USC. He was the national President of ASTA, the American String Teachers Association, from 2000-2002. During his tenure as president he initiated the National Studio Teachers Forums (2000 and 2002), started the National String Project Consortium (with sites now at 40 universities and grants of $3.1 million), and began the planning for the first stand-alone ASTA national convention in 2003. Dr. Jesselson has performed in recital and with orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States, and has participated in the Music Festivals at Nice, Granada, Santiago, Aspen, Spoleto and the Grand Tetons. His performance degrees are from the Staatliche Hochschule fuer Musik in Freiburg, West Germany, from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Paul Katz, and from Rutgers where he studied with cellist Bernard Greenhouse. He has been principal cello of the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orquesta-Sinfonica de Las Palmas, Spain. In 1983 Dr. Jesselson was in China for a six-month residency, one of the first Western cellists to visit that country. During that time he performed as soloist, gave master classes, and taught at various conservatories. For 15 years he was the director of the USC String Project, building the program into one of the largest and most prominent string education programs in the country. His pioneering work on this program was recognized in an article in the New York Times in December, 2003. ASTA awarded him the “Marvin Rabin Community Service” Award in 2009 for his work with the NSPC and teacher training. He is the recipient of the, the 2010 Mungo Distinguished Professor Award, the 2002 Cantey Award for Outstanding Faculty, the 1992 Verner Award, the 1989 S.C. Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, the 1995 Mungo Teaching Award, and the first SC ASTA Studio Teacher Award in 2005. Dr. Jesselson was the cello teacher at the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts for 17 years. In December, 2001 he led a delegation of string players and teachers to Cuba to begin professional contact with Cuban musicians. He has also taught at Sookmyung University in Korea, Sun Yat Sen University in Taiwan, University of Auckland in New Zealand, and at the Royal College of Music in London, and has taught at various music festivals, including the Green Mountain Music Festival in Vermont, the Festival Inverno in Brazil, ARIA Festival, Madeleine Island Music Festival, NC School of the Arts summer program, and the Cellospeak festival in Pennsylvania.

Charles Fugo is currently Professor of Piano at the University of South Carolina School of Music, where he teaches applied piano and coaches chamber music. He received his baccalaureate degree at Oberlin Conservatory, with additional study at the Akademie des Mozarteums, Salzburg, Austria, and his MM and DM Performance degrees at Indiana University, where he was also awarded the Performer’s Certificate. During his study at Indiana he was named a state winner in the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Division. His principal teachers include Abbey Simon, Jorge Bolet, and Joseph Schwartz, with additional study under Winfried Wolf, Sidney Foster, and Robin McCabe and chamber music coaching under Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio. The recipient of the 2008 Cantey Outstanding Faculty Award given by the School of Music, he was also a staff member of the Anderson Piano Performance Camp and the summer honors program of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, serving in the latter capacity for thirteen years. He was also official accompanist for the Josef Hofmann Competition, held in Aiken, South Carolina, over a five-year period. For over ten years he was sponsored by the South Carolina Arts Commission (Stage South Community Tour) as a member of both the Jesselson/Fugo Duo and the American Arts Trio. He has played collaborative recitals at New York City’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and with violist Lenny Schranze he has recorded the complete music for viola and piano by Robert Schumann for Centaur Records. He has also appeared with the South Carolina Philharmonic, the South Carolina Chamber Orchestra, and the Florence (SC), Charleston (SC) and Temple (TX) Symphony Orchestras. He has performed throughout the Southeast as well as in other areas of the United States, and has appeared on several statewide programs on South Carolina Educational Radio and Television as both soloist and chamber musician.