A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Stephanie March is Principal Cellist of the SCSO and Assistant Principal of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. She teaches cello and chamber music at Morningside University in addition to maintaining a private studio of young cellists. She entered the Eastman School of Music as one of five prestigious Rogers Scholars and graduated with Highest Distinction in 2011. While at Eastman, she studied cello with Steven Doane and Rosemary Elliott and performed as principal in orchestras under the baton of Maestro Neil Varon. Her master’s degree was earned at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) where she attended as a full tuition Eckstein Scholarship winner, studying with Hans Jørgen Jensen.
March’s love of orchestral music began early in life. She started cello studies at age three with Joseph Shufro, Principal Cellist of the SCSO. At age eleven she continued her pre-college studies with Peter Howard, Principal Cellist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. By the time she was twelve, she was performing as a full section member in the SCSO. Since that time, she has performed with the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, the New World Symphony in Miami, the Omaha Symphony, and as Associate Principal with the South Dakota Symphony. Performances as featured soloist with the Sioux City Symphony have included the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Maestro Xian Zhang and more recently a performance of works by Rachmaninoff and Ginastera to celebrate the symphony’s centennial season with Maestro Ryan Haskins.
As soloist and chamber musician, March has been featured at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the prestigious Meadowmount School of Music, where she also taught, the LeMoyne Music Journeys Series, the Piano Recital Series at Morningside University, and the Sioux City Chamber Music Association Series. In 2013, March was selected as the National Winner of the Music Teachers National Association Young Artist String Competition in Anaheim, CA.
March’s chamber music collaborations have included such distinguished artists as Grammynominated James Ehnes, Paavali Jumppanen and Andrew Russo. She has also worked with awardwinning composer George Tsontakis and Pulitzer Prize winner Aaron Jay Kernis. She has served as the cellist with the Dakota String Quartet and currently performs as a duo partner with SCSO Principal Bassist Chunyang Wang. Their duo was selected in 2021 to present “Low Strings Attached,” a recital for the convention of the International Society of Bassists. March also performs in a trio with clarinetist Parker Gaims from the President’s Own Marine Band and pianist Yi-Yang Chen, Professor of Music at the University of Kansas. In addition, she collaborates regularly with Shichao Zhang, faculty pianist from Northwestern University, for solo recital appearances.
With all his fame as a symphonist and composer of string quartets, Haydn is less remembered as composer of concertos. Partly this is because he wasn’t a virtuoso himself and relied on others to promote them. However, he wrote solos for keyboard, string, wind, and brass instruments; those for cello and trumpet have become cornerstones of those players’ literature.
Haydn’s longtime employment at the court of Esterházy as Kapellmeister (a combination of conductor, composer, and performer) brought him in contact with fine instrumentalists leading their sections of the orchestra. By the 1780s Haydn was known throughout Europe and was able to seat around 24 musicians in his ensemble at its peak.
Principal cellist Anton Kraft (from an aptly named brewing family) was the recipient of this concerto in 1783, about five years after joining the ensemble. He went on to a distinguished solo and chamber career in Vienna premiering Beethoven’s Triple Concerto. As a composition student of Haydn as well, Kraft was long posited as the author of this concerto until the manuscript resurfaced in 1951. During that time the piece was often played in a reorchestrated, romanticized arrangement. Considering Haydn’s much earlier C major concerto wasn’t itself rediscovered until 1961, our history of understanding his cello works accurately is relatively short. Tonight’s concerto is technically demanding for its time with octaves and high passagework and may have been used by Kraft on one of his tours in the 1780s when he met Mozart.
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