An Evening of Cello Music: Alistair MacRae, Cristina Valdés

January 5, 2018

Jacobsen Series concert;
7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan 19

TACOMA, Wash. – Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and contemporary composer Blaise Ferrandino make up the program of masterworks chosen by cellist Alistair MacRae for the first Jacobsen Series concert of the New Year.

An Evening of Cello Works will feature Alistair MacRae, cello, University of Puget Sound Cordelia Wikarski-Miedel Artist in Residence, and University of Washington’s Artist in Residence Cristina Valdés, on piano. The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, in Schneebeck Concert Hall on campus, near the corner of N. 14th Street and Union Avenue. Ticket information and a link to a campus map are below.

“The program brings together some of the most exciting, beautiful, and well-known music for the cello, and spans musical history from the Baroque era to today,” says MacRae.

The evening will begin with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for Solo Cello, BWV 1007, one of the most iconic and best-loved pieces for the cello.

“This and its companion suites by Bach lie at the heart of any cellist’s repertoire,” MacRae says. “In these pieces alone, one can find a lifetime of reasons to play—and listen to—the cello. They serve as a prime example of how one instrument alone can generate a complete musical experience.”

Petite Suite for Violoncello (2015), which follows, is a modern take on the solo cello suite. It integrates seven short sections that vary from dance-like elegance, to vigorous movement, to interludes of a searching and yearning character. The work is written by Blaise Ferrandino, professor of music theory and composition at Texas Christian University.

Next up is Ludwig van Beethoven’s Seven Variations on Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen (In Men Who Feel Love) for Cello and Piano, WoO 46. The piece borrows an aria from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, interpreting it in a tantalizing variety of structures.

The evening ends with Johannes Brahms’ Sonata No. 1 in e minor for Cello and Piano, Opus 38, written by the German composer with instructions that the piano “should be a partner—often a leading, often a watchful and considerate partner,” rather than playing merely an accompanying role.  

Alistair MacRae, cello, has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral principal throughout North America and in Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. He is Cordelia Wikarski-Miedel Artist in Residence at Puget Sound, cellist of the Puget Sound Piano Trio, principal cello of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, a member of the artist faculty at Brevard Music Center, and part of the voice and cello duo Soprello.  He has appeared in numerous chamber music festivals and series, as well as with the Berkshire Bach Ensemble in concerts presented by Carnegie Hall, and on radio broadcasts across the United States. He is also a passionate advocate for new music, having premiered new works at Princeton, Yale, Columbia, and Harvard universities, and performed his own compositions and arrangements throughout North America. For more, visit:

Cristina Valdés, piano, is considered one of today’s foremost interpreters of contemporary music. She has performed across four continents and in venues such as the Lincoln Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Miller Theatre, Jordan Hall, and the Kennedy Center. She has appeared at festivals worldwide and as concerto soloist with Hopkins Symphony Orchestra; Binghamton Philharmonic and Seattle Philharmonic orchestras; and Philharmonia Northwest, among others. In 2015 she performed the piano solo part of Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 4 with the Seattle Symphony, which was later released on CD to critical acclaim. Valdés also can be heard on the Albany Records, Newport Classic, and Urtext labels. For more, visit:

The Jacobsen Series, named in honor of Leonard Jacobsen, former chair of the piano department at Puget Sound, has been running since 1984. The Jacobsen Series Scholarship Fund awards annual music scholarships to outstanding student performers and scholars. The fund is sustained entirely by season subscribers and ticket sales.

FOR TICKETS: Tickets are available online at, or at Wheelock Information Center, 253.879.3100. Admission is $15 for the general public; $10 for seniors (55+), students, military, and Puget Sound faculty and staff. The concert is free for current Puget Sound students. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

For directions and a map of the campus:
For accessibility information please contact or 253.879.3931, or visit

Press photos of the artists are available upon request.
Photos on page: From top right: Alistair MacRae, by David Crow; Johannes Sebastian Bach; Alistair MacRae; Cristina Valdés, by Monica Frisell.

For More Music Events visit the School of Music calendar.

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