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Carol Wincenc to perform with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra

November 10, 1999

By MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer

Those who fill the theater this weekend for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra concert will have the privilege of hearing a piece not only written for the soloist's instrument, but specifically for the soloist.

Carol Wincenc will perform Christopher Rouse's Flute Concerto Saturday, Nov. 13, and Sunday, Nov. 14, at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown.

She and Rouse went to Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, together. She premiered the piece with Detroit Symphony in 1994, and has performed it about a dozen times.

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"Christopher's piece is very provocative, evocative. It has these unbelievable opening and closing sections. It's epic, really," Wincenc says.

The third movement, "basically socks people between the eyes," says Wincenc, who is on the faculty at The Juilliard School of Music in New York. "Some regional orchestras are a little leary" of the piece, she adds.

Wincenc played the Rouse piece under the direction of Elizabeth Schulze two-and-a-half years ago in Waterloo, Iowa. Schulze, now MSO music director, welcomes the soloist and the piece to the program.

"She's just superb, at the top of the field as a performer," Schulze says.

The Rouse concerto is "an outstanding representation of contemporary music that can reach an audience. It's new, it's fresh," Schulze says.

Wincenc will be accompanied by the full orchestra, including tuba, harp and percussion, Schulze says.

Wincenc, pronounced like "incense" with a "w," is no stranger to commissioned works. Henryk Gorecki, Lukas Foss, Peter Schickele, Joan Tower, Paul Schoenfield and Tobias Picker also have written pieces for her.

Sometimes composers seek Wincenc out and other times she goes looking for them. She says the commissioned works all are different, with some highlighting lyrical lines and others virtuosity.

What she's looking for is "the quality of their work, if it touches me in a certain way."

"The 20th century is just loaded with good things," Wincenc said in an interview from Ann Arbor, Mich., where she was going to perform.

So, too, were the eras preceding it.

What Wincenc calls the "Golden Age" featured works for flute by Georg Telemann, C.P.E. and J.S. Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. She also is fond of some of Mozart's concerti, which she often performs with harpist Nancy Allen, a fellow faculty member at Juilliard.

Wincenc has been a soloist with the Saint Louis, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Houston and Seattle symphonies, Buffalo Philharmonic and Los Angeles and Saint Paul chamber orchestras. She also has performed at the Mostly Mozart, Santa Fe, Spoleto, Caramoor and Marlboro music festivals.

Music played a role in Wincenc's life from the beginning.

Her father, Joseph Wincenc, was a symphony conductor. In fact, she traveled from Ann Arbor to Buffalo, N.Y., a few weeks ago to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award for him. Her father, 84, lives in Boston and was unable to attend.

Wincenc started playing the violin at age 4. She was a dedicated ballerina from ages 7 to 14 and started playing flute at age 9.

Her schedule is divided between performances on the road and teaching at Juilliard, and the amount of time spent doing each varies.

"Every season is different," Wincenc says.

This year she's been performing almost every weekend, with most concerts being on the East Coast.

Wincenc's husband is Daniel Webster, a lyric baritone who has performed in "Les Miserables" on Broadway. They have done recitals and made recordings together.

Wincenc and Webster have a son, Nicola, 6, who just had his singing debut in the Bernstein Mass. "I think that he could easily be in the Met Opera Chorus," she says.

The time she spends with her family at their home in New York "ebbs and flows," Wincenc says, though Christmas and Easter breaks are pretty consistently spent together.

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