Cottonwood Project will once again bring great talent, free music to community

The Cottonwood Project, four days of music that include four free music events at Fort Hays State University, will begin, Monday, April 9.

The project concludes with the Cottonwood Project Concert on 8 p.m., Thursday, April 12 in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center in Sheridan Hall.

"The Cottonwood Project is a great program," said Dr. Kristin Pisano, assistant professor of music. "We enjoy providing the community with the high level of chamber music that the Cottonwood Project offers."

The culminating musical event is the Cottonwood Project Concert, for which admission is charged, but four other musical interludes are free: the Master Class, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Palmer Concert Hall of Malloy Hall on the FHSU campus, on Monday, April 9; the Open Rehearsal, from 7 to 9 p.m. April 9 in Beach/Schmidt; the Cottonwood Sampler at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 10 in the Gallery of the Hays Public Library Recital 1205 Main; and the Master Class from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, in Palmer Hall in Malloy Hall on the FHSU campus.

The Cottonwood Project Concert is a benefit to raise funds for the Department of Music at FHSU. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $6 for seniors and students. Patron tickets are $20 and include admission to the concert, and the following reception as well as name recognition in the program. Contact the music department for additional information at (785) 628-4533. The deadline for patron tickets is April 6.

The Master Class features guest performers sharing their expertise with select students and the public. The Sampler includes excerpts from and discussions of the works that will be performed at the concert.

People who attend the concert will also have the opportunity to win prizes, including Encore Series tickets, tickets to FHSU Music Department concerts, a framed poster of this year's Cottonwood Project -- signed by the performers -- performing artists CDs and gift certificates to Hays area businesses.

The project features five musicians: Rose Armbrust, viola, a student in the Artist Diploma Program at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, Pa.; Jun Iwasaki, concertmaster of the Canton, Ohio, Symphony Orchestra; Sarah Crocker, violin, acting assistant concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Denver; Benjamin Morris-Cline, cellist and conductor and newly appointed chair of the Department of Music at FHSU;
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and Dr. Tali Morgulis, piano, assistant professor of music at FHSU and first-prize winner of the 2003 Stanislav Stancic International Piano Competition in Zagreb, Croatia.

Armbrust was invited in January 2005 to perform with Itzhak Perlman at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She is an avid chamber musician who has performed in and around New York City. As a member of the Versailles Quintet, she received second prize in the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition and was a finalist in the Fort Collins Symphony and Juilliard School of Solo Competitions.

Iwasaki is active as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician. He won the Japanese American Association Music Competition in 2005 and debuted in Carnegie Hall. He had performed as a substitute musician with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra at home and on tour. Last July, Iwasaki appeared as a guest concertmaster with the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada.

Crocker is a founding member of the Verklarte Quartet and a grand prizewinner of the 2003 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. She has been awarded top prizes in the Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition, the Syracuse Symphony Concerto Competition and the Doreen B. Herzog Young Artists Competition. She has appeared as a soloist with the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony, the Onondaga Civic Symphony, Onondaga County, N.Y., and the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Elmira and Corning, N.Y.

Morris-Cline is also an instructor of cello and bass at FHSU and is director of the University Chamber Orchestra. He has served as visiting professor of cello at the University of Northern Colorado. Morris-Cline has performed throughout the country in a variety of venues, both in solo and chamber music performances, including a live broadcast of the Kodaly Duo for Violin and Cello on Public Radio in Rochester, N.Y.

Morgulis was also awarded the special prize for the best performance of a classical composition and the Award for Highest Artistic Achievements from the Zagreb Academy of Music. Morgulis' most recent awards include second prize at the Pinerolo and third prize at the Jaen International Piano Competitions in Italy and Spain, respectively.

The Cottonwood Project is made possible by a gift from Dr. Claire Matthews and contributions from the Kansas Arts Commission, the FHSU Music Department, the Hays Public Library and FHSU's University Activities Board.

For more information or to inquire about purchasing tickets, contact the music department at (785) 628-4533, or Pisano by e-mail at

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Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
(785) 628-4206   |   Fax (785) 628-4152
Kent Steward, Director   |  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |