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Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Pierce to perform Biber's 'Mystery Sonatas,' May 20

Lillian Pierce, a 2002 Princeton alumna who was co-concertmaster of the Princeton University Orchestra, will present a free concert at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 20, in the Rockefeller Hall Common Room.

Pierce, who was valedictorian of the class of 2002, has returned to Princeton to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics after spending two years at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. While in England, she was co-concertmaster of the Oxford University Orchestra and a member of several chamber groups.

The music world at Oxford inspired her to look for unusual performance spaces, such as the hall where she will present a selection of the "Mystery Sonatas" by the little-known Baroque composer Heinrich Biber. Pierce is a graduate fellow of Rockefeller College.

The sonatas were written in 1670 and use the unusual technique of scordatura, requiring that the strings of the violin be tuned to a unique set of pitches for each piece. Pierce will perform using several violins, including one that is 300 years old.

She will be accompanied by Richard Tang Yuk on an organ transported to the hall just for this occasion and cellist Diana Rosenblum.

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