Duet recital features popular, celebrated faculty artists

KALAMAZOO — Two of Western Michigan University’s most popular and celebrated musicians, violinist Renata Artman Knific and pianist Lori Sims, will perform together in a Faculty Artist Series recital Friday, Jan. 24, beginning at 8:15 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

Tickets for the Knific-Sims duet recital, which will include sonatas by William Bolcom, Karol Szymanowski, and Maurice Ravel, are available through the Miller Auditorium Box Office and may be ordered by calling 269 387-2300 or toll free 800 228-9858.

Knific is a professor of music and chair of the string area in the WMU School of Music, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1987. She holds degrees from Szymanowski Liceum in her native Poland, from the Royal College of Music in England and from the Cleveland Institute.

A member of WMU’s acclaimed Merling Trio, Knific has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician, as well as with orchestras in the United States and Great Britain including the BBC Scottish Symphony, the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, and the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia. While with the English Chamber Orchestra she recorded on several record labels and toured in Europe, the United States, South America, and Asia. A former faculty member at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Cleveland Institute, she is a charter faculty member of the Encore School for Strings.

A member of the WMU faculty since 1997, Sims is a professor of piano and chairs the School of Music’s keyboard area. The first local artist to be featured at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, in 2000, Sims’ debut at New York City’s Alice Tully Hall, also in 2000, met with critical acclaim from the New York Times. She holds degrees in music from Peabody and Yale universities, and earned an artist diploma in Germany.

Sims received the First Prize Gold Medal at the 1998 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. Other prizes include first place co-winner of the 1994 Felix Bartholdy-Mendelssohn Competition in Berlin, winner of the 1993 American Pianists Association Competition with outstanding distinction from the jury. She has performed throughout America, Europe and China, including performances with the Israel Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Spokane Chamber Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Symphony and the NordDeutsche-Rundfunks Orchestra.

Prior to her appointment at WMU, Sims was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Illinois. During the summer, she is an artist-teacher at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina and the Internationale Konzertarbeitswochen in Goslar, Germany.