What will you be doing Friday at 11 p.m.?

If you?re not already drunk and stumbling around UR?s fraternity quad, you might want to go to Eastman. Charles Castleman, professor of violin, will be putting on a lighthearted show called the April Fools? Weekend Concert with some seriously first-rate music.

Several professors will assist him, including violinist Lynn Blakeslee, oboist Richard Killmer, double bassist James Vandemark, pianist Barry Snyder and the talented teachers in the Ying Quartet.

Also assisting Castleman is James Undercofler, director and dean of the Eastman School of Music.

?At the concert, all of the colleagues listed are actively performing, but in some manner where you would not expect to see them,? Castleman said.

I?m not exactly sure how I?m expecting to see Undercofler.

?I?m involved in each work, but play no violin after intermission,? Castleman informed me.


You should be. First of all, Eastman doesn?t usually host concerts that start at 11 p.m. At that time on most nights, the only people hanging out in Kilbourn Hall are cleaning it.

Secondly, the list of random facts that professor Castleman gave me to peruse hardly resembles the resume of a normal professor of anything.

When he was a boy, Castleman acted in a TV drama as a prodigy who grows up to be a murderer.

He was acquainted with Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, while they both attended Harvard.

A dancer knocked his bow out of his hand while he was synching to a recorded version of his playing during a broadcast to the TV audience of the Tommy Dorsey Show.

He was baby-sat regularly by Kitty Dixon, the future wife of presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, and is the only professor at a major American music school to have shattered each arm in accidents 45 years apart.

What does this have to do with the upcoming concert? In my estimation, very little.

I did a little research and discovered that Professor Castleman has actual credentials. He?s been awarded honors such as the Levintritt, Tchaikovsky and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium prizes.

He?s recorded for many labels, including SONY, Nonesuch, Albany, Musicmasters and Unicorn.

It looks as though he?s played with all the famous orchestras and gone to all the major music festivals and cities with his 1708 Stradivarius violin.

The International Directory of Musicians at www.musicbase.org praises Castleman as ?a ?wunderkind? almost from the cradle.?

This ?wunderkind? has worked at Eastman since 1975 and has subtitled this week?s concert his ?25th Anniversary Concert.?

The first piece on the program will be Baroque god Bach?s Partita in b-minor, BWV 1002.

The second will be a sonata by Charles Ives, an innovative American composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

After the lively last movement of the Ives sonata, titled ?Ferdinand the Bull,? there will be a pause.

The program will continue with French romantic composer Saint-Saens? ?The Swan,? taken from the symphonic poem entitled ?The Carnival of the Animals.?

The next two pieces on the program are Castleman?s own arrangements ? one of the Middle String Quartets of Beethoven and the other of a Kurz piece called ?The Last Contrabass in Las Vegas.?

Since this concert is titled the April Fools? Weekend Concert, I?m betting that the shenanigans and surprises will go even beyond a closing piece that conjures up images of a large stringed instrument hanging out in a swanky casino.

The concert starts at 11 p.m., following OSSIA?s 8 p.m. interpretation of John Cage?s ?Song Books,? which is also taking place in Kilbourn Hall.

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