WADSWORTH — The marriage of soprano voice and violin was showcased with a performance by James and Madelaine Matej MacQueen at Wadsworth Public Library on Sunday afternoon.
“We noticed as we went through repertoire, as we went through our music studies, people kept saying and writing throughout history the violin and the voice sound so similar they are a perfect pairing,” Madelaine Matej MacQueen, 24, told the crowd.
The couple first met at University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., while working on their undergraduate degrees. James serves as the violinist and Madelaine the soprano singer.
James, 27, said Madelaine was first to realize that there was something special between them.
“She started writing me love letters every Wednesday, and what was I to do in response but start writing love songs every Wednesday,” he said during the show.
After opening the show with a nearly 500-year-old composition, the duo moved onto three selections composed by the late Rebecca Clarke in the early 1900s.
“We have the distinctive pleasure of featuring a woman composer on our program, which shouldn’t have to be a distinctive pleasure, it should be just half our program,” James told the audience.
Madelaine said due to legal issues, a very limited number of Clarke’s works are available to the public.
“It is that kind of frustrating thing that keeps happening with women composers,” she said.
Since relocating to Northeast Ohio about two years ago, the couple are performing with the Case Western Reserve Baroque Orchestra.
Madelaine is working on a Ph.D. in musicology at Case Western Reserve University.
During the question-and-answer portion of the show, both James and Madelaine were asked how they first became interested in music.
“When I was 8, I asked my parents for Scottish fiddle lessons; however there were no Scottish fiddle teachers in the area and they went ahead and got me classical violin lessons instead,” James said. “I decided that I really liked this classical violin stuff.”
Madelaine said her love of singing dates to when she was 8 years old and her mother showed her a copy of Ingmar Bergman’s “The Magic Flute” from 1975.
“I loved it and I wanted to be the Queen of the Night and I kept asking to be the Queen of the Night until finally I was in a chorus and then voice lessons and then my degrees,” she said.
The performance was presented by the Ohio Regional Music Arts Cultural Outreach.