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Release: Immediate

Two Iowa choral directors publish 20th-century bibliography

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Richard Bloesch, associate professor of music at the University of Iowa, and Weyburn Wasson, the director of choirs at Coe College, are co-editors of a new bibliography of contemporary choral music, recently published by the American Choral Directors Association.

Bloesch and Wasson spent several years compiling, writing and editing the 289-page volume, "20th-Century Choral Music (An Annotated Bibliography of Music Appropriate for College and University Choirs)." The authors describe the book as "selective and suggestive rather than complete or exhaustive." It covers the entire range of the 20th century up to the present, from works by Claude Debussy and Richard Strauss to very recently published works.

Works in the volume are all for mixed choirs. Both large and small works are listed, as well as works of differing levels of difficulty. Both sacred and secular works are included, but not works that are most suitable either for swing choirs or for church choirs. Also omitted for sake of space are arrangements of spirituals, folk songs and carols.

The authors have written brief descriptions and annotations for many of the works in the compilation. For the listings of the most contemporary works, Bloesch and Wasson wrote to more than 200 composers, asking them to indicate which of their choral works should receive highest priority. They also asked the composers to write comments about three or four works they considered most appropriate for college or university choral groups, and these annotations are included in the volume.

According to Bloesch, the composers' annotations represent "one of the most significant aspects of the book, because they were written specifically for this volume and do not appear elsewhere."

Bloesch received his doctorate in choral conducting and choral literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. He teaches the history of choral literature in the UI School of Music, conducts the Camerata Singers and advises doctoral students. He is CD review editor for the Choral Journal, and he held the national chair of the Repertoire and Standards Committee for Colleges and Universities in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).

A graduate of Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Wasson also holds master's and doctoral degrees in choral conducting from the UI. He has performed as a professional choral singer in London and Washington, D.C. He has taught voice and led choirs at the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minn., Briar Cliff College in Sioux City and St. Ambrose University in Davenport. In addition to his position at Coe College he directs the adult choir at First Christian Church in Iowa City, and teaches private voice lessons.