CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
UI symphony band and organist Disselhorst will give concert Nov. 5
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony Band will open its
1997-98 concert series with a free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5,
in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
The concert, under UI Director of Bands Myron Welch, will feature the
Chamber Wind Ensemble -- a smaller, select group from within the Symphony
Band -- playing two early-20th-century rarities, the "Greek Dances"
of Nikos Skalkottas and Paul Hindemith's Kammermusik (Chamber music) No.
7, op. 46 no. 2, with organist Delbert Disselhorst.
Other works on the program, performed by the full symphony band, will
be the "New England Triptych" of William Schumann, Vittorio Giannini's
Symphony No. 3 for band, and Serge Prokofiev's March, op. 99.
Little known during his lifetime, the Greek composer Skalkottas has
been called "a volcanic talent" and "a Mozart of our time."
After studies at the Athens Conservatory, he journeyed to Berlin in 1921
for further study in violin and composition. In 1933 the rising tide of
Nazism drove him back to Athens, where he played in the violin section
of the State Orchestra of Athens until his death in 1949.
Finding the climate hostile to contemporary music, Skalkottas composed
mostly in isolation, and most of his music was unknown until it was discovered
after his death. Today, manuscripts for more than 100 works ranging from
short, modest compositions to extremely large and complex works are collected
at the Skalkottas Archives in Athens.
An avid collector of Greek folk and dance music, Skalkottas composed
36 Greek dances for orchestra soon after his return to Greece from Germany.
In 1940-42 he arranged nine of the dances, based on dance types from different
regions of Greece, for military band. These arrangements were never performed
in Skalkottas' lifetime and have only recently been published.
Composed in 1928, Hindemith's' Kammermusik No. 7 is part of a series
of works composed for small ensembles and solo instruments. Written to
provide usable repertoire for soloists on many different instruments, the
series reflects Hindemith's lifelong interest in practical solutions to
players' needs for repertoire that is accessible to players and audiences
Number 7 of the series, subtitled "Concerto for organ and chamber
orchestra," calls for organ with a small wind ensemble plus cello
and string bass. The style reflects the composer's reverence for the great
German composer J.S Bach and follows the standard concerto form of Bach's
time, consisting of three movements in the sequence fast-slow-fast.
One of the most distinguished American musicians of the 20th century,
William Schuman was president of the Juilliard School 1945-62 and president
of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts -- of which Juilliard is
now a part -- 1962-68. A versatile composer, he wrote numerous orchestral,
chamber and vocal works, music for films, ballets and an opera on the popular
story of "Casey at the Bat."
His New England Triptych, composed in 1956, was subtitled "Three
Pieces for Orchestra after William Billings." It was arranged for
concert band by the composer and has since been a staple of the band repertoire.
The score is based on three tunes -- "Be Glad Then America,"
"When Jesus Wept" and "Chester" -- by William Billings,
a revolutionary-era American composer of "Fuguing tunes" and
other songs that achieved wide popularity in 18th-century New England.
After fashion passed him by, his music fell into obscurity, but today it
is recognized for its vigorous tunes and energetic spirit, and Billings
is considered a major figure in the history of American music.
Like Schuman, Giannini was an important American music educator and
composer. A graduate of the Juilliard School, he taught at his alma mater,
at the Manhattan School of Music and the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.
He was a guiding force in the founding of the North Carolina School of
the Arts and served as its first president.
Giannini's compositions include 11 operas, several large choral works,
songs, numerous works for piano, chamber music, and numerous orchestral
works. His works for concert band are considered among the most important
original compositions for the medium.
Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980. In addition to
conducting the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, Welch teaches courses
in instrumental methods and conducting, and is coordinator of the Iowa
Honor Band and the All-State Music Camp. Prior to joining the UI faculty
he was director of bands and coordinator of music education at Wright State
University in Dayton, Ohio. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in music
from Michigan State University and a doctorate in music education from
the University of Illinois.
Welch is past president and chair of the board of directors of the American
Bandmasters Association, president of the Big 10 Band Directors Association
and past president of the Iowa Bandmasters Association. He is a frequent
guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with bands throughout the Midwest.
Disselhorst has been a member of the UI School of Music faculty since
1970. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in music from the University
of Illinois, where he graduated as a Bronze Tablet Scholar. As a recipient
of a Fulbright grant in organ, he also studied at the Staatliche Hochschule
fuer Musik in Frankfurt, Germany. He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts
degree from the University of Michigan.
As a concert artist, Disselhorst has performed in the United States,
Canada and Europe. He has appeared as a recitalist for several regional
conventions and for the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists
in Houston, Texas, in 1989. Tours of Europe have included recitals in Denmark,
Germany and France.