CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
University Symphony plays classical orchestra works in Clapp Hall Nov.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony will present a concert
of music for the small orchestra of the classical period, at 8 p.m. Wednesday,
Nov. 12. The concert, which will feature an orchestra with a reduced string
section and small number of wind instruments, will be held in the intimate
Clapp Recital Hall instead of the orchestra's usual performance home in
William LaRue Jones will conduct the performance, which will feature
cellist Charles Wendt as soloist in the Adagio with Variations of Italian
composer Ottorino Respighi. Other works on the program will be the Overture
to Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro"; Schubert's Symphony
No.5 in B-flat major; and Prokofiev's "Classical" Symphony of
The concert by the University Symphony will be the first major ensemble
performance in Clapp Recital Hall since the recent improvements to the
hall. Over the past year, several improvements were made, including news
seats, a refinished stage floor, improved stage lighting and a new pit
According to School of Music public events coordinator Mona Shaw, these
changes -- and particularly the pit cover -- have resulted in a much improved
sound quality in the hall. "The pit cover improves the appearance
of the hall and brings performers closer to the audience," she said.
"It also adds resonance, making the sound in the hall warmer, richer
and more immediate."
Respighi, who is best known for his colorful, extravagant orchestral
show pieces, composed a set of Variations for Cello and piano in 1912,
for Antonio Certani, a cellist and childhood friend of the composer. In
1920 he arranged the work as the Adagio with Variations for cello and orchestra.
Schubert wrote his Fifth Symphony in 1816, when he was just 19. The
work combines the external features of the Classical-period symphony, represented
by the small orchestra and the standard order and form of movements, with
Schubert's characteristic songful melodic style.
Prokofiev wrote his First Symphony, known today as the "Classical"
Symphony, partly as an exercise in composition, conceiving the piece in
his head on long walks in the country and putting it onto paper without
using a piano. The score also reflects his interest in the music of the
Classical period, as re-interpreted by his highly individual, 20th-century
Wendt, an active soloist and chamber musician, joined the faculty of
the UI School of Music in 1966. He graduated from the Juilliard School
of Music and received his master's degree from Indiana University, where
he was awarded the coveted Performer's Certificate.
He has appeared as soloist with the Atlanta, Richmond, Pittsburgh, Cedar
Rapids and Waterloo symphony orchestras. Before coming to the UI, he was
assistant first cellist with the Pittsburgh Symphony and principal cellist
of the Santa Fe Opera. Currently he is cellist of the Stradivari Quartet
and also principal cellist with the Quad-City Symphony.
A UI music alumnus and the founding music director/administrator of
the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of
Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., Jones came to the UI this fall to direct
the University Symphony for the 1997-98 academic year. He replaces James
Dixon, the director of the orchestra for more than 40 years, who retired
at the end of the 1996-97 academic year.
Jones is a highly honored musician, having received the Twin Cities
Mayors' Public Art Award, the American String Teachers Association Exceptional
Leadership and Merit Award and the David W. Preuss Leadership Award. He
has also been selected Musician of the Year by Sigma Alpha Iota , a music
Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra,
the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Sinfonie Orchester AML-Luzern (Switzerland)
and other orchestras around the world. He has conducted all-state and festival
orchestras in 46 states and five Canadian provinces. He has been conductor-in-residence
at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the University of Miami (Fla.).
Most recently, he conducted a concert with the orchestra of the All-State
Music Camp at the UI during the past summer.