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Release: Immediate

UI Symphony Band will kick off 1998-99 season with a free concert Oct. 28

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble with director Myron Welch will kick off their 1998-99 concert season with a free performance at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The top wind ensemble at the UI School of Music, the Symphony Band presents a series of free concerts on campus each year, in addition to performances on tour in Iowa and around the Midwest. The Chamber Wind Ensemble is a smaller group made up of first chair players from the Symphony Band. The Oct. 28 program will feature original works for band alongside transcriptions of brilliant and colorful orchestral works.

The complete program comprises six works: "Le bal de Beatrice d'Este" (The ball of Beatrice d'Este) by Reynaldo Hahn; an arrangement for band of Leonard Bernstein's brilliant and witty Overture to "Candide"; Variations for Wind Band by Ralph Vaughan Williams; Malcolm Arnold's "English Dances," Set II; "Sea Songs" by Thomas Knox; and "Jig" by UI graduate Daniel Godfrey.

Hahn was one of the most versatile French musicians of the first half of the 20th century. A fine singer, conductor, pianist, critic and composer, he was also popular in Parisian society, where he hobnobbed with Marcel Proust and Sarah Bernhardt. The Chamber Wind Ensemble will perform "Le bal de Beatrice d'Este" in its original instrumentation for 10 winds with piano, harp and percussion. The score is a delicate and stylish evocation of the balls of the aristocratic d'Este family in Renaissance Italy.

A dominant figure on the American musical landscape for many years, Leonard Bernstein was another multiply-talented musician: conductor of the New York Philharmonic, composer of numerous concert works and, in "West Side Story," one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time, and a consummate educator. His operetta based on Volatire's "Candide" never lasted long on Broadway, but its sparkling overture has been a staple of the concert hall since its first performance in 1957.

The great British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote several pieces for winds, including the perennial favorite for band, the "Folk Song Suite." His Variations for Wind Band was one of his last works, composed for brass band for the 1957 National Brass Championship of Great Britain. That version has been arranged several times, once by Gordon Jacob as the Variations for Orchestra, and once by the American band conductor Donald Hunsberger in a version that uses the full resources of the contemporary American concert band.

Malcolm Arnold has been recognized as one of the most professional and versatile composers in England after World War II. He has written seven symphonies and many other concert works, several dramatic works, and the scores for "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and more than 80 other films. One of many works that draw on British folk themes, the two sets of English dances also reveal Arnold's penchant for tuneful and pleasing compositions.

Thomas Knox is the chief composer and arranger for the United States Marine Band in Washington, D.C. Based on nautical songs and sea chanties, "Sea Songs" was written for the 350th anniversary of the city of Boston. It was premiered in Boston in May 1980 by the Marine Band with conductor Col. John Bourgeois, who guest conducted at the UI last summer for the annual All State Music Camp.

A graduate of Yale University, Daniel Godfrey received his doctorate in composition from the UI. He is currently on leave as director of the School of Music at Syracuse University to teach composition at Indiana University. The recipient of numerous awards and commissions, Godfrey has had works performed across the United States and currently has commissions in progress for the Cassatt String Quartet, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Big Ten Band Directors Association.

"Jig," commissioned by the University of Texas Wind Ensemble, makes an ideal concert closer. The composer explained, "While composing, I imagined the ensemble as an irrepressible behemoth, full of good humor and high spirits, perhaps a bit oversized for a sprightly jig but unable to resist."

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. 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 of the American Bandmasters Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters Association. He is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with bands throughout the Midwest.

10/16/98