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UI Composers Workshop opens '98-'99 season Sept. 27 with concert of five new works

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Composers Workshop of the University of Iowa School of Music will open its 1998-99 season with a free concert of new works by composition students at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

A collaborative project between composers and performers in the UI School of Music, the Composers Workshop is devoted to the performance of music written at the UI. Several times each semester, concerts are organized of new works by student composers. Since there is no standing ensemble for the workshop to draw upon, composers recruit the performers for each piece.

Martin Jenni, a professor of music in the theory and composition department of the School of Music who supervises the workshop, commented: "The Composers Workshop provides a wonderful opportunity for composers and performers to work together, and both groups benefit. The performers can know exactly what the composer wants because the composer is right there. On the other hand, the composer gets constant feedback from the performers, learning what does or doesn't work in a particular situation."

Five works will be performed on the Sept. 27 concert. The first, Two Songs for baritone and piano by doctoral composition student Edgar Crockett is a setting of two poems by the composer's father. The first poem, "La Reve des Revieres" (The dream of the rivers) reflects on the brevity of life, and the second, "Pavanne," describes a memory of domestic life in the Crockett household.

Masters composition student Mark Chubb wrote "Elevator Operator for digital tape" in the fall of 1977, as the culmination of his first semester's study of electronic music, and he recently revised the piece in light of his increasing experience with electronic media. The title refers to the use of high and low frequencies.

"Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter" is master's student J.J. Hudson's setting for mezzo-soprano and piano of a poem by Robert Bly. Hudson says he identified with the scenario of the poem and "intended to capture the late-night icy solitude in which the poem's speaker finds comfort."

"Improvisation Practice Number 100" for saxophone and piano by master's composition student Alexandre Lunsqui is what the title suggests, a freely constructed piece that involves improvisation by the performers on musical material specified by the composer.

"Tasten" for solo piano by doctoral composition student Dimitri Papageorgiou takes its title from a German word that has several musical meanings. As a noun it means "keys," as of a keyboard instrument, and as a verb it means "to touch," or by extension, to play on a keyboard instrument.

The Composer's Workshop concerts are organized by Crockett, as part of an assistantship with the composition department at the UI School of Music.

9/18/98