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Release: April 2, 1999

UI, West Des Moines Valley High symphony bands present concert April 16

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony Band will be joined by a guest ensemble, the West Des Moines Valley High School Symphony Band, for a free concert at 8 p.m. Friday, April 16 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.

The Valley High School Symphony Band, directed by Tony Garmoe, will perform the first half of the concert. They will play the First Suite for Band of Thom Ritter George, "Der Traum des Oenghus" (The dream of Oenghus) by Rolf Rundin, "Adagio sostenuto" from the Symphony for Band of Vincent Persichetti and "Tempered Steel" by Charles Young.

The UI Symphony Band, directed by Myron Welch, will play "Celebration" by Edward Gregson, Paul Hindemith's Symphony in B-flat for Concert Band, and "Dionysiaques" by Florent Schmitt.

In recent years the UI Symphony Band has invited an outstanding area band to perform with them on a concert during the spring semester. The April 16 guest performance by the Valley High School Symphony Band continues that tradition.

The Valley High School Symphony Band has a tradition of excellence that includes performance honors at the Iowa High School Music Association State Large Group Contest, the Worlds of Fun Band Festival, the Adventureland Concert Band Festival and the Iowa State University Honor Band Festival. Six to 12 individuals from the band have been selected for the Iowa all-State Band for the past eight years. In 1997 the band performed at the Music Educators National Conference North Central Division/Illinois Music Educators Association Conference in Peoria.

In the spring of 1998 the band presented the world premiere of Andrew Boysen's "A Fallen Leaf." Commissioned through the Valley Wind and Percussion Commissions Program, this work was the first composition sponsored in part by the Valley High School Band Boosters.

A prominent composer in England, Gregson is principal lecturer at Goldsmith's College, University of London, and teaches composition at the Royal Academy of Music. Subtitled "Praeludium for Wind, Brass, Percussion, Harp and Piano," "Celebration" was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society for its 150th anniversary and premiered by the orchestra in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II on March 21, 1991.

The composer has written, "I was particularly pleased to receive the invitation to write this piece, as it gave me an opportunity to compose a work which would celebrate not just the birthday of a great orchestra, but the skills of a fine group of players, allowing them to demonstrate both their virtuosity and their capacity for sustained, sensitive playing." Played without pause, the piece has four distinct sections: a fanfare for brass, a scherzo featuring woodwinds, a chorale and a finale that combines the chorale and the fanfare.

Forced to leave Germany to escape the Nazis, Hindemith came to the United States in 1940 and taught at Yale University from 1941 until 1953. One of the classics of the band repertoire, his Symphony in B-flat was written for the United States Army Band. It was premiered in Washington, D.C., on April 5, 1951 with the composer conducting. The three-movement symphony shows Hindemith's great contrapuntal skill and the organized logic of his thematic material. The score follows the traditional symphonic structure: an opening movement in sonata form, a slow movement and a finale.

A native of northeastern France, Florent Schmitt went to the Paris Conservatory in 1889 at the age of 19 to study with the distinguished composers Jules Massenet and Gabriel Faure. Except for four years in Rome, he spent most of the remainder of his life in Paris. He made one trip to the United States in 1932 to perform the solo part of his Symphonie concertante with the Boston Symphony. Schmitt continued composing until shortly before his death at the age of 87.

"Dionysiaques" was composed in 1913 for the 100-member Band of the Garde Republicaine in Paris and was first performed in 1925. The title, from Greek mythology, refers to the gods of drama and wind, similar to the familiar Roman god Bacchus.

Garmoe is a former graduate assistant with UI bands who received a master's degree in band conducting from the UI in 1990. He has been director of bands at Valley High School since 1991.

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.