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Release: Immediate

UI Symphony Band concert highlights Honor Band Weekend at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony Band will present a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.

Myron Welch, director of UI bands, will conduct the concert, which is free and open to the public. Saxophonist Matthew Sintchak, a visiting faculty member at the UI School of Music, will be the guest soloist.

The concert is part of the annual Honor Band Weekend at the UI. Each year approximately 150 high school musicians from around the state are invited to campus to play with a distinguished guest conductor and to attend clinics on their individual instruments.

The high school Honor Band will present its own free concert with guest conductor Timothy Topolewski at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21 in Hancher Auditorium.

The program for the Saturday concert of the Symphony Band will include "Festmusik der Stadt Wien" (Festival music for the City of Vienna), a showpiece for double brass choir of trumpets, trombones and tubas with timpani; Three Dance Episodes from Leonard Bernstein's World War II musical comedy "On the Town"; "Awayday," a musical homage by British composer Adam Gorb to the "irresistible brashness and irrepressible high spirits" of the Broadway musical; a band transcription of the Finale to the opera "Andrea Chenier" by Umberto Giordano; and "Cartoon" by Paul Hart, music for an imaginary animated film.

Sintchak will be featured in the Concerto for alto saxophone and band by Paul Creston.

Strauss wrote the "Festmusik der Stadt Wien" in 1943 while he was living in Vienna. It was written for the city's brass ensemble, made up of players from the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony and the orchestra of the Vienna Folk Opera.

Grob has written of his "Awayday," "In this seven-minute curtain raiser my inspiration came from the great days of the American musical comedy. I have tried to express the exhilaration of getting away from it all for a few short hours on a festive Bank Holiday. . . . If you can envisage Gershwin, Bernstein, Stravinsky and James Bond traveling together at 100 miles per hour in an open sports car, I think you'll get the idea."

Paul Hart has been one of England's most prolific jingle writers and composers for television and film. He also wrote a Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra for the guitarist John Williams and the popular Promenade Concerts in London. His "Cartoon" was commissioned for concert band for the Royal Tournament Series and includes, according to a note in the score, music for "the big opening credits, the cat and mouse tease and chase, the strutting swagger, and of course, the BIG FINALE!"

A visiting professor at the UI, Sintchak has previously taught at the University of Hartford; Nazareth College and Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, N.Y.; and at the Eastman School of Music, where he won a 1996-97 Teaching Prize. An avid performer of contemporary music, Sintchak has also given traditional solo recitals on the East Coast and performed with Hartford and Portland symphonies and the Rochester Philharmonic and with the Eastman Wind Ensemble on two tours to Japan. He has also performed with several alternative groups including the Jupiter Saxophone Quartet, the first honors/scholarship saxophone ensemble in the history of the New England Conservatory of Music.

Sintchak studied at Boston University, the New England Conservatory, and the Paris Conservatory on a grant from the Beebe Foundation. He is completing his doctorate in saxophone performance with a Performer's Certificate from Eastman.

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.

Topolewski is professor of music at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, N.Y., where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and teaches conducting and music theory. He also serves as a conductor in the Crane opera department. Prior to taking that position he was director of bands at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.