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CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: peter-alexander@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

NOTE TO BRODCASTERS: Khachaturian is pronounced with the accent on the third syllable:

ka-cha-TOO-ree-yan. Modeste is pronounced mo-DEST. Musorgski is commonly pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, but the original Russian pronunciation accented the first syllable: MOO-zor-ski.

Uriel Tsachor is pronounced YOO-ree-el tsa-KOR.

University Symphony will feature pianist Uriel Tsachor in all-Russian program Feb. 10

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Conductor William LaRue Jones and the University of Iowa Symphony will feature pianist Uriel Tsachor in a concert of Russian music at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.

Jones and Tsachor are both members of the faculty at the UI School of Music. The concert will be free and open to the public.

The program will comprise two popular works by Russian composers: the Piano Concerto of Aram Khachaturian and Maurice Ravel's orchestration of "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Modeste Musorgsky.

Aram Khachaturian was born of Armenian parents in 1903 in Tbilisi, Georgia. An early interest in music was not encouraged, but when Khachaturian moved to Moscow in 1921 he soon began serious musical studies. His talent for composition developed quickly, and he was admitted to the Moscow Conservatory in 1929. His First Symphony, written as his diploma piece in 1935, was soon followed by the Piano Concerto in 1936 and the Violin Concerto in 1940.

The Piano Concerto acquired a cult following in the 1960s, due to a 1946 recording by American pianist William Kappell and the Boston Symphony under Russian émigré conductor Serge Koussevitsky, but later it disappeared from American concert stages. Recently the Concerto, written in Khachaturian's characteristic style, has again risen in the esteem of musicians and critics alike. Today it is reappearing on orchestral programs.

The story behind "Pictures at an Exhibition" is one of classical music's most-told tales. Among Musorgsky's circle of artistic friends was the Russian architect Victor Hartman. When Hartman died suddenly of an aneurysm in the summer of 1873, his friends made up a memorial exhibition with as much of his work as they could gather up.

The exhibition ran for two months early in 1874 at the Academy of Artists in St. Petersburg. Later that year, Musorgsky wrote a cycle of piano pieces in which he described in music several of Hartman's drawings and designs, with linking passages that portrayed the composer himself strolling through the exhibition.

There is no record of a public performance of "Pictures at an Exhibition" during the composer's lifetime. Musorgsky apparently played it for a few friends, including the composer Rimsky-Korsakov, but even he did not include it in his piano performances.

Only when the score was arranged for orchestra, first by the British conductor Sir Henry Wood in 1915 and then by Ravel in 1922, did it begin to achieve any popularity. Other orchestral versions have followed, but Ravel's arrangement, with its brilliant orchestral effects and powerful climax, has remained the most popular version of the score.

Uriel Tsachor joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in the fall of 1988. The first prize-winner of the Bosendorfer Empire International Competition in 1986, the second prize-winner of the Busoni Competition in 1985 and a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in 1983, he is a graduate of the Rubin Academy in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and the Juilliard School in New York. He has performed as a soloist in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, New York, Chicago, Vienna, Paris, and other cities around the world.

Tsachor has performed with the Israel Philharmonic by invitation from Zubin Mehta. He has also appeared as soloist with the New York City Symphony, the Teatro La Fenice Symphony in Venice and the National Orchestra of Belgium, among others. He has performed both live and in recordings for radio and television stations in Israel, Europe and the United States, and he has made recordings for the EMI, Musical Heritage Society, PHONIC, DIVOX, Olympia and EMS labels.

A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997 as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies. He replaced James Dixon, the director of the orchestra for more than 40 years, who retired at the end of the 1996-97 academic year. Prior to joining the UI faculty, Jones was the founding music director/administrator of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.

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 honorary society.

Jones is conductor of the Bloomington (Minn.) Symphony and 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.).

Jones holds a Master of Fine Arts in music from the UI and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.

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