CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 26, 1999
University Symphony and Choruses performance April 7 will
be Hatcher's last
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- William Hatcher, director of choral activities
at the University of Iowa School of Music, will conduct his final
concert with the University Symphony and Choruses, a performance
of the oratorio "King David" by Arthur Honegger, at
8 p.m. Wednesday, April 7 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.
Hatcher, who joined the UI faculty in the fall of 1988, has
announced that he will retire at the conclusion of the summer
There will be a free discussion about Honegger's "King David"
before the performance. The pre-performance discussion, featuring
UI Music Prof. Richard Bloesch and UI religion faculty member
George Nicklesburg, will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 7 in the
The April 7 performance will be free and open to the public.
It will feature the University Symphony and four choruses from
the UI School of Music: Kantorei, directed by Hatcher; Camerata,
directed by Bloesch; the University Choir, directed by UI graduate
student David Shaler; and the Women's Chorale, directed by UI
graduate student Daniel Afonso.
Eric Forsythe, a member of the faculty of the UI department
of theatre arts, will serve as narrator of the performance. Also
appearing in the performance will be theatre graduate student
Ayeje Feamster as the Witch of Endor; and Rex Van Dorpe, a student
at Willow Wind School in Iowa City, as David the youth.
Other vocal soloists will be doctoral student LeAnne Foust,
soprano; undergraduate student Jennifer Valle, soprano; graduate
student Ann Cravero, mezzo-soprano; and undergraduate student
Jeffery Kruger, tenor.
Since coming to the UI in 1988 Hatcher has been one of the
most visible faculty performers in the School of Music. He has
conducted many of the best known and most beloved major choral
works at concerts with the University Symphony and Choruses,
including the "Magnificat" and Mass in B minor of J.S.
Bach, Handel's "Messiah," Haydn's "Creation,"
and the Requiems of Mozart and Verdi. Hatcher has also been known
for bringing less familiar choral works to eastern Iowa audiences,
including Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem," Ottorino
Respighi's "Laud to the Nativity," Ralph Vaughan Williams'
"Hodie" and Gustav Holst's "The Hymn of Jesus,"
In each of the past 12 years Hatcher has conducted either
the Spring or Summer production of the UI Opera Theater, including
"The Gondoliers" and "The Mikado" by Gilbert
and Sullivan, "The Marriage of Figaro" by Mozart, Verdi's
"Il Trovatore" and Puccini's "La Boheme."
He has also been director of Kantorei, the premiere vocal ensemble
at the UI School of Music, with whom he has toured both nationally
and internationally, including performances in Russia, Korea
"King David" has an interesting and unusual performance
history. Honegger wrote the music first as incidental music for
a play, which was to re-open a small theater in Switzerland following
World War I. Because of conditions at the theater, Honegger was
asked to write for the unlikely combination of 100 singers and
17 instrumentalists. Stravinsky advised the baffled Honegger
to "proceed as though it were you who had wanted this ensemble,
and write for 100 voices and 17 instruments."
Honegger later said, "In this single reply I received
an excellent lesson in composition: never consider the given
circumstances to be something imposed upon you, but treat them
rather as a personal challenge."
The premiere of the play, on June 11, 1921, was a triumph
for the composer, who was soon encouraged to adapt the music
for "King David" for concert performance. This revised
version, which will be performed by the University Symphony and
Choruses, uses a larger orchestra, but retains an emphasis on
wind instruments that was a necessary aspect of the original
instrumental combination. The concert version reflects the original
stage version in other ways as well, including the use of a narrator
to tell the story and the dramatic character of the Witch of
The story is that of King David from the Bible, with a text
that combines a historical narrative from the Book of Samuel
with Psalms that are associated with David. Part One of the piece
describes David's victory over Goliath and the death of King
Saul. Part Two portrays David as King, while the third and final
part is concerned with David's affair with Bathsheeba, the death
of David's son Absalom, and finally David's repentance and eventual
return to power.
In addition to his performing activities, Hatcher directs
the graduate choral conducting program in the UI School of Music.
He was national president of the American Choral Directors Association
(ACDA) 1991-93, and presently is chair of the ACDA Endowment
Trust. Prior to coming to Iowa he taught at UCLA, the University
of Washington and Pasadena City College.
In 1985 his UCLA choir was selected as the sole U.S. representative
and was a prizewinner at the International Competition for Choirs
in Spittal, Austria. Hatcher was also coordinator and assistant
director of the 1,000-voice Olympic Honor Chorus, which sang
for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Games
in Los Angeles, an event telecast to more than two billion people
Hatcher has published materials on choral skills and choral
arrangements, and he appears frequently as a choral clinician
and festival choir director.
Forsythe heads the acting and directing programs for the UI
theatre department and is the artistic director of Iowa Summer
Rep. His acting credits include productions at major theatres
across the country from the McCarter and Philadelphia Drama guild
to Boston's Charles Playhouse and the St. Louis Rep. He has performed
with Jason Robards, Geena Davis and David Straithairn and has
directed actors as diverse as Sylvia Sidney, Betsey Palmer, Ted
Danson and John Sayles. Favorite roles include King Lear, Sherlock
Holmes and George in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
He has appeared in many commercials, films, television and radio
productions and industrial films.
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/.