CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 12, 1999
Symphony, chouses, soloists to present 'Beethoven's
Ninth' Dec. 1
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony, combined
choruses and guest soloists under the direction of William LaRue Jones, will
present one of the icons of Western culture, the Ninth Symphony of Ludwig
van Beethoven, in a free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec.
1 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.
Four guests soloists will join Jones, the orchestra and
singers from the UI School of Music for the performance: soprano Amy Cofield,
mezzo-soprano Kathryn Proctor-Duax, tenor Lee Henning and bass-baritone Mark
Four choruses from the UI School of Music will combine
to provide choral forces for the performance: Kantorei, directed by Timothy
Stalter; Camerata Singers, directed by Richard Bloesch; University Choir,
directed by Gregory Milliron; and the Women's Chorale, directed by Rebecca
Petra Naomi Seeman. Stalter, who is director of choral activities for the
UI School of Music, has prepared the combined choirs for the performance.
The concert is part of the regular fall season of the
University Symphony, which traditionally ends each semesters series
of free performances with a choral/orchestral concert. For the final performance
of the current semester -- which is, of course, also the final performance
of the century and the millennium -- Jones wanted to present a piece that
seemed appropriate to mark a significant date in peoples lives.
"No singular work in music history is as thought
provoking or uplifting as Beethovens Ninth Symphony," Jones said.
"Our world today, as in Beethoven's time, continues to witness numerous
examples of mans intolerance and inhumanity, even though we have made
enormous political, social, scientific and cultural advancements. It is my
desire that the final University Symphony concert of this millennium reflect
the hope and potential in all peoples to live in peaceful respect for one
Beethoven composed his ninth and final symphony in 1823-24.
The first performance, with many of the leading musicians of Vienna participating,
took place in one of the citys major theaters on May 7, 1824.
From the very first, the symphony has occupied a special
place in the classical repertoire. In purely musical terms, it was unlike
anything anyone had ever heard in 1824. It was longer, at nearly 90 minutes,
than any symphony that had been written. Each movement seemed to reach expressive
extremes that broke the accepted bounds of musical style. And the inclusion
of a chorus with the orchestra in the final movement was unprecedented in
a symphony. Thus the symphony simultaneously astonished and uplifted its first
The use of chorus, the choice of a well known and highly
idealistic text -- Schillers "Ode to Joy" -- and the exaltation
of the closing strains of music seemed to mark the Ninth Symphony as more
than an ordinary piece of music. It almost seemed to be a philosophical statement
by the composer and a personal call for the universal brotherhood of peoples.
The circumstances of the first performance have further
contributed to the legend surrounding the Ninth Symphony. Beethoven, by then
completely deaf, tried to help lead the performance, but he was understandably
unable to stay with the performers. And at the end, when the crowd erupted
in approval, he had to be led to the edge of the stage by the teary-eyed alto
soloist, because he could not hear the cheers and applause.
For the all of these reasons, the Ninth Symphony has long
been considered a piece of extraordinary power and significance. It has often
been selected for landmark events, most famously in recent years when Leonard
Bernstein led a performance at the Berlin Wall after it was torn down 10 years
ago -- substituting the word "Freiheit" (freedom) for the word "Freude"
(joy), transforming the text to an "Ode to Freedom."
Cofield has performed both opera and oratorio in Europe
and the United States. She has performed major operatic roles including Constanze
in "The Abduction from the Seraglio," Violetta in "LaTraviata,"
Gilda in "Rigoletto" and Musetta in "La Boheme," with
performances in France, Switzerland, Portugal and Spain. She has been a soloist
with the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Philharmonic, Evansville (Ind.) Philharmonic, the
South Bend (Ind.) Symphony and the Southern Nevada Choral Arts Society, among
other organizations. She recently gave her English debut performances as soprano
soloist in Haydns "Creation" with the International Cathedral
Music Festival in London and Oxford.
A professor of music and coordinator of the voice division
at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Proctor Duax received a doctorate
from the UI, where she studied with Herald Stark. She has performed with the
Milwaukee Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
and the Florentine Opera of Milwaukee. She is a frequent recitalist in the
Midwest and has performed several times on Wisconsin Public Radio.
As a frequent guest soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony,
Henning has been a soloist for Beethovens Miss in C, "Missa Solemnis"
and Ninth Symphony, J.S. Bachs "Magnificat," Honeggers
"King David," Liszts "Faust" Symphony and Haydns
"Lord Nelson" Mass, among other works. He has also performed the
Ninth Symphony and the Verdi "Requiem" with the Atlanta Symphony,
and other works with the San Antonio Symphony and the Choral Arts Society
of Washington, D.C. He recently performed in Japan as a soloist for Handels
"Messiah" and Mendelssohns "St. Paul, and he will return
to Tokyo to perform Verdis "Requiem."
Doss has performed with leading opera and concert organizations
in the United States and around the world. These include the Lyric Opera of
Chicago, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Canadian Opera, Boston
Lyric Opera, San Diego Opera and Cleveland Opera in North America; Theatre
de la Monaie of Brussels, the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Opera Bussetto
in Europe; and the Auckland and Victoria opera companies in Australia. His
concert appearances includes solos in Haydns "Creation," Verdis
"Requiem," Brahms "German Requiem, Mendelssohns
"Elijah" and Beethovens Ninth Symphony, and performances with
the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra.
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. Prior to joining the UI faculty, he 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.).
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/.