CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 19, 1999
Center for New Music presents music by current, former
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Center for New
Music will perform music by current and former UI faculty members as part
of a free concert at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI
A flexible organization devoted to the performance of
music composed in recent decades, the Center for New Music is directed by
David Gompper, a faculty member in the theory and composition area of the
UI School of Music.
The Dec. 5 program will include the Trio for flute, clarinet
and double bass by Michael Eckert, the head of the composition and music theory
area in the UI School of Music; "Doctrine of Chances" for tape by
Lawrence Fritts, the director of the UI Electronic Music Studios; "Layers"
for flute, oboe, clarinet and trumpet by Jeremy Dale Roberts, a visiting professor
of composition this year in the School of Music; and Fantasy and Toccata for
piano by Richard Hervig, a co-founder of the Center for New Music who retired
from the UI in 1988.
Other works on the program will be "An Idyll for
the Misbegotten" for amplified flute and percussion by George Crumb;
and "Urban Dances" for brass quintet by Richard Danielpour.
Four members of the School of Music faculty -- Tadeu Coelho,
flute, Mark Weiger, oboe, Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet and David Greenhoe,
trumpet -- will be featured as in the performance of Roberts "Layers,"
and Danielpours "Urban Dances" will be played by the Iowa
Brass Quintet, a resident faculty ensemble at the School of Music. Other performers
on the concert will be UI students.
Roberts, who recently retired as head of composition at
the Royal College of Music in London, was once Gomppers teacher. His
works have been performed at major European venues, including the Edinburgh
and Aldeburgh festivals in England, the Venice Biennale, the Diorama de Geneve
(Switzerland) and the festivals of Avignon and Paris.
"Layers" was written for the 300th anniversary
of the death of the English Baroque composer Henry Purcell. It was based on
one of Purcells best-known pieces, the lament "When I am laid in
earth" from his opera "Dido and Aeneas." The composer commented
on the diverse influences he felt in writing "Layers:" "In
the end, it didnt turn to be all that lively a piece, let alone exclusively
Purcells. Debussy, Chopin and Mahler all get a look in."
Hervig has many ties to Iowa: he was born in the state,
studied composition at the UI under the late Philip Greeley Clapp, received
his doctorate in composition here, and then taught composition
and music theory in the UI School of Music from 1955 until his retirement
1988. After retiring, he moved to New York, where
he teaches in the Literature and Materials of Music program at the Juilliard
In 1997 he wrote a Toccata for an 80th-birthday concert
at Merkin Hall in New York City. The Fantasy was added in front of the Toccata
Eckerts Trio was written for the 1988 convention
of the Iowa Music Teachers Association and premiered there by Eldon Obrecht,
the former string bass teacher at the UI, together with two students from
the School of Music.
Fritts "Doctrine of Chances" is a new
piece that integrates two approaches to composition that were characteristic
of the mid-20th century: the so-called chance composition of the 1950s and
60s, which left aspects of pieces open to chance, and the strict serial
style that attempted to apply mathematical controls to all aspects of composition.
One of the most distinctive and original American composers
of the 20th century, George Crumb is composer in residence at the University
of Pennsylvania. He has written that "An Idyll for the Misbegotten"
was inspired by thoughts about "the fateful and melancholy predicament
of the species homo sapiens at the present moment in time. Mankind has become
ever more illegitimate in the natural world of the plants and
animals. The ancient sense of brotherhood with all lifeforms has gradually
and relentlessly eroded, and consequently we find ourselves monarchs of a
dying world. We share the fervent hope that humankind will embrace anew natures
Danielpour is one of the most important American composers
of the generation born in the decade after World War II. A winner of the Pulitzer
Prize, he is a member of the composition faculty at the Curtis Institute and
the Manhattan School of Music, and his works have been performed by major
orchestras and solo artists throughout the country. He wrote:
"My brass quintet Urban Dances attempts
to evoke some of the various energies -- as I experience them -- of New York
City, where I was born and now live. Its first movement, Riddle Dance,
is about confronting crisis on a daily basis, while the second movement, Burlesque,
involves the sexual energy and dynamics between men and women in New York
City. Shadow Dance, the third and longest movement, is a dirge
with variations set in a style somewhat reminiscent of a chorale prelude The
last movement, Peripetia, is a cross between perpetual motion
and vicissitude; it is the most positive and optimistic of the quintets
four dances, and perhaps the most challenging music for the performers."
The Center for New Music was founded in 1966 with a seed
grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Its programming has included world
premieres as well as acknowledged contemporary masterworks. In November, 1998,
an east-coast tour by the center included a performance at Merkin Hall in
New York City. Critic Paul Griffiths opened his New York Times review of the
concert by observing that "an ensemble of faculty and graduate students
from the University of Iowa performed strongly Tuesday night," and he
praised Gompper for "the concerts clarity and directness."
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/.
The Center for New Music has a web page at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/CNMhome.html.