CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Sept. 3, 1999
UI Center for New Music presents two concerts of contemporary
Austrian music Sept. 18
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Center for
New Music is highlighting one of the newest and most important centers of
contemporary music in Europe-- Graz, Austria -- with a two-concert mini-festival
at 3 and 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
Billed as an Austrian Contemporary Music Festival,
the two programs will present exclusively music by composers based at the
Hochschule fuer Musik und Darstellend Kunst (Academy for music and visual
arts) in Graz.
A flexible organization devoted to the performance
of music composed in the 20th century, 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. Membership in the center's performing ensemble includes
both faculty and students of the School of Music.
In the United States, Graz is not nearly as well known
as Vienna and Salzburg -- historically Austria's most important musical centers.
But Gompper says that Graz is fast becoming one of the most important centers
for new music in Europe. "This is because of the Musikhochschule (Music conservatory),"
he says. "No other school in Austria has as many composers on the music faculty
as the Hochschule in Graz."
Gompper explained that this is in some ways an unlikely
development for Graz, a largely industrial city of about 250,000. Graz is
mostly known for science and engineering: the astronomers Johannes Kepler
and Nicolaus Copernicus both lived in Graz, and motors for BMW and other car
manufacturers are designed there.
"And yet," Gompper says, "Graz has one of the most
important schools of composition in Europe, along with Paris and Berlin. They
have had an avant-garde music program at the Hochschule since the 1980s, and
today they are the most liberal of the music schools in Austria."
The two programs Sept. 18 will feature the music of
two generations of composers from the Hochschule in Graz. The afternoon concert
will present the works of members of the younger generation of faculty composers
-- Klaus Johns, Robert Hoeldrich, Klaus Lang, Peter Lackner and Joachim Jung
-- and the evening concert will present works by a more established, slightly
older group of composers -- Beat Furrer, Georg Haas, Bernhard Lang, Gerd Kuehr
and Helmut Dencker.
Of the composers on the two programs, five will be
present at the UI for the performance: Bernhard Lang, Klaus Lang, Furrer,
Jung and Lackner. During visits of up to two weeks, the composers will work
with the performers to help prepare the two concerts. They will also give
private tutorials to composition students and speak to graduate seminars in
the School of Music.
The Center for New Music was founded in 1966 with
a seed grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The center promotes the performance
of new music by providing a core group of specialists in contemporary performance
techniques. Its programming has included world premieres as well as acknowledged
In November 1998 an East-Coast tour by the Center
included a performance at Merkin Hall in New York City and by invitation at
the final performance of the Region I Conference of Society of Composers,
Inc., at Connecticut College in New London. Critic Paul Griffiths opened his
New York Times review of the Merkin Hall 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 concert's clarity and directness."
In 1986 the center received the Commendation of Excellence
from Broadcast Music, Inc., the world's largest performing rights organization,
and it recently received grants from the Aaron Copland Fund and the National
Endowment for the Arts. Today, the Center for New Music is supported by the
UI School of Music.
Gompper joined the music theory and composition faculty
of the UI School of Music in 1991. He has received numerous awards for his
academic and musical achievements, including the Charles E. Ives Prize for
composition from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and
a Composers Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
His "Lament for Bosnia" was premiered last December
by the UI Symphony and Choruses as part of "Global Focus: Human Rights '98,"
the UI's year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. Of his other compositions, "Transitus" was premiered at Carnegie
Hall and "Flip" was premiered by the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra.
Recently, Gompper traveled to Thessaloniki, Greece
and the University of Auckland in New Zealand to lecture on current American
musical trends in composition. Last May, he performed a concert of his works
and lectured at the Moscow Conservatory of Music in Russia. He has also served
as a cultural specialist for the United States Information Agency in Kwangju,
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/