CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Aug. 29, 2000
Duo Contour will perform on UI Center for New Music concert series Sept.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The duo Contour, a trumpet-percussion duo dedicated to
the promotion of music by living composers, will perform a University of Iowa
guest recital at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
Their performance, which will be free and open to the public, is the first
of a concert series for the 2000-2001 season to be presented on the UI campus
by the Center for New Music, a part of the new UI Division of Performing Arts.
The duo Contour was formed in 1998, when trumpet player Stephen Altoft and
percussionist Lee Ferguson -- a graduate of the UI School of Music -- took
part in the Darmstadt, Germany, International Summer Course for New Music.
In order to achieve a new sound, Altoft and Ferguson like to work with a
composer during the preparation, learning and performance of each piece. In
their performances, they aim for an interdependence between the two instruments
and performers. These relationships carry over into their improvisations,
in which they explore the possibilities of combining their musical performance
with other art disciplines, including electronics, visual arts, theater and
For the Sept 10 concert the duo Contour will perform works by Christopher
Fox, Giacinto Scelsi, Igor Majcen, Christian Wolff, Bryn Harrison, Ewan Stafani,
James Saunders and Tim Parkinson. The majority of the works were composed
in the past two years.
Ferguson currently lives in Freiburg, Germany, where he works as a teacher
and freelance percussionist and is a member of the Freiburg-based new music
ensemble, Suono Mobile. In addition to his many solo concerts, he has played
with Ensemble Recherche, Surplus, the Basel Symphony Orchestra, and the Furstenberg
Baroque Ensemble, of which he is a founding member.
Ferguson was born in Grinnell. After studying as a scholarship student of
Thomas L. Davis at the UI, he received a Fulbright Grant to study in Freiburg.
During his time at Freiburg, he was a member of the Freiburg Percussion ensemble
which received first prize in the German Music School Competition for the
category New Music in Leipzig.
A native of England, Altoft is dedicated to the creation and performance
of new repertoire for the trumpet. He plays with the Cornelius Cardew Ensemble
and has collaborated with Golem Theatre. He has recently returned from a residency
in Berlin, supported by the Music Sound Foundation, where he worked closely
with German composers and performers.
He holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Huddersfield, England,
and is a recipient of the Ricordi Prize for Contemporary Performance. In 1996
and 1998 he was awarded scholarships to participate at the Darmstadt International
Summer School for New Music. For two years he ran the new music ensemble "yon,"
and he also established the Composers Exchange project in the north
A flexible organization devoted to the presentation of the music of the
past 100 years, 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. Part
of the new UI Division of Performing Arts, the center supports its own performing
ensemble, including both faculty and students of the School of Music, and
presents concerts of recent music by guest artists.
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 contemporary
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
In 1986 the center received the Commendation of Excellence from Broadcast
Music, Inc., the worlds 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 Division
of Performing Arts.
Information on the UI Center for New Music, including complete program notes
for the concert by the duo Contour, is available on the World Wide Web at
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
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