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Release: March 31, 2000

Pianist and Woodwind Quintet will be featured soloists with UI Symphony Band April 12

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Pianist Ksenia Nosikova and members of the Iowa Woodwind Quintet will be the featured soloists when the University of Iowa Symphony Band presents a free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus. The performance, under the direction of UI Director of Bands Myron Welch, will be free and open to the public.

Nosikova will perform Igor Stravinsky's Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments with the Chamber Wind Ensemble, a select group of solo players within the Symphony Band. The Iowa Woodwind Quintet will join the full Symphony Band for the Concerto Grosso for Woodwind Quintet and Band by Robert Russell Bennett.

The Symphony Band will open the concert with an arrangement of "Masquerade Overture" by Carl Nielsen, and close the program with an arrangement of the Finale movement from Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3.

Stravinsky composed the Concerto for Piano and Winds during the winter of 1923-24, when he was living in France and touring as a concert pianist. Written for his own performance, the concerto was premiered in Paris by Stravinsky and conductor Serge Koussevitzky, who was later conductor of the Boston Symphony. The scoring of the concerto is considered unconventional, with a large group of woodwinds and brass made deliberately bottom-heavy by the addition of timpani and three double basses.

Stravinsky defended his unorthodox choice of instruments, writing, "It is this orchestre 'd'harmonie (concert band) which I have chosen for my piano concerto, and not the symphonic orchestra, as an instrumental body more appropriate to the tone of the piano. Strings and piano, a sound scraped and a sound struck, do not sound well together; piano and winds, sounds struck and blown, do."

Bennett's Concerto Grosso for Wind Quintet and Band was composed for the American Wind Symphony in 1958 and had its premiere in July of that year.

Bennett was born in Kansas City, Mo., and played in the Kansas City Symphony as a young man, as well as in dance-hall bands. After serving in the army during World War I he worked as an arranger for theater orchestras in New York. In 1926 he took up composition studies in Berlin, Vienna, London and Paris. After returning to the United States he wrote music for 30 television productions and arrangements for both Broadway and films.

His varied experience put him at ease in virtually every style then current, and indeed many of the different styles show up in the Concerto Grosso. Structurally, it is based on the Italian Concerto Grosso of the Baroque period, in which a small group -- here the wind quintet -- is pitted against a larger ensemble.

Aaron Copland is widely regarded as the most "American" of composers. Through deliberately nationalist scores including the ballets "Appalachian Spring," "Rodeo" and "Billy the Kid," and the patriotic and evocative "Lincoln Portrait," he achieved wide popularity with American concert audiences.

His Third Symphony combined this streak of musical Americana, represented in the second and fourth movements, with a more abstract style that dominates in the first and third movements. The last movement, based on Copland's famous "Fanfare for the Common Man," seems to evoke the style of folk song and New England hymn singing. In this one movement Copland seems to summarize his American style, which is characterized by a lean, wide-spaced musical texture, tuneful themes, sturdy sounding harmonies and the expression of simple, sincere optimism.

Nosikova, who joined the UI faculty in 1998, has performed extensively as both soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe. She gave her New York debut performance in 1996 in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She has performed concertos with the Louisiana Symphony, the University of Colorado Symphony and the Jefferson Symphony. She has toured the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Italy with a piano trio from the Moscow Conservatory. She has also performed extensively as vocal accompanist, appearing at international competitions in the Netherlands and Germany.

Nosikova has been a prize winner in numerous piano competitions, including the Frinna Awerbach International Piano Competition in New York, the Alabama International Piano Competition, and the Ibla International Piano Competition in Italy, to which she returned in 1999 as a jury member.

Nosikova received a master's degree with high honors from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia, and a doctorate from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has been invited to perform with renowned artists in numerous international master classes. She has received fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival and the Sarasota Music Festival.

The Iowa Woodwind Quintet has been in existence at the UI School of Music since about 1932. Its current members -- Tadeu Coelho, flute; Mark Weiger, oboe; Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet; Kristin Thelander, horn; and Benjamin Coelho, bassoon -- are all members of the UI School of Music faculty.

Tadeu Coelho joined the UI music faculty in 1997. He has appeared as soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe and the Americas. He has performed as first solo flutist with the Santa Fe Symphony, the Hofer Symphoniker in Germany and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy. His CD recording of the music of Brazilian composers was released on Tempo Primo in 1995, and he also recorded works by Thomas Delio on 3D Classics. A new CD of 20th-century Mexican flute music will be released shortly.

Weiger has performed in 38 states, Canada, England, France and Austria and, presented two recitals in Carnegie Hall in New York. Since coming to Iowa, he has been principal oboe with several orchestras. The first oboist to serve as an Artistic Ambassador through the U.S. Information Agency, Weiger performed recitals in Nepal, Pakistan, Israel, Jordan and Sri Lanka. He is a member of the New Hampshire Music Festival, the Yellow Barn Festival in Vermont, the Bear Lake Festival in Utah, and WIZARDS!, a double reed quartet. He has recorded for the CRS, Crystal, Chandos and Centaur CD labels.

Mead's many solo invitations have included International Clarinet Association conferences, the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the Southeastern Clarinet Workshop and the conference of the College Band Directors National Association. She has been principal clarinet of several Midwestern orchestras, including the Cedar Rapids Symphony. As a chamber musician she has appeared with the Cleveland Quartet and other ensembles. She recently recorded a CD of Brazilian choros with pianist Rafael Dos Santos, a UI alumnus.

Active as both soloist and chamber musician, Thelander is also a member of the Iowa Brass Quintet. During the summer she performs with the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Ore. Previously she was on the music faculty at the University of New Mexico, and she was a member of the New Mexico Brass Quintet, the Santa Fe Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony and the Four Corners Opera Festival in Durango, Colo. She has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, South Korea and the People's Republic of China.

Benjamin Coelho has worked extensively as performer and teacher of bassoon, in both the United States and his native Brazil. He was a founding member of the Manhattan Wind Quintet, with whom he played a sold-out concert in Carnegie Recital Hall in New York. He has played with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro and the Grupo de Musica Contemporanea of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He taught bassoon at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte in Brazil, where he served as the elected vice-dean of the School of Music.

Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980. In addition to conducting the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, Welch teaches courses in instrumental methods and conducting, and is coordinator of the Iowa Honor Band. Prior to joining the UI faculty he was director of bands and coordinator of music education at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Michigan State University and a doctorate in music education from the University of Illinois.

Welch is past president of the American Bandmasters Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters Association. He is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with bands throughout the United States.

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/.