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Release: Sept. 8, 2000

Violinist Andrew Carlson returns to Iowa City for UI Center for New Music concert Sept. 24

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Violinist Andrew Carlson, a remarkably versatile musician who has been both concertmaster of the University of Iowa Symphony and a two-time Georgia state fiddle champion, will return to Iowa City for a concert of contemporary music with pianist Nelson Harper, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Their performance, which will be free and open to the public, is part of a concert series for the 2000-2001 season presented on the UI campus by the Center for New Music (CNM), a part of the new UI Division of Performing Arts.

Carlson’s career is the story of a child prodigy who has been successful in a variety of areas. He began learning fiddle tunes at age five from his grandfather. Later he was enrolled in a Suzuki violin program, which introduced him to classical music. As a young student in Georgia, he was not only the two-time state fiddle champion, he also won the Georgia state level of the Music Teachers National Association Wurlitzer collegiate artist competition three years in a row.

After receiving a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, Carlson came to the UI to study classical violin with Leopold La Fosse. While a student here, he taught Suzuki violin at the Preucil School and performed with folk/bluegrass group Big Wooden Radio. As a studio musician and string arranger he has recorded for Warner Bros., Atlantic, Elektra, Geffen, Polydor, and Capricorn recordings, and is a regular with the band R.E.M. His book "Fiddling for Classical Violinists" is scheduled to be released this fall by Mel Bay Publishers.

In addition to studio work, country fiddling and classical music, Carlson has performed a great deal of contemporary music. He performed with the CNM while he was at the UI and played with them on a tour to New York in 1998, when he was described by a New York Times critic as "a demon fiddler."

Carlson is currently at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he teaches violin and music history, and directs the orchestra.

The Sept. 24 concert will include two pieces written specifically for Carlson’s unusual combination of talents. "Finnegan’s Wake" by CNM director David Gompper was written specifically for the 1998 CNM tour. It is based on two Irish fiddle tunes, "The Green Groves of Erin" and "The Flowers of Red Hill," which were made popular by the Bothy Band, and more recently, the string trio of Edgar Meyer, Mark O'Connor and Yo-Yo Ma.

"My intention," Gompper wrote, "was to transform the music as feet-stomping dance music through a labyrinth of rhythmic manipulations into a series of playful excursions for both instruments."

The second work is "For Andy Carlson" by Richard Hervig, the former head of composition and theory at the UI School of Music and the co-founder of the CNM.

Other works on the concert will be "Wire Variations" by John Allemeier, who received a doctorate in composition from the UI; "Five Aphorisms" by Gardner Read; and "White Vision -- The Horizon Divides" by Lewis Nielson.

Allemeier wrote of his composition, "The title ‘Wire Variations’ refers to formal aspects of the piece as well as the method of sound production for each of the instruments. ‘Wire’ is used as a synonym for the strings of the violin and piano and ‘variations’ refers to the variety of ways in which each instrument initiates the vibration of the string."

Harper is known for his versatility as both soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared in the Grand Teton Music Festival and for many years has been heard in live broadcasts on radio station WFMT in Chicago. For 20 years he has played in a duo with English violinist Michael Davis, and he has performed with the Chicago Symphony’s principal flutist Donald Peck, the New York Philharmonic's principal flutist Jeanne Baxtresser, the Atlanta Symphony’s principal trumpeter James Thompson, and other instrumentalists and singers.

Harper made his London debut in December of 1989 at Wigmore Hall in a program of 20th-century British duo sonatas with Davis. Harper is currently a member of the piano faculty at Denison University and frequently gives master classes and recitals at other institutions.

Hervig was born in Iowa in 1917 and raised in South Dakota, where he received a bachelor’s degree in English. Following some high school teaching he enrolled in the graduate program at the UI, studying composition under the late Philip Greeley Clapp and receiving a doctorate in composition after World War II. Except for three years at Long Beach State College and one semester at Luther College, his teaching career was entirely at the UI. In 1990 he retired from Iowa and accepted a position at the Juilliard School in New York, retiring from there in 1999.

Gompper studied at the Royal College of Music in London and at the University of Michigan, where he received a doctorate in composition. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from San Diego State University. He is the president of the Society of Composers, Inc, a national membership organization for composers in the U.S. He recently returned from a double bass convention in Brazil, where he premiered two new songs for double bass, mezzo-soprano, and he recently received a commission from Arizona State University to write a work for bassoon, ensemble and electronic tape.

A flexible organization devoted to the presentation of the music of the past 100 years, the CNM supports its own performing ensemble, including both faculty and students of the School of Music, and presents concerts of recent music by guests artists. The center was founded in 1966 with a seed grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Today, the CNM is supported by the UI Division of Performing Arts.

Information on the UI Center for New Music, including complete program notes for the Sept. 24 concert, is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.uiowa.edu/~cnm.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu>.