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Release: March 16, 2001

Center for New Music will feature works by computer music pioneer James Dashow April 1

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Center for New Music will feature works by guest composer James Dashow, a pioneer in the field of computer music, on a free concert of music from Italy, at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 1 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

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 UI Division of Performing Arts, the center supports its own performing ensemble, including both faculty and students of the School of Music.

The April 1 program will include the premiere of Dashow’s "Far Sounds, Broken Cries" for 12 instruments and quadraphonic electronic sounds; performance of a scene for tape alone from "Archimedes -- A Planetarium Opera," a work in progress that Dashow is composing for performance in the 2002-2003 season at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Dashow’s "Sul Filo Dei Tramonti" (On the edge of sunsets) for soprano, piano and electronic sounds.

The program will also include two works by other composers: "Manao Tupapau" (1996) for flute (doubling piccolo, alto flute), percussion and tape by Mauro Cardi; and "Come vasto l’abisso" (How vast the abyss) for violin, percussion and piano by Enrico Correggia.

An American currently living near Rome, Dashow was one of the founders of the Centro di Sonologia Computazionale (Center for Computerized Sounds) at the University of Padova, Italy. He has taught at MIT, Princeton University and in Madrid, and he lectures extensively in the U.S. and Europe. He served as the first vice-president of the Computer Music Association and was for many years the producer of a radio program on contemporary music for Italian National Radio.

He has written theoretical and analytical articles for various professional publications and is the author of the MUSIC30 language for digital sound synthesis. His music has been recorded on many different labels. He has received grants and awards from foundations in the United States and Europe. Most recently, he was awarded the prestigious Prix Magistere at the 30th Festival International de Musique et d'Art Sonore Electroacoustiques (International Festival of Electro-Acoustic Music and Art) in Bourges, France.

"Archimedes" is based on the life and legends of the great Sicilian mathematician. Dashow says the score "involves a great deal of ‘electronic stagecraft,’ and in particular the immense possibilities of full immersion in the sights and sounds offered by the latest planetarium technology -- Surround Sound and Surround Video."

The first scene depicts Archimedes growing up through the first 20 years of his life. The primary sounds are giggles of all sorts, combined with electronic sounds, all of which run around the

planetarium dome like groups of children at play. "Try to imagine bunches of kids, from a few months to a few years to 20 years crawling, toppling over, running, jumping, hopping, playing, goofing off, wise-cracking and so forth," Dashow said.

Dashow says that "Far Sounds, Broken Cries" "develops on a large scale some ideas I had long wanted to work on having to do with the interactions between a medium-sized ensemble, whose instrumentation offers a wide variety of sonic possibilities, and multi-channel electronic sound, where the perceived motion of sound and change in acoustic environment can become part of the composition."

The title comes from a passage by Thomas Wolfe that catches Dashow’s sense of the whole work: "What is this dream of time, this strange and better miracle of living? Is it to feel, when furious day is done, the evening hush, the sorrow of lost fading light, far sounds and broken cries, and footsteps, voices, music, murmurous, immense and mighty in the air?"

"Manao Tupapau" takes its name from a painting by Gauguin, considered one of his greatest masterpieces. It was painted in 1892, during a happy time when the painter was living in his hut with his young Tahitian wife Tehura, immortalized in this and other paintings and in a sculpture.

The work is part of the "Kreisel Variations" project of the Freon Ensemble (Rome), which develops the theme of the relationship between music and color. The electronic sounds in the piece are based on the interactions between instruments and a tape that uses recorded sounds of the same instruments as in the live ensemble.

Cardi teaches composition at the Cherubini Conservatory in Florence, Italy, and is president of Nuovo Consonanza (New Consonance). His works are published by Casa Ricordi, Italy’s most prominent music publisher, which recently dedicated a CD recording to him. The composer of more than 50 works, Cardi has over the last few years been principally concerned with computer music, and in his recent works he makes use of technology applied to music. He collaborates with new music performing groups throughout Europe, where his music is widely performed.

Correggia is a pianist, conductor and composer, who has also earned a law degree. He taught composition at the Turin Music Conservatory until his retirement in 1985. At present he devotes himself to composing and concert organization. He has received many commissions for his works in Europe including one in 1986 from the French Ministry of Culture for his work "Duna" that was premiered at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

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 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."

You may see program notes and additional information on the April 1 concert on the Center for New Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~cnm/. For information on other 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>.