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Release: Nov. 2, 2001

Iowa Brass Quintet from UI School of Music will perform 5 centuries of brass music Nov. 14

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa Brass Quintet, a resident faculty ensemble at the UI School of Music, will perform music from the late Renaissance to the year 2000 in a free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

"That's practically a capsule history of European music," David Gier, the quintet's trombonist, said. "If you consider 2000 to be the first year of the century, the program will span five centuries, from the 17th to the 21st."

The Iowa Brass Quintet performs on the UI campus each semester and for schools, universities, civic concert associations and professional meetings throughout the United States. Its current members are David Greenhoe and Barbara Deur, trumpets; Jeffrey Agrell, horn; Gier; and Robert Yeats, tuba.

The earliest piece on the Nov. 14 concert will be "Fancies, Toyes and Dreames" by the early 17th-century English composer Giles Farnaby, arranged for modern brass instruments by Elgar Howarth. "These pieces, conceived for keyboard instruments, work exceptionally well for the brass quintet," Gier said. "They also provide a marvelous opportunity for David Greenhoe on first trumpet to embellish and ornament -- something he does as fluidly and musically as anyone I've ever heard." "We will be accompanied on this piece by percussionist Tony Oliver, a member of the Quad City Symphony, a UI graduate and a current doctoral candidate at Rutgers University. Tony will improvise parts for the dance movements, in the tradition of the roving consorts that originally performed these works, which were the popular music of the time."

Proceeding chronologically, the quintet will next play a piece from the late 17th century, a brass quintet arrangement of Three Sonatas from "Turckischer Eulen-Spiegel" (Turkish Owl-glass), composed in 1688 by German composer Daniel Speer. Skipping ahead to the 19th century, they will play the Quintet No. 2 by Jean-Francoise-Victor Bellon, followed by the "Armenian Scenes" of 20th-century composer Alexander Arutiunian.

The most recent piece on the concert will be "Kinetics" for brass quintet, written in 2000 by 18-year-old composer Sheridan Seyfried. A musical prodigy, Seyfried is a violinist, a member of Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, and the 2001 winner of the Morton Gould Young Composer Award from the American Society of Composer, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

The Iowa Brass Quintet will conclude their performance with "Four Outings for Brass," a 1974 composition by Andre Previn that has become a staple of the brass quintet repertoire. "This work was written at the insistence of London Symphony tubist John Fletcher," Gier said. "As you might suspect, it features the tuba. Fletcher was a virtuoso, so the part is very wide-ranging, both technically and musically.

"'Four Outings' is an attractive piece because of its exciting, idiomatic writing for the brass family, and its clever integration of jazz stylings and more modern compositional techniques."

Founded in the early 1950s, the Iowa Brass Quintet has been widely acclaimed for its artistry in the performance of music of all periods and premieres of new compositions. The quintet's CD "Americana: A University of Iowa Celebration" features works by composers associated with the UI, either as faculty or students in the School of Music, or whose works have been favorites of the group over the years. It was released as part of the celebration of the UI Sesquicentennial in 1997.

Greenhoe has been on the faculty of the UI School of Music and the principal trumpeter of the Quad City Symphony since 1979. He is also chair of the brass area at the UI and is active as a soloist and recitalist. During summer seasons he performs as solo trumpeter with the Lake Placid (N.Y.) Sinfonietta, a post he has held since 1975.

Deur is a member of the Quad Cities Symphony and has been a trumpet instructor at UI. She has performed widely as a soloist and clinician, has been principal trumpet of the Des Moines Symphony and has been a member of the Cedar Rapids Symphony.

Gier came to the UI in August 1995. He has taught at Baylor University and Central Connecticut State University. He began his professional career in New England as a member of the Springfield (Mass.) Symphony and Orchestra New England. He has performed with numerous professional ensembles, including the New Haven, Hartford, Waco and San Angelo symphonies, and Keith Brion's Peerless Sousa Band. He is currently principal trombone of the Breckenridge (Colo.) Festival Orchestra.

Agrell is a visiting faculty member in the School of Music. Before coming to Iowa, he was a member of U.S. Army Bands from 1970 to 1973 and was associate principal horn with the Lucerne (Switzerland) Symphony Orchestra from 1975 until 2000. During that time he also performed chamber music throughout Europe. Widely respected as performer, teacher and composer, Agrell was invited to be a guest artist/clinician at the 2001 Workshop of the International Horn Society.

Yeats has taught at the UI for more than 20 years. He was principal tubist with the Cedar Rapids Symphony for 19 years and has appeared as soloist with many professional orchestras, bands and brass ensembles on the East Coast and across the Midwest. At the UI he teaches tuba and euphonium, directs the Collegium Tubum and edits the "University of Iowa Guide to Selected Wind and Percussion Materials."

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu>.