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Release: Oct. 5, 2001

OctOBOEfest brings public events to the University of Iowa Oct. 19-21

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- OctOBOEfest, the semi-annual celebration of the oboe and related musical instruments that had its beginning at the University of Iowa, will return to the UI campus with a series of concerts, workshops and a contest for high school oboe players Oct. 19-21.

OctOBOEfest was founded in 1992 by Mark Weiger, the professor of oboe at the UI School of Music. "Each year OctOBOEfest brings to our campus the country's best oboists performing some of the world's best oboe music -- as well as a little fun," Weiger said.

The organizer and director of the 2001 festival, Weiger will perform on several of the public concerts. Other featured artists this year will be Allan Vogel, solo oboist of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and David Weiss, long-time principal oboe of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a frequent oboe soloist around the world.

OctOBOEfest performances open to the public free of charge will be:

-- 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19 in Clapp Recital Hall: Opening night recital by Mark Weiger, oboe, and Shari Rhoads, piano, followed by a reception in Clapp Hall Lobby;

-- 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in Harper Hall of the Voxman Music Building: Performance by "DnA," a duo of David Weiss, oboe, English horn and musical saw, and Alpha Hockett Walker, piano;

-- 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in Harper Hall of the Voxman Music Building: Recital by the winners of the College Oboe Competition and the Double Reed Ensemble of Iowa;

-- 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in Clapp Recital Hall: concert by the Maia String Quartet, assisted by UI faculty members Christine Rutledge, viola, and Anthony Arnone, cello, with oboists Weiger, Weiss and Allan Vogel; and

-- 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, Gala Concerto Concert by UI Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra with oboists Weiss, Weiger and Vogel.

If that seems like a lot of oboe music in one weekend, that's the point, Weiger says. "Having so many oboists together, and having so much oboe music played, provides an experience you can't usually find in Iowa or the Midwest," he says. "Through this event oboe students are introduced to the great artists in the oboe community, and they have the opportunity to develop new professional relationships, new ideas and higher standards. OctOBOEfest is designed to foster fellowship and strengthen the quality of oboe playing and teaching in Iowa."

"I also hope that our guests will discover the quality and joys that are an enriching part of life at Iowa and the UI."

For his solo recital Friday evening, Weiger will play a wide variety of solo pieces for oboe, both serious and not so serious, including the Sonata in C major of Martino Bitti, a nearly forgotten composer of the 17th and 18th centuries; the Canzonetta of American composer Samuel Barber; and an adaptation of Joshua Heifetz's violin arrangement of the encore chestnut "Hora Staccato."

In a similar vein, the Saturday afternoon performance by DnA -- an acronym for "David 'n' Alpha" -- will combine the whimsical with the serious. The program notes solemnly that "Mr. Weiss performs almost exclusively on a Stanley Handyman (model 15-350, 8-point crosscut saw)," and lists performances by musical saw and piano of "To A Wild Rose" by Edward McDowell, "Estrellita" by Ponce, and George Shearing's "Lullaby Of Birdland," among other works, as well as sonatas by George Phillip Telemann and C.F. Hockett, and other recital pieces for the oboe.

The Saturday evening concert of chamber music with oboes, performed by UI faculty and guest artists, turns to more standard concert fare. It will feature three works: Mozart's Quintet in C minor, K. 406, and Quartet in F Major, K. 370; and the Quartet, op. 61, of Malcolm Arnold.

The grand finale Concerto Concert, Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., will feature concertos for various members of the oboe family by J.S. Bach, G.F. Handel and Domenico Cimarosa, concluding with one last gesture to the fun of playing music, an oboe arrangement of Leroy Anderson's perennial pop-concert favorite, "Buglers' Holiday."

Hailed as "an aristocrat of his instrument, an oboe virtuoso with few equals," (Los Angeles Times) and "undoubtedly one of the few world masters" (San Diego Union), Vogel has performed concerti with orchestras throughout the country and has been featured at the Chamber Music Northwest, Marlboro, Santa Fe, Aspen, Mostly Mozart, Summerfest, Sarasota and Oregon Bach festivals. He has been guest principal oboist with the Boston Symphony for concerts on European tour, in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Symphony Hall in Boston.

Vogel has also performed with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic. He has often been a guest with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City and has completed three tours of Japan. He is on the faculty of California Institute of the Arts and the University of Southern California.

Weiss and Walker began performing together as a duo in 1982, Weiss on oboe, English horn, oboe d'amore, bass oboe and musical saw and Walker on piano, electronic keyboard and occasionally oboe. They have developed a repertoire of great variety, and have performed in Japan, Europe, Israel, Alaska, Hawaii, Costa Rica, continental United States and on several cruises.

Weiss, who has been principal oboe of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 1973, previously held first chair posts with the Metropolitan Opera National Company, the Pittsburgh Symphony, National Symphony and the West Point Military Academy Band. As an oboe soloist, he has played at New York's Caramoor Festival, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Recital Hall and Los Angeles Music Center.

He is a faculty member at the University of Southern California, and has also taught at Vassar College, Duquesne University, and the Sarasota Music Festival. He has served as a clinician and judge for the American Oboist, New York Oboe International Competition and the Gillet Competition, and has given master classes at the Manhattan School of Music and New England Conservatory. He is also world-renowned as a musical saw player, having been featured on the "Tonight Show" and "Prairie Home Companion," at the Hollywood Bowl, and in television commercials and movies.

Walker has performed as soloist and chamber player on the oboe and piano with musicians in the United States and abroad, including members of the Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Sequoia String Quartet, Vermeer String Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She performed as an oboist and/or keyboardist with the L.A. Philharmonic numerous times at the Music Center, and during each of the 1991 through 1997 Hollywood Bowl seasons. She is the composer of the 1977 Off-Broadway Musical "The Great America Singing Commercial."

Since coming to Iowa in 1988 Weiger has performed as a soloist throughout the United States, Canada, England, Mexico, Austria, France and Italy, presented two recitals in Carnegie Hall in New York, been a finalist in nine international competitions, won First Prize in the Queens Philharmonic Concerto Competition (NY), performed double concertos with the Chicago Symphony's former principal oboist, Ray Still, and presented solo recitals with many other notable oboists.

Weiger is a founding member of the double reed quartet WiZARDS!, which has released three CDs to critical acclaim, toured 18 states and presented educational residence programs throughout the West and Midwest. As 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 has solo and chamber music recordings out on the CRS, Crystal, Chandos and Centaur CD labels.

Following the New York premiere of the Bernard Rand Concertino, New York Times critic Paul Griffiths praised Weiger's "mellifluous oboe playing" and critic Gerald Gabel wrote, "Weiger's virtuosic abilities were a perfect match for this difficult work. . . . not since Heinz Holliger in his prime have we heard an oboist with his control and mastery."

OctOBOEfest is supported in part by gifts and contributions from Sharon Oboes; Nora Post, Inc, of New Paltz, N.Y.; Midwest Musical Imports, of Minneapolis, Minn.; Carlos E. Coelho Woodwinds of Indianapolis, Ind.; Rigoutat Oboes of Paris, France; and the UI School of Music; with additional support from alumni and other individual gifts.

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>.

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OctOBOEfest 2001
All events open to the public free of charge

FRIDAY, Oct. 19

8 p.m. Clapp Recital Hall: Opening Recital, Mark Weiger, oboe, and Shari Rhoads, piano, followed by reception in the lobby.

SATURDAY, Oct. 20

9:30 a.m. Harper Hall: Master class with Allan Vogel
2 p.m. Harper Hall: DnA, David Weiss, oboe, English horn, and musical saw; and Alpha Hackett Walker, oboe and piano
3:30 p.m. Harper Hall: Concert by winners of the College Oboe Competition and the Double Reed Ensemble of Iowa
8 p.m. Clapp Recital Hall: Maia String Quartet, assisted by Christine Rutledge, viola, and Anthony Arnone, cello, with David Weiss, Allan Vogel and Mark Weiger, oboes

SUNDAY, Oct. 21

9:30 a.m. Harper Hall: Master class with David Weiss
9:30 a.m. Voxman Music Building Choral Room: 6th Annual High School Oboe competition
11 a.m. Voxman Music Building Opera Rehearsal Room: Mock Orchestral Oboe Audition
3 p.m. Clapp Recital Hall: Gala Concerto Concert by the UI Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra with David Weiss, Allan Vogel and Mark Weiger, oboes