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Release: Oct. 18, 2001

UI Symphony Band opens 2001-2002 performance season with free concert Oct. 31

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony Band will feature two soloists from the UI School of Music faculty --Kristin Thelander, horn, and Katherine Eberle, mezzo-soprano -- when they open their 2001-2002 performance season with a free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Myron Welch, director of bands at the UI, will conduct.

Thelander, who teaches horn and is the director of the School of Music, will be soloist for "Shindig" for solo horn and wind ensemble by UI alumnus Daniel S. Godfrey. Eberle will be featured in Three Japanese Dances by Bernard Rogers.

Other works on the program are a band arrangement of the "Dance of the Spirits of Fire" from the opera "The Perfect Fool" by Gustav Holst; Vincent Persichetti's Symphony No. 6 for Band; and "Equus" by Eric Whitacre.

"Shindig," a concert piece in one movement, was commissioned by the Big 10 Band Directors Association. Godfrey has written, "Although I had no particular action sequence in mind while writing it, I think of this music as something akin to a big barn dance: the soloist plays the braggart, the blow-hard (forgive the pun), continually sounding off, cutting in and demanding center stage. The rest of the ensemble willingly plays along with all this, at times giving over to it completely."

Godfrey holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from Yale and a doctorate in composition from the UI. A professor at the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University, he is founder and co-director of the Seal Bay (Maine) Festival of American Chamber Music and co-author of "Music Since 1945." He has received many awards and commissions for his compositions.

Bernard Rogers wrote his Three Japanese Dances for orchestra in 1933. The dances were re-scored for winds at the request of Frederick Fennell for a 1946 performance by the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

Rogers writes, "Among my works based on Eastern sources are 'The Song of the Nightingale' and Three Japanese Dances. The latter arises from my response to the art of the Japanese wood block masters particularly Hiroshige, Hokusai and Sharaku. The subtle art of omission, the elegance and aristocracy, the freedom and invention within formal scheme, the reticence and high mastery of these artists command my admiration and have impelled me to imitate these qualities in music."

The three dances are titled "Dance with Pennons," "Dance of Mourning" and "Dance with Swords." The middle movement includes an episode for "distant mezzo voice," unaccompanied.

One of the most distinguished American composers of the 20th century, Persichetti taught composition at the Philadelphia Conservatory and Juilliard. He produced a large, eclectic output in virtually all concert genres, from which his piano works and music for concert band are considered the most important.

His Symphony No. 6 for Band was commissioned by Washington University in St. Louis and became a standard part of the band literature soon after its premiere at the national convention of the Music Educators National Conference in St. Louis in March 1956. Its four movements maintain the traditional structure of the symphony: an opening movement with slow introduction and sonata-form main section; a slow movement based on the hymn '"Round Me Falls the Night"; a dance-movement in trio form; and a vigorous finale that recalls themes from the preceding movements.

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. He was recently named a Collegiate Fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts in recognition of years of distinguished teaching, research and service to the college.

Prior to joining the UI faculty Welch 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.

Thelander joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1989 and was elected director of the School of Music in 2000. Active as both soloist and chamber musician, she is a member of the Iowa Woodwind Quintet. As a guest artist she performed a solo with the Chinese National Opera Orchestra for the opening concert of the International Horn Symposium held in Beijing in July, 2000. During the summer she performs with the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Ore.

She was the first prize-winner in the 1981 American Horn Competition, and she has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, South Korea and the People's Republic of China. She has been a featured artist at many regional and international horn workshops in recent years, and she performed as soloist with the La Crosse Symphony, the Heartland of America Air Force Band, the Lake Agassiz Concert Band, the Britt Festival Orchestra, the Iowa Baroque Orchestra, the Greeley (Colo.) Philharmonic and the Santa Fe Symphony. She has recorded solo and chamber music for Crystal Records, CRI, Vienna Modern masters and Centaur Records.

Before coming to Iowa Thelander 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 and the New Mexico Symphony. She holds degrees from St. Olaf College, the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin.

A native of Akron, Ohio, Eberle has performed internationally in opera, concert and solo recitals. The Atlanta Constitution wrote, "Katherine Eberle was a standout. More than any other performer, she showed what it takes for a solo performer to command the stage."

She has performed with the opera theater of Lille, France, the Academy of the West, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Aspen Festival Opera Theatre, the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz, Austria, and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Her solo compact disc of songs of women composers, "From a Woman's Perspective," has been issued by Albany Records on the Vienna Modern Masters Label. She was also soloist on a CD of the Mozart "Requiem" released by the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Eberle made her New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 1993. In 1994 and '95 she toured as a musical ambassador for the United States Information Agency, performing in South America and Korea. In 1998 she was elected President of the State Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, hosting the state convention.

She has won awards from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Bel Canto Foundation and the Ann Arbor Friends of Opera. During the academic year she is on the faculty of the UI School of Music, and for seven summers she taught at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. Her annotated bibliography about American Operatic Monodramas was published in the Journal of Singing in 1999.

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>.