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Release: Oct. 19, 2001

UI Camerata Singers will present major work by Swedish composer Otto Olsson Nov. 2

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Camerata Singers from the University of Iowa School of Music will present one of the major works by little-known Swedish composer Otto Olsson as part of a free concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Richard Bloesch will conduct the concert, which will also feature tenor soloist Timothy Stalter. Bloesch and Stalter are members of the UI School of Music faculty.

A mixed choral ensemble of about 60 voices, Camerata includes both UI students and members of the local community. The group and its conductor are known for performances that bring to light unfamiliar choral works of significant interest and value.

On Nov. 2, this tradition of Camerata will be represented by a performance of Olsson's "Te Deum" for chorus, strings, harp and organ.

One of the great organ virtuosos of the early 20th century, Olsson studied organ and music theory at the Stockholm Conservatory, graduating in 1899. He subsequently taught organ and harmony at the conservatory, where he influenced several generations of Swedish church musicians. Her served as organist at the Gustav Vasa Church in Stockholm and worked to revive church music in Sweden after a long period of decline. He drew up the specifications and supervised the building of more than 60 organs all over the country. He was especially known for his performances of French organ music, which also influenced his own compositions.

Composed in 1906, the "Te Deum" is his largest and -- at least in Sweden, where it was performed more than 100 times in Olsson's lifetime -- his best known work.

The first half of the program will consist of two groups of pieces. The first group contains three pieces by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams: "Ca' the Yowes," a Scottish folk-song arranged for chorus and tenor solo; "Orpheus With His Lute" for a-cappella chorus; and the wedding chorus "See the Chariot at Hand" from Vaughan Williams' cantata "In Windsor Forest," with a text by Ben Jonson. The third piece, adapted from Vaughan Williams's opera "Sir John in Love," was originally scored for orchestra and chorus and will be accompanied on piano by graduate student Joshua Russel.

The second group will comprise four spirituals: "My Lord, What a Mornin'," arranged by Harry T. Burleigh; "I am His Child" by Moses Hogan; "Li'l David, Play on Yo' Harp," arranged by Charles S. Brown; and "Precious Lord," arranged by Arnold Sevier.

Bloesch received his doctorate in choral conducting and choral literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. He teaches the history of choral literature in the UI School of Music, conducts the Camerata Singers and advises doctoral students. He is CD review editor for the Choral Journal, and he held the national chair of the Repertoire and Standards Committee for Colleges and Universities in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He is co-author of an annotated bibliography of 20th-century choral music that was published by the ACDA.

Stalter joined the UI faculty as director of choral activities in 1999. He directs Kantorei, the premier choral ensemble of the School of Music, teaches graduate conducting courses, and administers the graduate program in choral conducting. He is also active as a tenor soloist in the United States and abroad.

A specialist in the music of the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods, Stalter is known for his performances as the Evangelist in the Passions of J.S. Bach and Heinrich Schuetz. He has appeared as tenor soloist with the North Carolina Symphony, the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in France, the Robert Shaw Chamber Choir in Atlanta, the Classical Music Seminar and Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, and the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. He has recorded as tenor soloist with conductor Robert Shaw on two compact discs released on the Telarc label.

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>.