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Release: Feb. 25, 2002

Iowa Woodwind Quintet performs music for duo, trio, quartet -- and all five players March 9

The Iowa Woodwind Quintet, a faculty ensemble from the University of Iowa School of Music, will perform music for various combinations of two to four players, as well as one piece for the entire group, when they present a free concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 9 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The one piece for the full quintet will be “Circus Etudes,” a 1996 score by visiting UI faculty member Jeffrey Agrell, which will close the concert.

Other works on the program will be the Quartet No. 1 by Gioacchino Rossini, arranged for flute, clarinet, bassoon and horn by Friedrich Berr; Choros No. 2 for flute and clarinet by Heitor Villa-Lobos; Variations on “Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman” by W.A. Mozart, arranged for flute and oboe by Peter Kolman; Trio for clarinet, bassoon, and horn by Francois Devienne; and the Suite for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon by Alexandre Tansman.

The Iowa Woodwind Quintet has been in existence at the UI School of Music since about 1932. Its current members -- Tadeu Coelho, flute; Mark Weiger, oboe; Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet; Kristin Thelander, horn; and Benjamin Coelho, bassoon -- are all members of the UI School of Music faculty.

Agrell is a visiting faculty member in the School of Music, where he teaches undergraduate horn, directs the Horn Choir, coaches chamber music and performs with the Iowa Brass Quintet. He began composing and arranging during his college years and played jazz guitar and electronic music in the 1980s. For the past decade he has had a steady stream of commissions from professional chamber music ensembles. His works have appeared on CD and have been broadcast on radio and television nationally and internationally.

“Circus Etudes,” written for the Wildwood Quintet, has received numerous performances around throughout Europe and the United States. Just as the title suggests, more than a little levity is involved in each of the suite’s four movements: “Dancing Elephants,” “Clowns,” “Trapeze Artists” and “Acrobats.”

In 1804, when he was only 12, Rossini completed a set of six string quartets. Years later, when Rossini was conducting the orchestra of the Paris Opera, the quartets came to the attention of the orchestra’s clarinetist, Friedrich Berr. Berr made arrangements of the quartets for flute, clarinet, bassoon, and horn, possibly with Rossini’s guidance.

Villa-Lobos was one of the most original of 20th-century composers. His style shows the strong influences of native Brazilian music blended with traditional European compositional techniques. He is widely considered one of the landmark composers of the 20th century.

The word “choro” is used in Brazil to refer to instrumental ensemble music, often in a dance style. The Choros genre emerged at the end of the 19th century as European dances performed in a melancholy or nostalgic style. It reached its apex in the 1940s, and today is considered almost a classical genre of Brazilian music.

Mozart’s aria “Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman” is based on the folk melody known in English as “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” The aria was arranged for two flutes by Kolman, a flutist from Mozart’s time whose version works equally well for oboe and flute.

Well-known as a virtuoso flutist, bassoonist, composer, and teacher, Francois Devienne played with the most famous orchestras of the late 18th century. In 1795, when the Paris Conservatory was established, Devienne was appointed professor of flute. The Trio is unusual in its instrumentation, especially for an era that saw mostly chamber music for ensembles of like instruments.

Polish by birth, Alexandre Tansman settled in Paris in 1919. It was in France that he found the major influence on his compositions. He was a close associate of Stravinsky with whose work Tansman’s compositions have points in common, not least in their variety. Of his several works woodwinds, his works for bassoon are perhaps the best known. His Suite explores the homogeneous qualities of the reed instruments.

Tadeu Coelho joined the UI music faculty in 1997. An international touring artist sponsored by the Miyazawa Flute Company, he has appeared as soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe and the Americas. He has performed as first solo flutist with the Santa Fe Symphony, the Hofer Symphoniker in Germany and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy. His CD recording of 20th-century Mexican flute music was released in the spring of 1999, and he has also recorded CDs of music by Brazilian composers and works by Thomas Delio.

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 and won First Prize in the Queens Philharmonic Concerto Competition (NY). 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 recorded for the CRS, Crystal, Chandos and Centaur CD labels.

Mead has performed by invitation at International Clarinet Association conferences, the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the Southeastern Clarinet Workshop and the conference of the College Band Directors National Association. She has been principal clarinet of several Midwestern orchestras, including the Cedar Rapids Symphony. As a chamber musician she has appeared with the Cleveland Quartet and other ensembles. She had made several recordings, including two CDs of Brazilian choros with pianist Rafael Dos Santos, a UI alumnus.

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 soloist and chamber musician, she has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, South Korea and the People's Republic of China. 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.

Benjamin Coelho has worked extensively as performer and teacher of bassoon, in both the United States and his native Brazil. He was a founding member of the Manhattan Wind Quintet, with whom he played a sold-out concert in Carnegie Recital Hall in New York. He has played with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro and the Grupo de Musica Contemporanea of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He taught bassoon at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte in Brazil, where he served as the elected vice-dean of the School of Music.

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>.