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Release: Jan. 4, 2002

Photo: The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the Orion String Quartet and additional musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will present the world premiere of their first-time dance/chamber-music collaboration at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25 and 26, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus. EDITORS: a higher resolution scan -- 1.1 MB -- is available on request.

Bill T. Jones & Chamber Music Society Present World Premiere At UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the Orion String Quartet and additional musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will present the world premiere of their first-time dance/chamber-music collaboration at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25 and 26, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

Hancher is a co-commissioner of this unusual dance/live-chamber-music collaboration. Following the world premiere performances in Iowa, the artists will travel to the East Coast to perform the New York City premiere in Alice Tully Hall of Lincoln Center, Jan. 31-Feb. 3.

The Jan. 25 program will feature "Verbum," set to Beethoven's final string quartet, the String Quartet in F major, opus 135; "Worldwithout/In," set to the "12 Microludes" by Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag; a performance by the Orion Quartet of the String Quartet by Ravel as a musical interlude; and "Black Suzanne," which will feature all the musicians in a performance of Shostakovich's Two Pieces for String Octet, opus 11.

On Jan. 26, the musical interlude and "Black Suzanne" will be replaced with a new production -- due to the inclusion of live music -- of the Bill T. Jones signature piece from the late 1980s, "D-Man in the Waters," set to the Mendelssohn Octet in E-flat major, opus 20.

The sets for all the premieres of "Verbum," "Worldwithout/In" and "Black Suzanne" are by Jones' long-time partner, Bjorn Amelan; the lighting is by Robert Wierzel, and the costumes by Liz Prince.

Jones and the members of the Orion String Quartet will discuss their collaboration in a free panel discussion at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, in the Kirkwood Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

During his visit to Iowa City, Jones will also participate in a free conference, "Infinite Respect, Enduring Dignity: Voices and Visions of Respect," Jan. 25-26 in the UI Theatre Building. He will participate in a session at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26.

The conference, organized by the Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry (POROI) for UI Human Rights Week, will explore academic and artistic responses to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. For more information, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~poroi/, or contact Merrie Snell at 319-335-2753 or poroi@uiowa.edu.

The collaboration between the Jones company and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center began in 1998 when Jones was invited to perform at the Classical Action Benefit at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Jones danced and the Orion String Quartet played the final movement of Beethoven's opus 135 quartet. Each was fascinated by the other's gifts, art form and adventurous spirit, and decided to find a way to work with each other in the future.

When Jones was offered a chance to create a new work using live music, through Hancher's co-commission, he was determined to find a way to integrate the Orion String Quartet. The quartet-in-residence of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Orion String Quartet -- Daniel Phillips and Todd Phillips (violins); Steven Tenenbom (viola) and Timothy Eddy (cello) -- will be joined in the octets by other Lincoln Center musicians: Ruggero Allifranchini and Timothy Fain (violins); Hsin-Yun Huang (viola) and Sophie Shao (cello).

Jones has forged one of the most celebrated and controversial careers in contemporary dance, often developing ambitious projects that unflinchingly confront personal issues of race, faith, sexual orientation and disease.

In 1994 Jones was honored with a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant," and among his many other honors are National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, "Bessie" Awards and the Dance Magazine Award. In 1995 he published the memoir "Last Night on Earth."

Iowa has played a prominent role in Jones' creative life. Residencies at the Cedar Arts Forum in Waterloo/Cedar Falls and at the UI led to a series of Hancher commissions, including "The Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land" and "Still/Here."

"Still/Here," which addressed the challenges of living with terminal illness, was based on "survival workshops" conducted in Iowa City and several other locations around the country. The images and words of Iowans facing life-threatening illnesses played a prominent role in the production, which received its U.S. premiere in Hancher. The project was the subject of a PBS special by Bill Moyers, partially videotaped at the UI.

During Hancher's 1999-2000 Millennium Festival, Jones presented two world premieres, including his solo performance, "The Breathing Show," which he described in a developmental diary published in the New York Times.

The Orion String Quartet is one of the most admired chamber ensembles on the international music scene. The members of the Quartet -- brothers Daniel Phillips and Todd Phillips who share the first violin chair equally, violist Steven Tenenbom and cellist Timothy Eddy -- have worked with legendary figures including Pablo Casals, Rudolph Serkin, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Peter Serkin, András Schiff, Wynton Marsalis, members of TASHI and the Beaux Arts Trio, as well as the Budapest, Vegh, Galimir and Guarneri String Quartets.

Now in its second decade, the Orion continues to perform in the world's leading concert halls and serves as Quartet-in-Residence not only at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center but also at New York's Mannes College of Music.

The critic of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "The four extremely virtuosic and accomplished players of the Orion Quartet seem to have been born to be together."

For Sony Classical, the Orion recorded Wynton Marsalis' first classical composition for strings, "At the Octoroon Balls" (String Quartet No. 1). Other critically-acclaimed recordings include Dvorak's "American" String Quartet and Piano Quintet with Peter Serkin, and Mendelssohn's Octet with the Guarneri String Quartet, both on the Arabesque label.

The Orion String Quartet, heard frequently on National Public Radio's "Performance Today" and WNYC's "Live," has appeared three times on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" on "Breakfast with the Arts" on the Arts and Entertainment channel (A&E).

Peggy Scholz is the local sponsor of the Bill T Jones/Orion Quartet commissions and performances, through the University of Iowa Foundation. Other support has come from the F. Wendell Miller Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are $35, $33 and $30. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, and tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website:< http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher >.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail: <hancherboxoffice@uiowa.edu>.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit <www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa>. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu>. Visit the Orion String Quartet at http://www.orionquartet.com/ and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at http://www.lincolncenter.org/index2.asp for additional information.