CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release:Oct. 4, 2002
PHILHARMONIA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA PRESENTS CHILDRENS PROGRAM OCT. 20
The Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra from the University of Iowa School of
Music will present the first of two planned free concerts of music for children
at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
The performance will be conducted by UI graduate students Jean Montes and
John Winzenburg and will feature radio personality Nancy Hagen, host of both
the Evening Program on UI radio station KSUI-FM and Morning
Edition on WSUI-AM, as narrator.
Philharmonias second childrens concert, including Tchaikovskys
popular Nutcracker Suite, will be Nov. 24.
For the Oct. 20 concert, Hagen will narrate two pieces: Winzenburg will conduct
a performance of Drakestail by Mario Lombardo, which is based
on a French fairy tale, and Montes will conduct Histoire de Babar, le
petite elephant (The story of Babar, the little elephant) by Francis
Poulenc, which is based on the well known childrens classic by Jean
Winzenberg and the orchestra will open the concert with Rossinis popular
Overture to The Barber of Seville.
Rossini produced Italian operas at a feverish pace during the 1810s, turning
out an average of three per year between 1811 and 1819. His operas swept across
Europe, captivating audiences in virtually every country. His music was marked
by wit, brilliant orchestral colors, a distinctive rhythmic drive and, above
all, a highly individual use of dynamics which he appears to have invented,
with his famous, cleverly orchestrated crescendos.
All of these qualities are evident in Rossinis overtures, which have
long been popular orchestral concert openers. One of his most popular overtures,
that for The Barber of Seville even showed up in a famous Bugs
Bunny cartoon. Surprisingly, it was not originally written to introduce a
comic opera. Because he was turning out so many new works each year, Rossini
became a notorious thief of his own material, re-using previous
music as needed. Rushing to complete The Barber of Seville in
1816, he turned to an overture that had actually been used just the previous
year to introduce a dramatic opera about Englands decidedly un-comic
Queen Elizabeth I.
Drakestail, subtitled a symphonic tale for children, tells the
story of an undersized duck with an oversized capacity for making money. On
top of his wealth, the duck gains a reputation for being wise, kind, and just
-- even lending money to the wicked king. The king, however, refuses to pay
his debt, and Drakestail is forced to journey to the palace to collect his
With magic flute and horn in hand, he sets off optimistically and is joined
along the way by his newfound friends -- the fox, the river, and an army of
bees. When Drakestail arrives at the palace, the evil king tries to destroy
him on three separate occasions, but the clever duck is saved by his friends.
Drakestail vanquishes the king and the happy townspeople offer him the crown.
He accepts their offer and becomes king, happy at the thought that the kingdom
will now be ruled by a wise, kind, just, and wealthy mini-duck.
The music of Drakestail plays various roles throughout the work: describing
a specific character, establishing mood and atmosphere, or underlying action
of the plot. Not only does the work pose colorful technical challenges to
the orchestra players, it also provides an enchanting tale for listeners young
According to legend, Francis Poulenc was practicing the piano one day in
1940 when a young niece happened by. She didnt like his choice of music
and impulsively placed the book she was reading on his music stand. Play
this instead, she insisted. The book was Brunhoffs classic children's
tale The Story of Babar. Poulenc began to improvise a musical
dramatization of the story as he read it aloud to her, leading to his finished
composition about Babar. Premiered in its original version for narrator and
piano in 1945, The Story of Babar has since been arranged for
Nancy Hagen is best known for her on-air work on the UI Public Radio station,
WSUI/KSUI in Iowa City. She's local host of National Public Radio's Morning
Edition and hosts the Iowa Talk organic growing series on
WSUI. She can also be heard on Classical Radio KSUI's Morning Program
from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays. In addition, she produces the Cedar Rapids Symphony
broadcasts and contributes to Know the Score on KSUI.
An accomplished singer, Hagen has appeared with the Quad City Mozart Festival,
Waterloo/Cedar Falls Metropolitan Chorale, La Fosse Baroque Ensemble, early
music ensemble Fiocchi di Granturco, UI Opera Theatre and UI Symphony. A champion
of new music, she has premiered a number of works and appeared with the UI
Center for New Music, Midwest Composers Symposium and the Iowa Composers Forum.
Fond of musical theatre, she was most recently seen as Kate in the Iowa City
Community Theatre production of Kiss Me Kate in 2002.
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/.
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