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Release:Sept. 6, 2002

Iowa City Debut By New Flute Professor Featured In Concert Sept. 22

The University of Iowa Center for New Music will present "The American Experience(s) Part I," the first of two concerts reflecting many of the country's diverse cultures, at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22 in Clap Recital Hall on the UI campus.

A flexible organization devoted to the presentation of the music of the past 100 years, the Center for New Music (CNM) is directed for the 2002-03 season by Amelia Kaplan, a visiting faculty member in the theory and composition area of the UI School of Music. Part of the UI Division of Performing Arts, the center supports its own performing ensemble, including both faculty and students of the School of Music.

"The basic 'American Experience' theme is partly to be inclusive of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds," Kaplan said. "In setting the program, I also tried to have different aesthetics represented, and to a large extent you could say that the pieces represent a sort of 'pioneering spirit' that is characteristic of our history."

The second "American Experience(s)" concert will come at the end of the CNM season, Sunday, April 6.

The Sept. 22 concert will feature flutist Robert Dick, a well known composer and performer of new music who will be visiting professor of flute in the School of Music for the 2002-03 academic year, making his campus debut in a performance of his own "Re-Illuminations" for solo flute.

Other works on the program will be the Toccata for solo piano by Emma Lou Diemer; "In C" by Terry Riley; "Four Mary's" for string quartet by Julia Wolfe; Chamber Concerto No. 5 by David Sanford; and Suite for woodwind quintet by Ruth Crawford Seeger.

Kaplan commented on some of the pieces in the program: "Our new visiting professor in flute, Dick is playing one of his own pieces. He's very important in both the flute world and new music world for expanding the flute's capabilities.

"Diemer is a pioneer in that she is a woman composer who got her start when there weren't many women composers with public careers. She also represents a typical academic kind of career path.

"Riley's 'In C' is an extremely popular piece and represents a landmark in new music: minimalism. His name is very prominent in Iowa City right now, because of the commission for his new piece for the Kronos Quartet, which will be premiered at Hancher in October. 'In C' consists of 53 musical fragments that must be played in sequence, although the instrumentation, number of performers and duration of the piece is variable. The performers begin together but decide in real-time when to move on to the next fragment; thus 'In C' will never be performed exactly the same way twice.

"Julia Wolfe is one of the three composers who started the Bang on a Can festival in New York, which has become quite an important venue for experimental music. 'Four Mary's' takes its inspiration from mountain dulcimer music. The 'sliding pitches, the crude crying tone, the drone strings, and the strumming' are all sounds present in the quartet that Wolfe feels represent the heart of this art.

"Sanford is an east coast composer who uses lot of jazz references in many of his pieces. He's not a jazz composer, but his works are full of references to different styles and people, including Mingus, Miles Davis, Maynard Ferguson, Thomas Tomkins, Donald Martino and the Modern Jazz Quartet. - Since Jazz is obviously an important African-American contribution to music, I chose this piece to represent that addition.

"Seeger is important for both her pioneering compositional techniques and her research into American folk music. She was the first to apply serial techniques to parameters other than pitch, and she combined serialism with other techniques. She was very innovative, but not noticed much at the time. The last 10 years have seen an explosion of interest in her work, with several excellent books and new editions of music. The Suite, which is her last piece, combines folk-inspired tunes and serial techniques.

A visiting faculty member at the UI School of Music for the 2002-03 academic year, Dick is internationally known as a performer, composer and improvisor. He describes himself as "a musician with 21st century skills and 18th century attitudes" who continues the tradition of virtuoso composer/performers like Chopin, Paganini and Jimi Hendrix.

Dick has received critical acclaim worldwide for both his technical accomplishment and his groundbreaking creativity. The Washington Post wrote, "Dick held the audience in rapt attention with his spellbinding virtuosity," and critic Bill Shoemaker wrote in JazzTimes, "There are few musicians that are truly revolutionary. Robert Dick is one of them."

As a performer, Dick is particularly known for his mastery of extended techniques on the flute and for the high intensity of his concerts, which has earned a reputation as "the Hendrix of the flute." As a composer in the classical world, he has received a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition and commissions from the Jerome Foundation, Fromm Music Foundation, Mary Flagler Cary Trust, the city of Zurich, the Philharmonie in Cologne, and many others. As an improviser, he is a member of groups based both in New York and Europe.

Kaplan completed her doctorate in composition at the University of Chicago as a Century Fellow, where her primary teachers included the distinguished composer/teachers Shulamit Ran, Marta Ptaszynska and Ralph Shapey. She was the recipient of a Whiting Dissertation Fellowship, which she used for study at the Milan Conservatory. She also received a diploma of merit from the Accademia Musicale Chigiana and diploma from the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau. Her music has been performed around the United States. and in Europe at contemporary music events, including the Gaudeamus Festival, Darmstadt Festival, Klang, Sandpoint, and others.

The Center for New Music was founded in 1966 with a seed grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The center promotes the performance of new music by providing a core group of specialists in contemporary performance techniques. Its programming has included world premieres as well as acknowledged contemporary masterworks.

In 1986 the center received the Commendation of Excellence from Broadcast Music, Inc., the world's largest performing rights organization, and it recently received grants from the Aaron Copland Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts. Today, the Center for New Music is supported by the UI Division of Performing Arts.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Center for New Music is one the World wide Web at http://www.uiowa.edu/~cnm. You can learn more about Robert Dick at http://www.robertdick.net/. For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu>.