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Release: Sept. 6, 2002

Interplanetary 'Voyage' Opens UI Symphony Signature Series Sept. 18

The University of Iowa Symphony will open its 2002-03 season of subscription concerts with "Voyage," an interplanetary voyage in music accompanied by images of outer space from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, in the UI Hancher Auditorium.

The concert program, under the direction of William LaRue Jones, will feature three works: "The Entry of the Gods Into Valhalla" from "Das Rheingold" by Richard Wagner; "Krypton" by Cedar Rapids native Michael Daugherty and "The Planets" by Gustav Holst

The concert will be the first of five in the symphony's new Signature Series of subscription concerts. General admission for concerts in the Signature Series will be by individual or series tickets, sold in advance through the Hancher Auditorium box office. Additional concerts in the series will be Wednesdays Oct. 16, Dec. 4, Feb. 26 and April 23, all at 8 p.m. in Hancher Auditorium.

The PowerPoint presentation of images downloaded from the Hubble Space Telescope was created by Christine Stevens, an employee in the UI Department of Physics and Astronomy. "I found some really cool stuff to go with the concert," Stevens said. "The Hubble Space Telescope has taken some incredible pictures, and I think people will be really excited to see them."

A native of Cedar Rapids, Daugherty has created a niche in the music world that is uniquely his own, composing concert music inspired by contemporary American popular culture. The son of a dance-band drummer and brother to no fewer than four professional musicians, he grew up playing the keyboard in jazz, rock and funk bands. He came to international attention in 1995, when his "Metropolis Symphony," a five-movement tribute to the Superman comics that includes the "Krypton" movement to be played by the UI Symphony, was performed at Carnegie Hall by conductor David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Currently on the composition faculty of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Daugherty has received numerous awards for his music, including the Stoeger Prize from Lincoln Center, recognition from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts.

Daugherty has written, "I began composing my 'Metropolis Symphony' in 1988, inspired by the celebration in Cleveland of the fiftieth anniversary of Superman's first appearance in the comics. When I completed the score in 1993, I dedicated it to the conductor David Zinman, who had encouraged me to compose the work, and to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

"The 'Metropolis Symphony' evokes an American mythology that I discovered as an avid reader of comic books in the '50s and '60s. . . . Like Charles Ives, whose music recalls small-town America early in our century, I draw on my eclectic musical background to reflect on late-20th-century urban America. Through complex orchestration, timbral exploration, and rhythmic polyphony, I combine the idioms of jazz, rock, and funk with symphonic and avant-garde composition.

"Krypton refers to the exploding planet from which the infant Superman escaped."

Holst was born in the English spa town of Cheltenham in 1874 and studied music at the Royal College in London. He later became director of music at St. Paul's Girls' School in the Hammersmith district of London. He wrote a number of works for the theatre, their subjects reflecting his varied interests, from Hindu mythology to Shakespeare and the medieval world. By far the best known of all his compositions is "The Planets," a sequence of seven movements, reflecting the composer's interest in astrology and the generally attributed qualities of each.

Holst conceived "The Planets" by 1913, and the first movement, "Mars, the Bringer of War," was completed in 1914, anticipating rather than influenced by the outbreak of World War I. Other movements followed over the next few years, and the full score was completed early in 1917. The first public performance of the whole work was given in 1920.

Various aspects of the composer's musical personality are reflected in the highly varied movements of "The Planets," including a rare glimpse of the extrovert in "Jupiter," heavy-handed humor in "Uranus" and the sad processional in "Saturn." "Venus" is relaxed and lyrical, a mood that Holst did not often employ. The other three movements could not be more different one from another, although they share a common bitonal harmony that produces harsh dissonance in "Mars," a quicksilver elusiveness in "Mercury" and remoteness and mystery in "Neptune."

A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997 as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies. Prior to joining the UI faculty, Jones was the founding music director/administrator of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.

Jones is a highly honored musician, having received the Twin Cities Mayors' Public Art Award, the American String Teachers Association Exceptional Leadership and Merit Award and the David W. Preuss Leadership Award. He has also been selected Musician of the Year by Sigma Alpha Iota , a music honorary society.

Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Sinfonie Orchester AML-Luzern (Switzerland) and other orchestras around the world. He has conducted all-state and festival orchestras in 46 states and five Canadian provinces. He has been conductor-in-residence at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the University of Miami (Fla.).

Jones holds a Master of Fine Arts in music from the UI and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

General seating ticket prices for the concerts in the Signature Series are $7 for general admission ($5 for seniors and $3 for UI students and youth). Season subscription tickets providing admission to five concerts for the price of four will be $28, $20 and $12. Tickets will be available from the Hancher Auditorium Box Office.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 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. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line 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>.

A Division of Performing Arts brochure with an order form for University Symphony Concerts and other events will soon be available. To receive a copy, contact Judith Moessner at (319) 335-3213, or by e-mail at <judith-moessner@uiowa.edu>.

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>.