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University of Iowa News Release

Release: April 11, 2002

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UI Symphony Presents 'Experience Mahler' Subscription Concert April 23

The University of Iowa Symphony will present "Experience Mahler," the final concert of their inaugural Signature Series of subscription concerts, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 23 in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

The concert, under the direction of William LaRue Jones, will feature the Symphony No. 4 of Gustav Mahler, with soprano Rachel Joselson as soloist. Jones and the symphony will open the concert with Beethoven's dramatic "Leonore" Overture No. 3.

Mahler, whose music was once considered challenging both for players and listeners, famously said that his time would come. That prediction has certainly come true, as he has moved from a cult following in the 1950s into the orchestral mainstream in recent years.

UI orchestras have a long history of performing Mahler. James Dixon, Jones' predecessor as director of the University Symphony, was a leading proponent of Mahler whose many performances on and off campus won him the Mahler Medal. Mahler was his first choice for major events, including his final UI concert in 1997.

The Fourth is considered Mahler's most "classical" symphony. It has the smallest orchestra and the lightest textures of any of his symphonies, and unlike many of them, it follows the standard four-movement scheme. The term also suggests the cheerful tunefulness that has made the Fourth one of Mahler's most popular works.

The whole symphony is colored by the last movement, a setting of the poem "Das himmlische Leben" (Heavenly life), a poem describing heaven through the eyes of a child. Originally written in 1892 as part of the Third Symphony, this movement was set aside until the summers of 1899 and 1900, when Mahler composed the three orchestral movements of the Fourth Symphony and added "Das himmlische Leben" as the symphony's finale.

Mahler thought of the three opening movements as a preparation for the finale. He wrote, "In the first three movements, there reigns the serenity of a higher realm, a realm strange to us, oddly frightening, even terrifying. In the finale, the child, who in his previous existence belonged to this higher realm, tells us what it all means."

Beethoven planned several operas but only managed to complete one. Begun in 1804 as "Leonore," it was premiered under that title in 1805, then underwent numerous revisions and re-workings until, in 1814, it reached its final form under the name "Fidelio."

Along the way, Beethoven wrote no fewer than four overtures for the opera. The first, known as "Leonore" Overture No. 2, was written for the 1805 premiere and revised as "Leonore" No. 3 a year later. As the most dramatic of the four overtures, "Leonore" No. 3 has never been considered a successful curtain raiser: Because it anticipates the most dramatic moments of the opera, it makes the opening scene seem like a letdown. Nevertheless, "Leonore" No. 3 is considered one of Beethoven's greatest compositions, and it is often played to great effect in the concert hall.

Before joining the School of Music faculty in the fall of 1997, Joselson spent 13 years in Europe performing in opera and concert with theaters and orchestras in Darmstadt, Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn, Basel, Barcelona, Bilbao, Braunschweig, Brussels, Kiel, St. Gallen, Trier, and other cities in Germany, Switzerland and Spain. In this country she has appeared in Atlanta, Indianapolis, Madison, Johnson City, Tenn., and New Brunswick, N.J.

In the 1995-96 season she had her first engagement at the Metropolitan Opera, and was engaged by London's Covent Garden for their 1992 Japan tour with Mozart's "Don Giovanni."

She has performed many of the major soprano roles in the repertoire. Most recently she performed a recital of song and arias at the Chicago Cultural Center, debuted "Madame Butterfly" with Chicago's American Opera Group, and sang the title role in Smetana's "Bartered Bride" with Cedar Rapids Opera Theater.

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.).

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). Tickets are available from the Hancher Auditorium Box Office.

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. 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 <hancherboxoffice@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 <ur-acr@uiowa.edu>.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072, peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.

PHOTOS are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa/photos.html.