University of Iowa News Release
Nov. 6, 2003
Iowa Horn Trio Will Explore A Wide Range Of Musical Styles Nov. 16
Chamber ensembles of like instruments are not common, but horn players, whose instrument has an exceptionally wide range, often buck the trend by banding together. One such ensemble, the Iowa Horn Trio -- made up of Jeffrey Agrell, Patrick Creel and Michael Helman -- will demonstrate the potential of their grouping in a variety of musical styles, on a free concert at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16 in Harper Hall of the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building.
All three players are from the UI School of Music, where Agrell teaches horn and Creel and Helman are graduate students.
Their program will include arrangements, as would be expected for such an uncommon combination, but also a surprising number of original works for horn trio from both the early Romantic period and more modern times. Traditional classical pieces will be included, along with more contemporary styles, jazz and even group improvisation. And lest anyone think they are too serious, the horn players will provide a humorous moment or two as well.
The complete program will be:
--Two Bach Trios, arranged from music of J.S. Bach by L.E. Shaw.
"We will explain the program orally during the concert," Agrell said. "But here are a few thoughts: the Reicha trios are perhaps the best trios ever written for this group, while Kerry Turner's "Chaconne" and Douglas Hill's Trios are among the best modern trios for horns.
"There are two unusual numbers on the program: 'La Rejouissance' will be played on ordinary garden hoses -- and presented along with an explanation of Baroque hose playing! -- and the "Quodlibet" will be a piece completely improvised at the time from audience suggestions.
"We will close the program fittingly with three of Shaw's jazzy 'Tripperies'."
Agrell joined the UI School of Music faculty in 2000 after a 25-year career as symphony musician. At the UI he teaches horn, directs the Horn Choir, coaches chamber music and performs with the Iowa Brass Quintet. Before coming to Iowa, he was associate principal horn with the Lucerne (Switzerland) Symphony Orchestra 1975-2000, playing symphonic music, opera, operetta, ballet, musicals choral music and chamber music.
Agrell began composing and arranging during his college years and played jazz guitar and electronic music in the 1980s. For the past decade he has had a steady stream of commissions from professional chamber music ensembles. His works have appeared on CD and have been broadcast on radio and television nationally and internationally.
At the 2001 Workshop of the International Horn Society in Kalamazoo he gave a clinic on non-jazz improvisation and performed his "Night Sonata" for horn, piano, bass, and percussion, which is revolutionary in its integration of written and non-jazz improvised material. Another recent piece in this style, "September Elegy" for natural horn and piano, was performed at the Infinite Respect Conference at the University of Iowa in January 2002, and was a winner in the "Beyond 9-11: Arts in Iowa" project.
Widely respected as performer, teacher and composer, Agrell was a guest artist/clinician at the Midwest Horn Workshop in 2002. During the summer of 2002 he was a featured artist and clinician at the Juneau Jazz and Classics Festival and a coach for the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong. He was on the editorial staffs of two brass journals, writes two regular columns for Horn Call, and has some 60 published articles to his credit. He is currently working on a multi-volume method that integrates traditional technique with aspects of improvisation, jazz, and contemporary music. He offers regular workshops for regional high school horn players and is sponsoring a contest for young horn soloists from Iowa.
Agrell has degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He did further studies at the Institut de Hautes Etudes Musicales in Montreux (Switzerland) and at the Basel Conservatory.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
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