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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 19, 2003

UI Center for New Music Will Present American Chamber Music Dec. 4

The University of Iowa Center for New Music will present a concert of contemporary American chamber music, featuring music by its director, David Gompper, along with works by UI alumnus John Allemeier and UI visiting faculty member Ketty Nez, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4 in Clapp 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 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.

Performing on the Dec. 4 concert will be Gompper; saxophonist Kenneth Tse from the School of Music faculty; and graduate student performers associated with the CNM. The complete program will be:
--"Chasing Feldman" for violin, viola, cello, piano and percussion by Allemeier;
--"Hommage a W. A. (William Albright)" for piano, composed and performed by Gompper;
--"Crossed" for saxophone, violin and piano by Gompper; and
--"Pir-Ondine" for flute, clarinet, violin, piano and percussion by Nez.

Allemeier received a doctorate in composition from the UI, where he received the Henry and Parker Peltzer Fellowship Award for Excellence in Composition. His music has been performed at contemporary music festivals in Europe, Asia and South America, on national conferences of the Society of Composers and the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the United States, and at regional conferences of the College Music Society and the Society of Composers.

Allemeier wrote that "Chasing Feldman" was written in reaction to hearing many European imitations of music by the American minimalist composer Morton Feldman. "In Darmstadt, there were endless concerts of meditative music that wandered aimlessly through time," he wrote. "Sometime during the eighteenth concert of slow quiet music, all I could think was 'If I could only get my hands on Morton Feldman right now!' "

"'Chasing Feldman' is a tribute to Morton Feldman that sounds like my music, not his."

Gompper's piano work "Hommage a W. A." was written in homage to one of his teachers, William Albright, who died prematurely in 1998. A first-rate pianist and organist as well as composer, Albright was one of the American musicians who initiated and supported the revival of ragtime music in the 1960s and '70s. Gompper said that all of the musical material of his score was generated from the letters of Albright's name.

"Crossed" is based on another work of Gompper's, "Crossings" for violin, piano and saxophone quartet, which he wrote last summer for the Viennese Saxophone Quartet. Both pieces use the same harmonic structure -- a group of seven notes based on the initials of the current performers in the quartet. While the new work borrows from the earlier composition, it also contains completely new material created from the same seven notes.

Gompper premiered "Hommage a W. A. (William Albright)" at Wigmore Hall in London in October 2001, and "Crossed" was first performed last summer at the International Saxophone Congress in Minneapolis.

Composer/pianist Ketty Nez received her doctorate in composition from the University of California at Berkeley. While teaching at San Francisco State University, she co-founded two new music ensembles, the Brodo/Nez cello-piano duo and the Composers' Coalition. She also performed as pianist with the groups Earplay and Composers, Inc. She recently completed a residence of several months at the Ecole Nationale de Musique (National Music School) in Montbeliard, France, where she worked with faculty and students on projects of live electronics and improvisation.

Her music has been played at festivals in the U.S. as well as abroad, including Bulgaria, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland and Japan. She spent the year 1988 in Japan, studying with Michio Mamiya and writing for traditional Japanese instruments. She has participated as fellow in the Aspen Music Festival, the 1998 June in Buffalo Festival, the 1997 Britten-Pears School Composition Course in Aldeburgh, England, the 1996 California State University Summer Arts Composition Workshop, the 1995 Tanglewood Music Center and the 1990 Pacific Composers Conference in Sapporo, Japan.

"Pir-Ondine" was written during her move to Amsterdam from San Francisco in 1996 and, the composer says, mirrors her personal and musical journey. Pirin is an area in Bulgaria in which Macedonians live, close to where her family comes from. Several of their songs are used in the composition to create layers by means of extensive melodic deconstructions as well as by abstractions of accompanying rhythms.

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 November, 1998, an east-coast tour by the Center included a performance at Merkin Hall in New York City and by invitation at the final performance of the Region I Conference of Society of Composers, Inc., at Connecticut College in New London. Critic Paul Griffiths opened his New York Times review of the Merkin Hall concert by observing that "an ensemble of faculty and graduate students from the University of Iowa performed strongly Tuesday night," and he praised Gompper for "the concert's clarity and directness."

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.

Gompper joined the music theory and composition faculty of the UI School of Music in 1991. He received his Bachelor of Music degree at San Diego State University, a Master of Music from the Royal College of Music in London, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from the University of Michigan. His teaching experience includes two years at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka and a faculty position at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Gompper recently returned to the UI following a year spent in Moscow as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching, performing and conducting at the Moscow Conservatory. He has also traveled to Thessaloniki, Greece, and the University of Auckland in New Zealand to lecture on American musical trends in composition. He has also served as a cultural specialist for the United States Information Agency in Kwangju, South Korea.

Tse joined the UI faculty in the fall of 2002. As a Yamaha performing artist and Vandoren endorsed artist, Tse is an active international performer and clinician. He has given performances and master classes in many parts of Asia, Europe and the United States. Many composers have written pieces for him, including saxophone sonatas, saxophone concertos, solo and chamber works by David DeBoor Canfield, John Cheetham and Leonard Mark Lewis.

Tse studied at Indiana University with the internationally acclaimed American artist and teacher Eugene Rousseau, who is a UI graduate. He has appeared as a soloist with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Hong Kong Wind Philharmonia, Indiana University Wind Ensemble, Baylor University Wind Ensemble, Emory University Wind Ensemble, Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony and Des Moines Symphony, among others. He has solo compact disc recordings on Crystal Records, RIAX Records and Enharmonic Records. He is currently the membership director for the North American Saxophone Alliance.

More information about Tse is available on his web page, at http:// www.kenneth-tse.com.

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>.

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