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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 28, 2004

WiZARDS! Performs On UI Target Community Concert Series Jan. 8

WiZARDS!, the double-reed musical ensemble founded by University of Iowa School of Music faculty member Mark Weiger, will perform at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus. The hour-long, family-oriented concert, part of the Target Community Concert series presented by the UI Arts Share program, is free and the public is invited to attend.

This concert will feature music from around the world, with a blues/jazz thread.

"WiZARDS!" is a double reed ensemble featuring the oboe, bassoon, English horn, oboe d'amore, contra bassoon and piccolo oboe. Based on the experience gained from five years of nearly 30 concerts each year, tours through 15 states, gathering the world's largest library of double reed music and preparation for a compact disk recording, Weiger formed the quartet as a professional chamber group that could travel easily. The best of the available double reed music is selected and, when necessary, arranged for the quartet.

In addition to the customary double reed instruments, "WiZARDS!" often includes the less common members of the family in its performances. These include the piccolo oboe -- a smaller, higher pitched and more difficult-to-play cousin of the oboe -- the alto-voiced oboe d'amore, and the very low-pitched contra bassoon.

"WiZARDS!" has been featured as the chamber group in residence for the education component of the Great Music West Festival in Utah and Idaho and has maintained residencies in Wisconsin and Wyoming since 1995. The group has been touted as "the world series of double reed playing," and reviewers have called their concerts "a dazzling performance" and "an outstanding musical adventure for all." Another critic commented, "the audience was spellbound by their uniqueness and quality." The group has three CDs out on the CRS and Crystal labels.

Before coming to the UI, Weiger taught at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. As a soloist, Weiger has performed in 38 states in the past four years, presented two recitals in Carnegie Hall in New York, been a finalist in nine international competitions and won second prize at the New York International Competition.

This series of community concerts is made possible by a grant from Target Stores.

The goal of Arts Share is to strengthen the arts in underserved areas and to provide access to life-enriching arts experiences throughout Iowa. To serve that goal, Arts Share makes artists available in music, theater, dance, the visual arts and creative writing. The available activities range from workshops to ensemble coaching to concerts to lectures -- and even special, custom-designed projects.

The Target Community Concert Series is one in a variety of on-campus performances available to school groups and families from throughout the region.

The 2004-05 Arts Share roster includes more than 100 individual artists and ensembles, with options to fit a variety of needs and budgets. Many schools have scheduled several Arts Share artists to create a concentrated arts day, or have engaged an artist to make multiple visits, enabling their guidance of long-term projects.

Arts Share and the School of Music are units in the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu.