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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 6, 2004

University Faculty Will Be Soloists With Chamber Orchestra Feb. 22

Two University of Iowa faculty members will be featured soloists in a free concert by the University Chamber Orchestra and director William LaRue Jones at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Double bassist Volkan Orhon will play the Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in B minor of Giovanni Bottesini, and bassoonist Benjamin Coleho will play "Ciranda das Sete Notas" (Ciranda of seven notes) by Heitor Villa Lobos.

The orchestra will complete the program with "Three Latin-American Sketches" by Aaron Copland.

The composer of many virtuosic pieces for the double bass, Bottesini lived during the height of the 19th-century Romantic era. He was a successful opera composer and conductor who conducted the premiere of Verdi's "Aida" and whose own operas played at the major Italian opera houses around the world. As a double bass virtuoso, Bottesini stunned audiences in Europe, South America and the United States. His technique was so dazzling that he was known as "the Paganini of the double bass." His music has become an essential part of the virtuoso bass repertoire.

A self-described "child of nature" who "heard the aborigines' drums in the mysterious nights" of his native country, Brazilian Villa-Lobos is widely considered one of the landmark composers of the 20th century. His stature was reflected in the comments of Leonard Bernstein, who said that, "he was not only a great composer but also a great Brazilian and an eminent personality of the world artistic community."

The "Ciranda das Sete Notas" was written in 1933, shortly after Villa-Lobos was appointed director of Music Education in Rio de Janeiro. A Ciranda is a dance from the northeast of Brazil that is sometimes likened to the American square dance. Villa Lobos' "Ciranda das Sete Notas" is in three sections, with the first exhibiting a kaleidoscope of extreme, alternating characters that provides forward impetus to the piece. It was composed for and dedicated to the composer's wife Arminda, who is described as "an indefatigable catalyst in bringing together Villa-Lobos's music and its interpreters."

Aaron Copland is widely regarded as the most "American" of composers. Through such deliberately nationalist works as the ballets "Appalachian Spring," "Rodeo" and "Billy the Kid," and such patriotic works as the World-War-II vintage "Fanfare for the Common Man" and the evocative "Lincoln Portrait," he achieved wide popularity with American concert audiences.

Copland also frequently made use of musical elements from south of the border. He made numerous visits to Central and South America, and the rhythms and colors of the region influenced many of his works after the mid 1930s. The second and third of the three sketches were written in 1959 during a stay in Acapulco, but Copland later withdrew them from performance because of their brevity. He added the first movement in 1971 -- making it his last orchestra piece -- at the request of conductor Andre Kostelanetz, who premiered the sketches in their current form with the New York Philharmonic in June 1972.

An active professional performer as well as a teacher, Orhon has played solo, orchestral and chamber music across the country and around the world. He has performed as soloist with orchestras across the country, including the El Paso Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Connecticut Orchestra, Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra, Cortlandt Chamber Orchestra and Northern Westchester Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to his solo playing, he has been a member of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Connecticut Opera Orchestra and a freelance musician throughout New England. He recently completed a European tour with the Fazil Say and Kudsi Erguner Jazz Quartet, performing at the Montreux, Paris, Antibes, Montpellier, Istanbul and Izmir jazz festivals.

Orhon was a finalist and prizewinner in the Concert Artists Guild Solo Competition in New York City, and was the co-first-place winner of the International Society of Bassists Solo Competition. He was the first double bass player ever to win the Grand Prize overall and first prize for double bass at the American String Teachers Association Solo Competition. A D'Addario Diamond Performing Artist, Orhon performs exclusively on D'Addario Strings.

Like Villa Lobos a native of Brazil, Coelho has worked extensively as performer and teacher of bassoon, in both the United States and his native country. He was a founding member of the Manhattan Wind Quintet, with whom he played a sold-out concert in Carnegie Recital Hall in New York. The quintet won various chamber music competitions including Artists International, Coleman, and Monterey Peninsula chamber music competitions. As a soloist, Coelho has played recitals and concertos in Brazil, the United States, Canada and Portugal.

In Brazil, Coelho has played principal bassoon with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, the Grupo de Musica Contemporanea of Minas Gerais and the Gramado Woodwind Quintet. He taught bassoon at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte in Brazil, where he served as the elected vice-dean of the School of Music.

Coelho started studying bassoon at the age of 10 at the Tatui Conservatory in his native Brazil. He graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Purchase and received a masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He is currently completing a doctorate at Indiana University.

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 has appeared as a guest conductor with a wide array of professional, festival, collegiate and student ensembles throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. He has conducted more than 70 all-state orchestras with additional festival/clinics in most of the 50 states and the Canadian provinces. He has served extended conducting residencies and is the founding artistic director of the critically acclaimed Conductors Workshop of America. He is currently music director and conductor of the Oshkosh (Wisc.) Symphony.

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.

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.

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

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