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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 20, 2004

Doppmann Returns To Perform In UI Piano Festival March 6

William Doppmann, described as "a pianistic giant" by a Washington Post critic, will present a free recital as part of the 2004 Piano Festival of the University of Iowa School of Music at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 6 in Clapp Recital Hall.

Doppmann, who taught at the School of Music in the 1960s, last visited the UI when he gave a performance in Clapp Recital Hall as a guest of radio station KSUI in 2002. The Piano Festival is an annual event that brings outstanding concert pianists to the UI campus for a free public concert and a master class with UI students.

A winner of the Naumburg, Leventritt and Michaels International Competitions, Doppmann has performed with major orchestras including the Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Honolulu and Tokyo Symphonies. He has played at Cleveland's Blossom Festival, the Hong Kong International Festival, Rudolf Serkin's Marlboro Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, the Kuhmo Chamber Festival in Finland, Chicago's Ravinia Park and other music festivals worldwide.

Doppmann's performance at Lincoln Center was described by the New York Times critic as "the most distinctive of the season," and the critic "was delighted to encounter such a strong musical vision."

For his March 6 recital, Doppmann will perform four works combing the familiar with the unfamiliar: the Fugue in C-sharp minor from Book I of the "Well-Tempered Clavier" by J. S. Bach; the "Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera" (Little music notebook of Annalibera) from 1952 by Luigi Dallapiccola; the Sonata in A minor, D784 by Franz Schubert; and the Aria with 30 Variations ("Goldberg" Variations) by J. S. Bach.

The least familiar work on the program is the "Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera." One of the most prominent Italian composers of the 20th century, Dallapiccola has never been well known to American audiences. He used Schoenberg's 12-tone techniques, at first only to write melodies in an otherwise tonal style. Over the years, however, his style became more strictly atonal, so that his works encompass a variety of sounds and styles.

The "Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera" was composed during the period of political turbulence after Italy's defeat in the World War II. An important work for the composer, it became the basis for subsequent works, including the important "Variations for Orchestra" of 1954. It is noteworthy for its use of contrapuntal techniques comparable to some of Bach's works, and its use of the B-A-C-H motive (the notes b-flat, a, c and b natural) in homage to the Baroque composer.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Bach's very well-known and much-honored "Goldberg" Variations -- originally titled "Aria with 30 different variations." Published in 1742, it was the fourth and final volume of Bach's monumental series "Clavier-Uebung" (literally, "Keyboard practice").

Bach presented a copy of the Variations to the Russian Ambassador to Dresden, Count Hermann Keyserlingk, probably for the use of the count's young resident harpsichord player, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, who had been Bach's student. A later legend has it that Goldberg played the variations to entertain the Count when he had insomnia, but there is no authentic evidence to support this story.

The "Goldberg" Variations are among the late works of Bach that appear to sum up the compositional practice of his day. The variations laid out according to a strict and complex plan. consisting of 10 sets of three variations. In addition to using the usual techniques for varying a theme, Bach wrote a series of nine strict canons based on the theme. The canons, one at every third variation, are arranged in order of ascending intervals -- the first at the unison, the second at the interval of the second, and so forth. Instead of a canon, the final variation is a quodlibet (Latin for "what have you"), which combines the theme with snips and pieces of popular songs of Bach's time.

During the 2001-02 season Doppmann gave three performances of Rachmaninoff's First Piano Concerto with the Jupiter Symphony and conductor Jens Nygaard. He returned to Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center the following year to take part in the Naumburg Foundation's Gala performance, which featured past winners of the Naumburg International Competition. This season he was the featured soloist for the International Liszt Society in Gainesville, Fla.

Doppmann continues to support the creation of new works, in addition to performing his own compositions. In the 1990s he premiered the Piano Concerto written for him by Thomas Wells and a new concerto by Harvard University's composer-conductor James Yannatos,. More recently he has premiered and performed works by Tom Wells and Don Harris in Columbus, Ohio, George Wilson in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Tiffin, Ohio, and his own piano works on tour in Texas, Washington, Oregon, New York and Michigan.

His recordings have appeared on Columbia, Nonesuch, Delos, Albany and Equilibrium labels. Most recently, he recorded both the Dallapiccola and the "Goldberg Variations" for a CD titled "J.S. Bach: A View from the 21st Century."

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.