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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 19, 2004

UI Symphony And Choirs Will Perform Music By Puccini And Bernstein Dec. 1

The University of Iowa Symphony will be joined by combined choruses from the UI School of Music to present "Sacred Voices," a concert of sacred vocal music by Giacomo Puccini and Leonard Bernstein, as part of the orchestra's Signature Series at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.

The concert will be under the direction of Timothy Stalter, director of choral activities at the UI School of Music. Two works will be performed: Puccini's "Messa di Gloria" (Gloria mass), an early piece written when the composer was 22 and only discovered for modern audiences in 1952; and Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms," commissioned by the Dean of Chichester Cathedral in England for the 1965 Three Choir Festival shared by the cathedral choirs of Chichester, Salisbury and Winchester.

Student soloists for the concert will be tenor Quiliano Anderson, baritone Adam Webb and bass Michael Krzankowski in the Puccini; soprano Kelsey Williams, alto Sarah Melton, tenor John Stumpff and bass Charlie Moore in the Bernstein. Boy soprano soloist for the Bernstein will be Matthew Flescher of Iowa City, a student at Southeast Junior High.

UI choral organizations participating in the concert are the Kantorei and University Choir, which perform under Stalter's direction; Camerata, conducted by Timothy J. Dickey; and the Women's Chorale, conducted by Fred Kiser.

"This is such a great concert," Stalter said. "The Puccini is wonderful and the Bernstein is such a fine compelling miniature that one can't help but be swept along with the melodies and themes."

"The Puccini 'Messa di Gloria' and Bernstein's 'Chichester Psalms' are dramatic pieces that can surprise the listener with unusual twists and turns on their respective texts. The writing is fresh and unpredictable, with explosive as well as contemplative moments, which will keep the audience at the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next.

"The singers love singing the Puccini. It is a singer's piece -- it's so very operatic that one wonders why the stage is not adorned with sets and costumes. And in the Bernstein, the composer, with his usual flare, displays exuberant, almost frenetic joy, juxtaposing the themes of peace and war, love and hatred, friends and enemies.

"Both pieces end quietly with messages of peace. Puccini, having exhausted himself on the Gloria and Credo movements, chose to end the Agnus Dei with little regard, almost a flippant setting of the text. Bernstein, in contrast, is highly emotional and intense in his closing message, from Psalm 133, verse 1: 'Behold how good, and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity.'"

Stalter joined the UI faculty as director of choral activities in 1999. He directs Kantorei, the premier choral ensemble of the School of Music, teaches graduate conducting courses and administers the graduate program in choral conducting. He has research interests in teaching conducting to undergraduate and graduate students and historical music performance practices. An active member of the American Choral Directors Association, he frequently presents clinics and workshops in choral conducting around the United States.

In addition to conducting and teaching choral music, Stalter is active as a tenor soloist in the United States and abroad. A specialist in the music of the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods, he is known for his performances as the Evangelist in the Passions of J.S. Bach and Heinrich Schuetz. He has appeared as tenor soloist with Apollo's Fire, the Newfoundland Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in France, the Robert Shaw Chamber Choir in Atlanta, the Classical Music Seminar and Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, and the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. He has recorded as tenor soloist with conductor Robert Shaw on two compact discs released on the Telarc label.

Prior to coming to the UI, Stalter was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Goshen College in Indiana. He received a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied with renowned choral conductor Robert Fountain, and a masters degree from the University of Illinois, where he studied with Don Moses, who was UI director of choral activities in the 1980s.

Individual tickets to University Symphony concerts are $8 (UI student and youth $3; senior citizen $6) and are available from the Hancher Auditorium box office. Tickets can be purchased singly, or as part of a package with other events presented by the Division of Performing Arts. Details on discount packages are available in a brochure available in the Hancher box office lobby, or from the division's marketing office at 319-335-3213. As detailed in the brochure, patrons who purchase tickets to four, five or six events will receive a 20-percent discount; purchasing tickets for seven or more events earns a 25-percent discount.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website: http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu/.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail: hancher-box-office@uiowa.edu.

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.