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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 23, 2004

Center For New Music Honors Founder Richard Hervig With Concert Dec. 5

The University of Iowa Center for New Music will honor its co-founder, Emeritus Professor of Music Richard Hervig, with a concert featuring his music at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 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 CNM supports its own performing ensemble, including both faculty and students of the School of Music, and presents concerts of recent music by guest artists.

The Dec. 5 concert, under the direction of David Gompper, will be free and open to the public.

In addition to four varied works by Hervig, the concert will include music by UI faculty member Michael Eckert, graduate student Andrew Jasinski and the prolific Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin. The complete program will be:

--Hervig's Sonata No.1 for Clarinet and Piano featuring clarinetist Maurita Murphy Mead from the School of Music faculty.

--Hervig's Toccata for solo piano.

--Hervig's "The Subtle Thief" for baritone and piano.

--Hervig's Chamber Music for Six players.

--Eckert's Bassoon Duo, played by School of Music faculty members Benjamin Coelho, professor of bassoon, and William LaRue Jones, director of orchestral studies.

--Jasinski's "Funk Hole (After Lelio)" for large ensemble, conducted by graduate student Joseph Dangerfield.

--Shchedrin's "Geometry of Sound" performed by the CNM ensemble with Gompper conducting.

A native of Story City, Iowa, Hervig studied composition at the UI with Philip Greeley Clapp. He joined the UI faculty in 1955 and became the founding director of the Center for New Music in 1966. Upon his retirement in 1988 he was appointed to a post at the Juilliard School in New York. Today he lives in Iowa City.

The Sonata for Clarinet, the earliest work on the concert, was composed 1952-55 while Hervig was teaching at Long Beach State College in California. The composer wrote, "the three movements are neo-classical, fast, slow, fast, including (at least one!) fugato. The work is distinctly tonal, and is one of my most frequently performed."

"The Subtle Thief" is a setting of the Milton sonnet that begins "How now hath time, the subtle thief of youth, stolen on its wing my three-and-twentieth year." It was composed in 1997, for the composer's 80th birthday concert at the Juilliard School.

"Chamber Music for Six Players" calls for flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, contrabass, piano and percussion. It was composed in 1976 as part of the United States' bicentennial celebration. Each state provided music for the celebration. The works were performed on a concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in the order that each state entered the union.

Since his contribution represented Iowa, Hervig included a theme from a piano composition by the great jazz artist Bix Beiderbeck, who was born in Davenport.

Eckert joined the music theory and composition faculty at the UI School of Music in 1985. His awards for composition include the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, a Charles E. Ives Scholarship from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, an NEA fellowship, and the Music Teachers National Association Distinguished Composer of the Year Award. He has been a fellow at the Charles Ives Center for American Music, and at the Composers Conference at Wellesley College.

The "Bassoon Duo" was written between December 2003 and May 2004 for Coelho and Franck Leblois, professor of bassoon at the Conservatoire d'Angouleme, France, for a CD recording of works for two bassoons.

Jasinski was born in Okinawa, Japan, and has a bachelor's degree in music theory and composition from Christopher Newport University in Virginia. He is currently studying for a master's degree from the UI. His music will be featured on a forthcoming CD celebrating the 40th anniversary of the UI Electronic Music Studios.

"Funk Hole (After Lelio)" is Jasinski's thesis piece in composition. It was suggested to the composer by a movement from Hector Berlioz's 1831 score "Lelio ou le retour a la vie" (Lelio, or the return to life). Berlioz's movement evokes the sound of the wind blowing through an Aeolian harp, ending with an unusual chord.

"The allure that gesture held for me, the explicitness of the tone-painting and the suggestion of something prefabricated about the movement drew me to use it as the basis for my own work," Jasinksi wrote. "I quote it freely throughout, departing from the original by varying degrees. The title refers to my reading of the protagonist Lelio's reclusive, convalescent nature, and to the inviolacy of interior life, the want for that inviolacy, or the lack of an interior life altogether."

Shchedrin graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1955 and taught there between 1965 and 1969, working thereafter as a freelance artist. He is married to the ballerina Mayya Plisetskaya. A prolific writer, Shchedrin is considered one of the preeminent composers of the latter half of the 20th century. His work is identified with a diverse style that endeavors to unify disparate elements in a unified manner. He uses materials borrowed freely from many sources, and he is considered a post-modernist in the truest sense.

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 has received numerous awards for his academic and musical achievements, including the Charles E. Ives Prize for composition from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a Composers Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

His "Lament for Bosnia" was premiered in 1998 by the UI Symphony and Choruses as part of "Global Focus: Human Rights '98," the UI's year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Of his other compositions, "Transitus" was premiered at Carnegie Hall and "Flip" was premiered by the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra.

Gompper has traveled to Thessaloniki, Greece, and the University of Auckland in New Zealand to lecture on current American musical trends in composition. In May, 1999, he performed a concert of his works and lectured at the Moscow Conservatory of Music in Russia. He has also served as a cultural specialist for the United States Information Agency in Kwangju, South Korea.

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.