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University of Iowa News Release

April 15, 2005

World Premiere, Student Soloists Featured May 1 By UI Chamber Orchestra

The University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra will present the world premiere of a new score by UI faculty member Lawrence Fritts and performances by the two student winners of the UI School of Music Concerto/Aria Competition in a free concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The soloists -- soprano Heather Youngquist and violist Julia Immel -- were selected last fall in the final round of the annual competition. The preliminaries included students in all performance areas of the School of Music. The final 10 candidates were judged by an outside panel consisting of violist Michael Kimber, singer and music writer Marcella Lee and flutist Nicole Esposito.

In addition to the student soloists, the concert will also feature two graduate student conductors. The complete program will be:

-- the world premiere of Fritts' "Monsterology" for chamber orchestra and electronics, conducted by William LaRue Jones, the director of orchestral studies at the UI School of Music;

-- Johannes Brahms' "Tragic Overture," op. 81, conducted by graduate student Valdir Claudino;

-- Youngquist singing two operatic selections -- "Batti, batti" from Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and the "Willow Song" from "The Ballad of Baby Doe" by American composer Douglas Moore, -- both conducted by Claudino; and

--Immel playing Bela Bartok's Viola Concerto, conducted by graduate student Enaldo Oliveira.

The title of Fritts' "Monsterology" refers not to Dungeons and Dragons or children's literature but to an advanced concept of mathematics, the Monster Group. Constructed by mathematician Robert Griess at Princeton in 1982, to whom Fritts dedicated the work, the Monster Group is defined as "the largest, most fascinating, and most mysterious of the so-called sporadic groups."

"The number of elements in the Monster is by far larger than any known to exist in music," Fritts wrote. "This number approximates the number of elementary particles in the planet Jupiter.

"Although I have been interested in using the Monster as a compositional resource ever since I first heard of it 20 years ago as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, the extremely high order of the Monster was quite daunting. Fortunately, I had the help of literally the finest Monsterologists in the world: George Glaubermann, who patiently guided me through a very difficult (for me) thesis on music and group theory at Chicago, and fellow alumnus Bob Griess, who provided me with some important insights into understanding the structure of the Monster. As my composition progressed, these insights became more fully developed as musical ideas, structures and form."

Fritts joined the UI faculty in 1995. He is currently area head of composition and director of the Electronic Music Studios. He has composed for a wide variety of electronic and computer media, including concrete tape, instruments and tape, voltage-controlled and MIDI-controlled analog and digital synthesizers, and digitally processed instruments. His music is performed throughout the world and in fall 2004 he was a composer in residence at New York University.

Recently the American Record Guide wrote of his music that it is "intellectually stimulating . . . sinewy and evokes images of neurotransmitters firing away in the brain at the moment when imagination, creativity and execution converge."

Fritts serves as the National Director of Conferences for the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States and on the editorial board of the Journal of Mathematics and Music. His music is recorded on the Innova, Frog Peak, Albany, Tempo Primo and Southport labels.

Youngquist is a senior vocal performance major in the School of Music studying with Katherine Eberle. She has performed several operatic roles while at the UI, including Lucia in Benjamin Britten's "The Rape of Lucretia" this spring, Clorinda in Rossini's "La Cenerentola" (Cinderella) last summer and Valencienne in "The Merry Widow." She has also been a featured soloist at the UI in performances of J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor and "St. Matthew Passion." She studied the role of Zerlina in "Don Giovanni" last October with Georges Denlon, Intendant of the Staatstheater (State theater) in Mainz, Germany, and UI operatic coach Shari Rhoads in Montepulciano, Italy.

Immel is an undergraduate student of Christine Rutledge at the School of Music. She has also attended New England Conservatory and Columbia College. This is her first year as a viola performance major at the UI. Before coming to the UI, she taught with the Jefferson City Suzuki Violin Quartet program and the Jefferson City Public Schools summer program, and she maintained a private studio in Columbia, Mo. She has played in several professional orchestras, including Cedar Rapids Symphony, Cedar Rapids Opera, Quad-City Symphony, Southeast Iowa Orchestra, Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, and Missouri Chamber Soloists. She graduated as a Salutatorian of her high school class in Jefferson City, Mo. She was also the 2004 winner of the Iowa Viola Society competition.

A native of Brazil, Claudino received a bachelor's degree in double bass from the University of Belo Horizonte and a master's from the UI. In 2003 he returned to Iowa to pursue his doctorate in double bass with Volkan Orhon and master's in conducting with Jones. He has been principal bass player with several orchestras in Brazil. His teaching career began in 1987 at Sesiminas high school, where he served also as an arranger and conductor. Since 2000 he has been invited as a teacher and soloist by the Brazilian Association of Bassists and the Campos dos Goitacazes music festival.

Oliveira has a bachelor's degree in violin performance from Santa Marcelina College in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a master's degree from Sao Paulo University. He served as string coordinator at Tom Jobim Music University and as pedagogical coordinator of the Guri Project for the Cultural State Secretary of Sao Paulo. He is a doctoral candidate in orchestral conducting at the UI, where he studies with Jones. Since 2003, he has been manager of the University of Iowa Orchestras and co-director of the All-University String Orchestra. He recently became music director of the Saint Ambrose University Community Symphony Orchestra and music director for the Greater Cedar Rapids Youth Symphony Orchestras.

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.

He 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 is the founding artistic director of the critically acclaimed Conductors Workshop of America. In addition to serving as guest clinician for numerous conducting seminars for professional/educational associations internationally, Jones is music director and conductor of the Oshkosh (Wis.) 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.