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University of Iowa News Release

March 22, 2005

Local Russian Arts Group Presents Musical March 25 At Englert Theatre

The Iowa City premier of a musical performance titled "Dostoevsky, Jews, and Gypsies" will be Friday, March 25, at 8 p.m. at the Englert Civic Theatre, 221 E. Washington St. The program is made possible with support from University of Iowa International Programs, the Iowa Arts Council and the International Academy for Russian Music, Arts, and Culture.

Tickets are available at the door, or call 319-688-2653 ext. 1. The cost is $8 for students and senior citizens and $15 for adults.

Inspired by renowned Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel, "The Brothers Karamazov," this spectacular show by the award-winning ensemble Talisman brings together Russian, Russian-Gypsy and Jewish songs and dances, said Oleg Timofeyev, artistic director. Guest artists include Russian, Hungarian and Czech Roma (Gypsy) musicians.

This new program is the latest in Talisman's series of crossover projects, following "A Tribute to Stesha" (2003) and "Vysotsky and the Gypsies of Moscow" (2004). The former was dedicated to the early 19th-century Gypsy prima donna Stesha Soldatova, and the latter focused on a genius guitarist-improviser Mikhail Vysotsky, said Timofeyev.

"It is well known that both Eastern-European Jews and Eastern-European Gypsies based their art on the local folklore. Hence, their songs and instrumental music have a lot in common," Timofeyev said. "Once again, we will bring together related but distinct musical styles in an energetic, yet well-researched and informed musical extravaganza."

Thanks to the intensified Russian migration in recent decades, there now are vibrant Russian communities all over the country, including such an unexpected place as Iowa City, Timofeyev added.

When Timofeyev, a musicologist and guitarist, arrived in Iowa City in 1989, he said he was one of a handful of native Russian speakers in town. That number has been growing dramatically, and there are now more than 200 Russian-speaking families in town, families that hail not only from various cities in Russia itself, but also include Armenians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Moldavians, Belorussians and other nationalities from the former Soviet Union.

In the fall of 2004, Timofeyev and his wife Sabine Gölz, associate professor of comparative literature in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and also a creative photographer, decided to found a non-profit organization, dedicated to fostering international awareness of Russian culture. Joined by John Reitz, UI professor of law, who has research interests connected to the practice of law in the Russian Federation and is a committed musician and supporter of music, they founded the International Academy for Russian Music, Arts, and Culture. The organization helps foster international visibility of the best of Russian cultural traditions including music, music pedagogy, visual arts, architecture, theater, literature and Russian language.

Other members of the cast for this musical performance include: Anne Harley, soprano, co-director; Timofeyev, Russian seven-string guitar, artistic director; Petra Gelbart, singing, dancing, accordion; Vadim Kolpakov, Russian seven-string guitar, singing, dancing; Alex Udvary, cymbalom; Robert Paredes, clarinet; Katie Wolfe, violin; and Daria Stepashkina, Miriam Gölz, Angelique VanDorpe and Anna Stepanova, village girl choir.

For more information or special accommodations to attend this performance, call 319-688-2653.

International Programs consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic programs and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and training.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Oleg Timofeyev 319-688-2653; Writer: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026, lois-gray@uiowa.edu