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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 23, 2005

Stylistically Varied Program Will Be Presented By Coelho And Huckleberry Dec. 6

Composers from Romania, Greece and the United States will be on the program when bassoonist Benjamin Coelho and pianist Alan Huckleberry present a University of Iowa faculty recital at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Their performance will be free and open to the public.

The three works on the program, representing different cultures and contrasting musical styles, will be the "Rapsodie Dobrogeana" (Dobrogean rhapsody) by Romanian composer Paul Jelescu; the Sonata of American John Steinmetz; and "Sonata Concertante" by Greek composer Nikos Skalkottas.

Jelescu was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1901. After studies at the Regal Academy in Bucharest and the Schola Cantorum in Paris, he became the chair of the piano department at the Conservatory of Music in Cernauti in the region of Moldavia. In 1935 he returned to the Regal Academy to teach on the faculty. He had a long career as a soloist, chamber musician, musicologist and composer.

Jelescu wrote the "Rapsodie Dobrogeana" in 1953. Many of his works from this time were influenced by Romanian folklore, and particularly the folk dances and songs of the region of Dobrogea. Situated in the southeastern part of the Romania, the region is known for its cultural and ethnographic diversity, including Greeks, Turks, Tartars, Macedonians and Bulgarians. Some of the characteristics of the folk style that Jelescu integrated in this work are the asymmetry of the melodic line, uneven rhythmic patterns and frequent metric changes.

Steinmetz was born in 1951. He is principal bassoonist of the Los Angeles Opera and Los Angeles Master Chorale, a member of the ensemble XTET and a frequent contributor to movie soundtracks. He is also a board member of Chamber Music America, the national service organization for chamber musicians, and a consultant to the computer scientists of the Media Research Group at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Steinmetz writes about his sonata: "The first movement portrays the bassoon as a strong-voiced instrument exploring powerful feelings. The second movement is based on an English tune called 'Browning' (or 'The Leaves Be Green.')  . . . The Lament that ends this Sonata grew from some piano chords that captivated me. I sat at the piano for hours tinkering with them. I began the Prelude and the Lament with similar chords, but only much later did I realize that the 'Browning' melody begins with the very same notes."

Skalkottas was born in 1904 in Halkis, on the Greek island of Eubea, into a highly musical family. A child prodigy as a violinist, he began his studies in his hometown with his uncle before attending the Athens conservatory. He composed prodigiously, in a personal atonal idiom, using the 12-tone system rather seldom and somewhat reluctantly at that time. In Greece, his works encountered incomprehension and hostility, and he was obliged to accept a position as a back-desk violinist in the Athens State Orchestra. Working in isolation he composed feverishly until his death in 1949.

The "Sonata Concertante" was written in 1943 and is part of his "Cycle-Concert," which also includes his Concertino for Oboe and Piano and a piece for trumpet and piano. The bassoon sonata shows, for the first time in Skalkottas' output, a turn towards a new way of incorporating and exploiting folk elements.

A member of the UI faculty since 1998, Coelho has worked extensively as performer and teacher of bassoon, in both the United States and his native Brazil. He was a founding member of the Manhattan Wind Quintet, which won the Artists International, Coleman, and Monterey Peninsula chamber music competitions. As a soloist, Coelho has played recitals and concertos in Brazil, the United States, Canada and Portugal.

In Brazil, Coelho has played principal bassoon with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, the Grupo de Musica Contemporanea of Minas Gerais and the Gramado Woodwind Quintet. He taught bassoon at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte in Brazil, where he served as the elected vice-dean of the School of Music.

In the United States he played with the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony, the Camerata Chamber Orchestra and the Bloomington Pops Orchestra in Indiana, and the Bronx Opera Company in New York. Currently, he performs as the principal bassoon with the Cedar Rapids Symphony and the Iowa Woodwind Quintet and is also a member of Wizards! A Double Reed Consort.

An enthusiastic proponent of new music, Coelho has commissioned, performed and recorded many works by European, American and Latin American composers. His first solo CD, "Bassoon Images from the Americas," was released by Albany Records in January 2004 and has received critical acclaim by the specialized media.

Coelho started studying bassoon at the age of 10 at the Tatui Conservatory in his native Brazil. He graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Purchase and received a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He is currently completing a doctorate at Indiana University.

Huckleberry is an active solo pianist and chamber musician. He has performed both in recitals and as a soloist with orchestras in Germany, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Spain, France and the United States. He is also a prizewinner of numerous national and international piano competitions, including the first prizes in the German National Competition and the University of Michigan concerto competition.

As a chamber musician Huckleberry was the featured pianist at flutist Amy Porter's 2003 summer workshop at the University of Michigan. He has been the faculty chamber music coordinator and faculty pianist for the University of Michigan's All-State program at Interlochen. Prior to his appointment at the UI, Huckleberry taught at the Cologne Conservatory in Germany, the University of Michigan, and at Albion College in Michigan.

A proponent of contemporary music, Huckleberry has worked extensively with composers Bright Sheng, Michael Torke, Carter Pann, Evan Chambers, John Berners, and Tom Schnauber. A collaboration with the German radio station WDR in Cologne, led to a compact disc recording of American "crossover" music, which includes works of William Bolcom, William Albright, Pann, Berners, and Schnauber. Most recently Huckleberry was invited to perform at "Criss Cross: Conversations about America's Music."

Huckleberry's interests in piano pedagogy include historical performance practices, key characteristics and the integration of contemporary music in today's teaching. He often speaks locally, nationally, and internationally on pedagogical topics. Actively involved in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and the Iowa Music Teachers Association (IMTA), Huckleberry is currently the faculty advisor to the newly founded collegiate chapter of MTNA, state board and executive committee member, as well as chair of commissioning committee. He was recently named host of the 2006 IMTA State Conference, which will be held at the UI School of Music in June 2006.

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.