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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 14, 2005

University Symphony Presents Scott Conklin In 'The Romance of the Violin'

Violinist Scott Conklin, a new faculty member of the University of Iowa School of Music, will make his Hancher Auditorium debut playing the perennially popular Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the University Symphony and conductor William LaRue Jones at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26.

The concert, second of the University Symphony's 2005-06 "Signature Series," is titled "Romance of the Violin." The program will also feature Claude Debussy's Impressionist orchestral masterpiece "Three Nocturnes" and the brilliant, colorful "Sinfonia India" (Indian symphony) by Mexican composer Carlos Chavez.

Other concerts in the University Symphony's 2005-06 Signature Series, presented in Hancher Auditorium, will be:

-- Nov. 30: "The Genius of Amadeus," a performance with university choirs of Mozart's monumental "Mass in C Minor";

-- Feb. 15: "Classical Brazil," opening with the Overture to "Il Guarany" by Brazilian composer Carlos Gomez, followed by UI faculty soloists in Frank Martin's jazzy Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments and a solo saxophone work with UI alumnus Eugene Rousseau; and

-- March 29: "Thoroughly Modern Masterworks," a program of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra and Samuel Barber's choral-orchestral "Prayers of Kierkegaard."

Mendelssohn wrote his Violin Concerto in E minor in 1844 for his friend Ferdinand David, whom he had known since they were both teenaged musical prodigies. It was first performed by David and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, with the Danish composer Niels Gade conducting. Successful from that first performance, the Mendelssohn concerto has become one of the best known and most loved works in the violin solo repertory.

"The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto is one of the most beloved pieces of all-time," Conklin said. "It is a thrill to perform this heartfelt work at my new home with the wonderful UI students and William LaRue Jones."

Written in 1935-1936, Chavez's exotic one-movement 'Sinfonia India' is based largely on melodies gathered from the Yaqui, Seri and Huichol Indians -- the historical Aztecs -- treated in a 1930s modernist style. The melodies were collected by ethnomusicologists who were friends of the composer. In the context of the piece, it is actually the diatonic, western-sounding melodies that are authentic, while the material composed by Chavez is based on exotic scales that the composer created.

Jones commented, "The University Symphony's performance of Carlos Chavez's 'Sinfonia India' comes from a continuing desire to present important works by composers from all world cultures.

"The 'Sinfonia India' is an outstanding contribution to the orchestral repertoire that includes several indigenous Mexican melodies. The composer has woven these themes into a single movement 'symphony' that is full of interesting and unique rhythmic vitality."

Conklin comes to the UI from the faculty of the University of Texas at Arlington. He has performed as a violin soloist with numerous orchestras including the Louisville, Nashville and Berlin Symphony Orchestras. He is a first place winner of the Music Teachers National Association Competition, and he regularly performs as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. He was a featured artist at the 2004 MTNA National Conference, and he frequently appears in concert with his duo partner, pianist Robert Auler.

Conklin holds the honorary distinction of being a "Kentucky Colonel," a title given to him by Gov. Wallace Wilkinson of Kentucky. During the summer months he has served on faculty at the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point, Wis., the Michigan All-State Division at the Interlochen Arts Camp, the University of Texas at Arlington Summer Strings Camp, Sound Encounters Music Festival and the Ottawa Suzuki Institute Mid-Southwest. Conklin earned masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan. He also holds a bachelor's degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

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.

Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with an array of professional, festival, collegiate and student ensembles throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, ranging from the Minnesota Orchestra and the Minneapolis Pops to the Penang (Malaysia) Symphony, the Antofagasta (Chili) Symphony and the Symphony Orchestra of Lucerne (Switzerland). Jones has conducted more than 70 all-state orchestras with additional festival/clinics in most of the 50 states and Canadian provinces.

He has served extended conducting residencies at the North Carolina School for the Arts, the University of Miami, Interlochen Academy for the Arts and Kansas City Conservatory. He also 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.

Jones holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin, University of Iowa and Kansas State University, with additional studies at The Juilliard School of Music and the University of North Texas.

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 school-year 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 also may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hancher box office website: http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu.

Hancher box office 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.

The Division of Performing Arts is part of 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.