April 18, 2007
UI Symphony Band And Orchestra Present Final Joint Concert May 2
University of Iowa Symphony Band and the UI Symphony Orchestra will present their final joint concert of the 2006-07 season, joined by faculty soloists playing works from the 20th century for piano and tuba, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.
The Symphony Band, playing on the first half of the concert, will feature pianist Alan Huckleberry in a performance of "...and the mountains rising nowhere" by Joseph Schwantner.
The band, directed by Myron Welch, will also play the Symphony in B-flat for band by Paul Hindemith. UI graduate student Darrin Oehlerking will be guest conductor for a performance of "Inglesena" ("Little English girl") by Davide Delle Cese.
After intermission tuba player John Manning will be featured with the UI Symphony Orchestra in a performance of the Concerto in F minor for tuba by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
The symphony, directed by William LaRue Jones, will also perform the tone poem "Death and Transfiguration" by Richard Strauss.
"This will be our final performance of a very busy and productive year," Welch said of he band's portion of the concert. "In addition to the solo piano, the Schwantner features a wide variety of percussion instruments including water gongs, bowed tam-tams, bowed vibes and multiple percussion set-ups.
"This is one the most demanding, significant and beautiful works in the contemporary wind literature."
Currently on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., Schwantner has been composer in residence with the St. Louis Symphony. He received the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1979 and a Guggenheim Foundation Grant in 1978. He wrote "...and the mountains rising nowhere" for the famed Eastman Wind Ensemble and its conductor, Donald Hunsberger.
Hindemith was one of the leading musicians in pre-World-War II Germany. He was, however, considered a modernist, so that his music fell under the disapproval of the Nazi regime. He moved first to Switzerland then to the United States, where he taught at Yale University 1940-53. He moved back to Switzerland in 1953 and remained there until his death in 1963.
The Symphony in B-flat was written for the U.S. Army Band during Hindemith 's sojourn in the United States. The composer conducted the premiere in Washington in April 1951. As Hindemith explained, the score was influenced by the sound of American bands: "Even non-specialists will recognize the strong influence of the saxophones on the overall sound and the lack of massive tenor brass instruments as a significant departure from the wind sound held in such esteem in Central Europe."
Commenting on the orchestra's part of the program, Jones said: "The UI Symphony Orchestra concludes its contribution to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the School of Music with two masterworks by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Richard Strauss. Vaughan Williams's concerto has become the staple of the concerto repertoire for the tuba, while 'Death and Transfiguration' can be said to represent the dawning of a new century for the UI School of Music."
One of the most important English composers of the 20th century, Vaughan Williams had an extremely long career as composer, collector of English folksongs, organist, conductor and professor of composition at the Royal College of Music. Written when he was 81, the Concerto for Tuba was first performed in 1954. The concerto has three movements -- a march-like first movement with a solo cadenza toward the end of the movement, a central "Romanza" and a dance-like finale.
The last great German Romantic composer, Richard Strauss lived into the middle of the 20th century. He is known for his operas and his virtuosic tone poems for orchestra. One of the earlier tone poems, "Death and Transfiguration" was written in 1888 and '89, when the composer was still in his 20s. It is based on a scenario by the composer describing "the dying hours of a man who had striven toward the highest idealist aims, maybe indeed those of an artist."
In a series of four sections, the tone poem describes the struggle, sufferings and ultimate death of the protagonist, followed by a section representing the "transfiguration" of his soul.
Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980 and is a Collegiate Fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The past president of the American Bandmasters Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters Association, Welch is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with bands throughout the United States. See http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/CONDwelch.htm
An active solo pianist and chamber musician, Huckleberry joined the UI faculty in 2003. 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. For more information, see: http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/PIANOhuckleberry.htm
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. The founding director of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with professional, festival, collegiate and student ensembles throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. See: http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/CONDjones.htm
Manning is a founding member of the award-winning Yamaha performing ensemble, the Atlantic Brass Quintet, with whom he has toured across the United States and around the world, including performances at the White House, Tanglewood, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and June in Buffalo. An active freelance musician, he has performed with the Boston Symphony, the Empire Brass and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. He joined the UI faculty in 2004. More information: http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/BRASSmanning.htm
Tickets for the May 2 concert by the UI Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Band are $10 ($7 for seniors; $5 for UI students and youth), and are available at the Hancher Auditorium Box Office.
Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. 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 may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website: http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu.
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