April 8, 2008
Myron Welch will conduct his final UI concert before retirement April 27
Myron Welch will conduct a program of "Favorites, Old and New" for his last concert with the University of Iowa Symphony Band, after more than 25 years at the UI School of Music, at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27, in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.
The concert, which will also feature an Alumni Band assembled in tribute to Welch, will be free and open to the public. In addition to pieces selected by Welch as among his favorite works for band, the program will include the world premiere of a new work commissioned in Welch's honor by his friends and former students, "Heartland Sketches" by Mark Camphouse.
Welch retires from the UI at the end of the current academic year. He has been director of bands at the UI since 1980 and in 2001 was named a Collegiate Fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for his years of outstanding teaching, service and dedication to the college. In addition to many other honors, Welch has also been awarded the National Band Association's Citation of Excellence.
A review of a recent concert in performed New York's famed Carnegie Hall by Welch and the UI Symphony Band identified the ensemble as "one of the foremost student wind and percussion ensembles in the country" and concluded "Hats off to Maestro Welch."
The Symphony Band will play the first half of the April 27 concert. Works on their portion of the program will be:
--The Overture to "Benvenuto Cellini" by Hector Berlioz.
For the second half of the program, the Alumni Band will play:
--The First Suite in E-flat for Band by Gustav Holst.
Welch commented on the Symphony Band's program, "The Berlioz is my favorite overture. The 'Enigma Variations' was a work that I did on my first concert at Iowa in 1980. What's also new about this work is that Kevin Kastens -- the director of the Hawkeye Marching Band -- has transcribed at my request several of the variations that Earl Slocum omitted.
"Composed in 1913 and published in 1925, 'Dionysiaques' is an old original band work of a virtuosic nature that is rarely played."
Welch also noted that the Alumni Band will gather for a single rehearsal Saturday afternoon, April 26. Their program is composed of classic works for concert band that will be familiar to most of the players as well as many in the audience.
In the introduction to his score, Camphouse included a tribute to Welch's career: "Welch has made significant contributions to the betterment of virtually all facets of the wind band profession and to instrumental music education in America. . . . (He) always brings the same musical integrity, intensity, sensitivity and sincerity to the podium. Those admirable qualities also embody who Myron Welch is as a teacher and mentor, husband and father, and as a friend and colleague.
"Fragments of the 'Iowa Fight Song' and 'Alma Mater Iowa' are prominently included in the work, as are brief reminders of Myron's love of sailing and of his doctoral alma mater, the University of Illinois. The listener will hear occasional harmonic alteration of 'Alma Mater Iowa.' Please permit me to complete this program note with a slight, but I think appropriate one word alteration to that lovely hymn: 'Myron Welch! Myron Welch! We drink a toast to you.'"
The complete program notes are available in PDF form at
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. Ensembles under his direction have performed at state and national conventions for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, Ohio Music Education Association, Iowa Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, Iowa Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, and the American Bandmasters Association. For more information on Welch, see http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/CONDwelch.htm.
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