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University of Iowa News Release


April 3, 2009

Music from Bach to Debussy, and some new works for brass, fill April 16 concert

The Iowa Brass Quintet, a resident faculty ensemble at the University of Iowa School of Music, will present a free concert featuring arrangements of music from Bach to Debussy, as well as original works for brass, at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol on the UI campus.

The Iowa Brass Quintet (IBQ) performs on campus each semester and for schools, universities, civic concert associations and professional meetings throughout the United States. Its current members are David Greenhoe and Brian Umlah, trumpets; Jeffrey Agrell, horn; David Gier, trombone; and John Manning, tuba. Greenhoe, Agrell, Gier and Manning are School of Music faculty members; Umlah is a doctoral student.

The program for the concert will be:

--The Prelude and Fugue in F minor from the "The Well Tempered Klavier" by J.S. Bach, arranged for brass quintet for UI alumnus Louis Hanzlik.
--Quintet by Thomas Frederickson.
--"Girl with the Flaxen Hair" by Debussy, one of the composer's most popular piano pieces, arranged for brass by Gary Kulesha.
--"A Fantasy on Purcell's Fantasia upon One Note" by Elliot Carter.
--"Anagrams" by Robert Dickow.

Frederickson is professor emeritus of composition at the University of Illinois. He wrote this quintet in very modern style at a time when the brass quintet repertoire consisted of more arrangements and transcriptions than original music. The language is atonal, but still very accessible because of the sense of unity stemming from the use of common rhythms. The parts are difficult but very idiomatic for each instrument, making the piece enjoyable to play as well as listen to.

Elliot Carter recently celebrated his 100th birthday and remarkably is more productive as a composer than ever. He wrote the "Fantasy on Purcell's Fantasia upon One Note" in 1974 as a Christmas present for the American Brass Quintet. The leading English composer of the Baroque era, Purcell featured the note C in every measure of his "Fantasy on One Note," and Carter uses the more brass-friendly Bb for the same purpose.

A professional horn player, Dickow earned a doctorate in composition at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently professor of horn, theory and composition at the University of Idaho and principal horn of the Washington/Idaho Symphony. He wrote: "I used 'Anagrams' -- literally a puzzle made up of scrambled letters -- as a title loosely to reflect on the occasional enigmatic qualities of the movements, their titles and certain features of the musical content.

"The piece uses cyclic referencing of thematic material and several transformational devices, such as intervallic inversion in the trumpet lines in the preamble. My intent with some of this was to disguise any 'obvious' relationships of musical elements, though of course they are not so hidden as to elude the alert listener."

Founded in the early 1950s, the IBQ has been widely acclaimed for its artistry in the performance of music of all periods and premieres of new compositions. The quintet's CD "Americana: A University of Iowa Celebration" features works by composers associated with the UI, either as faculty or students in the School of Music, or whose works have been favorites of the group over the years. It was released as part of the celebration of the UI Sesquicentennial in 1997.

Biographies of the four members of the IBQ who are also UI faculty members are on the School of Music Web page Also see

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For more information visit

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

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 (office) 319-541-2846 (cell),