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University of Iowa News Release


April 30, 2009

Gregory Hand will present free Baroque organ music recital May 8

Gregory Hand, who teaches organ at the University of Iowa School of Music, will present a free recital of Baroque organ music at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 8, at First Presbyterian Church, 2701 Rochester Ave. in Iowa City.

Today, Bach is by far the better known of the two composers, but Sweelinck is highly regarded by organists as one of Bach's influential predecessors. Hand programmed the two composers together because of this historical connection: "Sweelinck was the father of the North German organ school, and Bach represents one of the last members of this school," he said.

"Both Sweelinck and Bach found inspiration in the rules of counterpoint, and all of the works on this program feature incredible economy of musical thought: Each piece is spun out from a single musical idea. In the hands of these masters of composition, this application of the strict rules of counterpoint creates not dry and pedantic exercises, but music of incredible complexity and emotional depth."

The program will alternate pieces by the two composers:

--Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 547.
--A Sweelinck Fantasia.
--Bach's Trio Sonata in G Major, BWV 530.
--"Ricercar" by Sweelinck.
--Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582, by Bach.

Hand joined the School of Music faculty in 2007. He served as University Chapel Organist at Northwestern University, where he also taught music theory. He holds a doctorate from the University of Michigan. He has participated in several international organ competitions, including the Grand Prix de Chartres (France), St. Albans (England), Prix André Marchal (France) and the Dublin International Organ Competition. He is also active as a harpsichordist and continuo player. See

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Visit the UI School of Music Web site at

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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),