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University of Iowa News Release


March 19, 2009

Kantorei and University Singers present joint UI concert April 5

Kantorei and University Singers, two major choral ensembles from the University of Iowa School of Music, will present a program of music for the Christian Holy Week at 3 p.m. Palm Sunday, April 5, in St. Mary's Church, 220 E. Jefferson St., in Iowa City.

The performance, under the direction of Timothy Stalter, will be free and open to the public. The music will include both some very well known pieces -- portions of Handel's "Messiah" -- and some less familiar pieces from the Renaissance and the 20th century. Faculty soloists on the performance will be Rachel Joselson, soprano; Kathryn Eberle, mezzo-soprano; David Puderbaugh, tenor; and Stephen Swanson, bass.

"The program for this concert focuses on the Passion story from the New Testament in the Christian tradition," Stalter said. "There is a strong association between Handel's 'Messiah' and Christmas, but only one of the oratorio's three parts is devoted to the birth of Jesus Christ. The other two parts are devoted entirely to the Passion story. It is these portions, augmented by several additional choral pieces, that we are performing."

The complete program will be:

--"Hosanna to the Son of David" by Thomas Weelkes, performed by the combined choirs.
--"Judaskuss" (The kiss of Judas) by Paul Hindemith, performed by Kantorei.
--"Crucifixus" (The crucifixion) by Antonio Lotti, performed by the combined choirs.
--"Messiah," Parts II and III by George Frideric Handel, performed by the combined choirs with faculty soloists and a chamber orchestra.

"Messiah" is today the most popular of the many oratorios on Biblical subjects that Handel wrote during his years in England. Most of the oratorios are dramatic settings of stories from the Old Testament, written in operatic style and considered appropriate as entertainment during the Lenten season, when operas were not permitted.

"Messiah" differs from those works in several ways. For one, its subject -- Christian salvation as revealed through the life of Jesus -- is taken from the New Testament. For another, it is not dramatic in the conventional sense of using dialog or portraying characters and their conflicts through music. Instead, Jesus' life is told through narration derived from Biblical passages.

Finally, a great deal of the narration is sung by the chorus, giving "Messiah" far more choral music than most of Handel's oratorios -- a fact that has contributed significantly to the continuing popularity of the work. To an extent unparalleled for a classical work, amateur choruses and choral singers consider performances of "Messiah" the ultimate musical experience, and sing-along performances have become staples of musical life in many communities.

The vast majority of these performances take place each year during the Christmas season, although it should be noted that "Messiah" tells the entire story of Jesus' life, paralleling the Christian liturgical calendar from Advent and Christmas through Lent, Easter, the Ascension and Pentecost. It is also significant that "Messiah" was not associated with Christmas during Handel's lifetime, with most performances, including the 1742 premiere in Dublin, taking place during Lent, and that the most popular single piece from the work, the "Hallelujah" chorus, has nothing to do with Christmas.

Stalter joined the UI faculty as director of choral activities in 1999. An active member of the American Choral Directors Association, he frequently presents clinics and workshops in choral conducting around the United States. He is also active as a tenor soloist specializing in the role of the Evangelist in the Passions of J.S. Bach and Heinrich Schuetz. For more information visit

Before joining the School of Music faculty in the fall of 1997, Joselson spent 13 years in Europe performing in opera and concert. She has performed many of the major soprano roles in the repertoire. Among her many appearances worldwide were an engagement with the Metropolitan Opera and a tour of Japan with London's Covent Garden. For more information visit

Eberle joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1990 after five years of teaching at the University of Georgia. A specialist in art song, oratorio, chamber music and opera, she has performed in the United States and abroad, including more than 80 engagements with orchestras, choral organizations, and chamber music groups. For more information visit or

Puderbaugh joined the UI faculty in 2006 as assistant director of choral activities. He conducts the Camerata Singers and teaches graduate choral literature and undergraduate choral conducting. He received a bachelor's degree from Drake University, a master's from the University of Missouri and doctorate from the UI. His interest in Estonian choral music led to a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research on that country's national song festivals. For more information visit

Swanson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1994 after an extensive European operatic career that encompassed 91 roles in opera, operetta and musicals. He has sung on German, Austrian and Dutch radio broadcasts and has been a featured soloist in numerous European festivals. For more information visit

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),