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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 14, 2009

Hancher presents world premiere event with Imani Winds, Stefon Harris Sept. 25

imani windWoodwind quintet Imani Winds (left) and vibraphonist and composer Stefon Harris will join forces as the Hancher season gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, at City High School in Iowa City. The musicians will present the world premiere of Harris' new work, "The Anatomy of a Box: a sonic painting in wood, metal and wind."

Imani (Swahili for "faith") Winds is a Grammy-winning ensemble comprised of musicians of color committed to overturning conventional stereotypes about the nature of chamber music and its practitioners. The members -- flutist Valerie Coleman, oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz, clarinetist Mariam Adam, French hornist Jeff Scott and bassoonist Monica Ellis -- are equally respected for their virtuosity and on-stage charisma.

harrisHarris (right), who has appeared in recent years on the Hancher stage and at the Iowa City Jazz Festival, is a musical explorer, eager to bring his jazz sensibilities to the woodwind quintet.

"This work is a live demonstration of a sonic painting in which we experiment with blending the textures of our instruments," Harris said. "We will blur the lines between improvisation and composition, and in turn between classical and jazz, by introducing improvisation to the woodwind quintet."

Harris' piece, co-commissioned by Hancher via the consortium known as Music Accord, is a part of Imani Winds' Legacy Commission Project. The project commemorates the ensemble's 10th anniversary through the commissioning of 10 compositions by established and emerging composers of color.

Imani Winds will also perform two pieces composed by members of the ensemble -- "Red Clay Mississippi Delta" by Coleman and "Homage to Duke" by Scott -- as well as Quintette by Jean Francaix.

In the days leading up to the City High performance, Imani Winds will also participate in several residency activities, all open to the public:

--Wednesday, Sept. 23, 6 to 7:30 p.m.: Welcome reception hosted by the UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment and the African American Council, African American Cultural Center, 303 Melrose Ave. RSVP by Sept. 21 to
--Thursday, Sept. 24, 4:30 to 5:20 p.m.: Discussion with music students with the location to be determined; Check the Hancher Web site for details.
--Thursday, Sept. 24, 8 p.m.: Performance at downtown Java House, 2111/2 East Washington Street.

The performance and residency are supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and by Rockwell Collins.

Tickets are $28/23; UI student $25.20/10; senior citizen $25.20/20.70; and youth $19.60/16.10 from the Hancher Box Office.

The Hancher Box Office, now located on the first floor of the south end of the Old Capitol Town Center near the parking ramp, is open for phone at 319-335-1160 or 800-HANCHER, or walk-up business from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Tickets may be ordered online at Any remaining tickets will be available for sale one hour before show time at City High.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Rob Cline, Hancher Auditorium, 319-335-3827,; Steve Parrott, University Relations, 319-384-0037,