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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 19, 2010

University of Iowa Choir and Orchestra performs Bach's Christmas Oratorio

The University of Iowa Choir and Orchestra, under the direction of Timothy Stalter, will perform J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio in a free event at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The vocal soloists will be faculty member David Puderbaugh (tenor/Evangelist); graduate students Jacqueline Lang (soprano), Gretchen Bruesehoff (soprano) and Jason Mallory (baritone); and undergraduate Holly Patch (alto).

Bach wrote the oratorio -- now considered among the finest of his large-scale works -- for performance during the Christmas season of 1734, when it was premiered in the Saint Nicholas and Saint Thomas churches in Leipzig in a series of feast-day performances beginning on Christmas Day and continuing through Epiphany, Jan. 6, 1735.

After those performances the work was neglected for more than a century: the next performance occurred during the Christmas season of 1857 in Berlin. And now it is a standard part of the holiday musical repertoire.

The oratorio's six parts, which include music that Bach wrote previously, create a narrative of major events in the Gospels concerning the nativity of Jesus, including the visitations of the shepherds and the Three Wise Men and the flight to Egypt.

Stalter (photo, left) is the director of choral activities for the UI School of Music. Read his bio at

The School of Music is a unit of the UI Division of Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, University News Services, 319-430-1013,