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Release: Immediate

UI Kantorei will present program of choral music March 2

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Kantorei, the premiere vocal ensemble of the University of Iowa School of Music, will present a program of 20th-century choral music at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 2, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert will be conducted by William Hatcher, the director of choral activities at the UI School of Music, and will be free and open to the public.

There will be four works on the program: the Requiem of Herbert Howells, "Meditations of Li Po" by Stephen Paulus, "I Hate and I Love" by Dominick Argento, and "Tres Canciones Negras" (Three black songs) by Bassols Xavier Montsalvatge.

Four graduate student soloists will be featured in the Howells Requiem: soprano Jennifer White, alto Sarah Boe, tenor David Belles and baritone J.R. Endress. White will also be soloist for the "Meditations of Li Po," and mezzo soprano Katherine Pracht, an undergraduate in the School of Music, will sing a solo in one of the Montsalvatge songs. Percussionists Jennifer Damian and Tom Keck will be featured in Argento's "I Hate and I Love." Keck is a graduate student in the School of Music and Damian an undergraduate.

British composer Howells wrote his Requiem in 1936 after his 9-year-old son died of spinal meningitis. After completing the work, however, Howells thought it would be too painful for him to hear, so he did not allow it to be published or known to the public until 1980.

Stephen Paulus, who studied composition at the University of Minnesota with Dominick Argento, is one of the most active and successful American composers today. His "Meditations of Li Po," settings of works by the 8th-century Chinese poet, was written in 1984. The texts reflect Li Po's reputation for intellectual pursuits and an unconcern for worldly things.

A composer who belongs to no ideology or modernist "school," Dominick Argento is known principally for his lyrical vocal writing, particularly in his many successful operas. "I Hate and I Love" are settings of free translations of the "Liber Catulli Veronensis" by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus, written around 60 B.C.

Spanish/Catalan composer Bassols Xavier Montsalvatge wrote his "Tres Canciones Negras" as solo songs in 1946. Based on West Indian texts, they became widely known in Spain, and Montsalvatge arranged them for mixed chorus in 1993.

Hatcher has served as director of choral activities at the UI School of Music since 1988. He directs the graduate choral conducting program, conducts choral ensembles in the School of Music and frequently appears as music director of productions by the UI Opera Theater.

He was national president of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) 1991-93 and was chair of the 1991 ACDA national convention. Prior to coming to Iowa he taught at UCLA, the University of Washington and Pasadena City College.

In the fall of 1996, Kantorei participated in an International Choral Competition in Tolosa, Spain. Prior to that honor, his UI Kantorei was one of only five choirs chosen to participate in the 1994 World Choral Festival in Seoul, South Korea, where they presented concerts over an eight-day period.

In 1990 Kantorei performed the Mozart "Requiem" with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and other orchestras in the former Soviet Union and also gave concerts in Russia, Estonia and Finland. Kantorei has also performed for regional and national conventions of the ACDA in 1992 and 1993.

Hatcher's concert tours with other collegiate ensembles have included Europe, Greece, the British Isles, Canada, Hawaii and the western United States. In 1985 his UCLA choir was selected as the sole U.S. representative and was a prize winner at the International Competition for Choirs in Spittal, Austria. Hatcher was also coordinator and assistant director of the 1000-voice Olympic Honor Chorus, which sang for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, an event telecast to more than two billion people worldwide.

Hatcher has published materials on choral skills and choral arrangements, and he appears frequently as a choral clinician and festival choir director.

Hatcher is assisted in the preparation of Kantorei concerts by assistant conductor Dirk Garner and accompanist Shawn Kirchner, graduate students in the School of Music.

For more information on this event, call (319) 335-1667.