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Release: Immediate

Hancher musical co-commission grabbed two Grammy Awards Feb. 26

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- John Corigliano's String Quartet, a work that was co-commissioned by the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium, won Grammy Awards for Corigliano and the Cleveland Quartet. The Grammy Award ceremony was held in New York's Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

The score of the Corigliano String Quartet won in the Classical Contemporary Composition category, and the Cleveland Quartet's performance of the work on their "Farewell Recording" released on the Telarc label won in the Chamber Album Category.

Hancher, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois, San Francisco Performances and the University of Texas at Austin commissioned Corigliano's String Quartet for performance on the Cleveland Quartet's farewell tour in the fall on 1995. The quartet, with Iowa City native William Preucil Jr. playing first violin, performed the Corigliano composition in their Oct. 30, 1995, Hancher concert, sponsored by Blank and McCune, the Real Estate Company.

Funds for Hancher's co-commission came from the auditorium's annual giving program, known as Hancher Circle, through the University of Iowa Foundation. So the commissioning of the piece was a direct result of the financial contributions of Hancher's individual and business supporters.

Hancher director Wallace Chappell said, "Commissioning new art is always a risk. But this is a risk that is not only worth taking, but also one we must take if creativity is to flourish. Sometimes we have successes, like our collaborations with the Joffrey Ballet, the Kronos Quartet and Bill T. Jones, sometimes we fall flat on our face, and hopefully there's a lot of room between those extremes. The Grammy Awards won by Corigliano and the Cleveland Quartet mark this UI commission as one of our successes, and they also provide validation for the creative process to which we are so deeply committed."

Corigliano has been widely recognized as one of the leading composers of our time in the classical tradition. He won the 1991 Grawemeyer Award -- music's Nobel Prize -- and he achieved a dazzling success with "Ghosts of Versailles," the first new Metropolitan Opera commission in 25 years. Corigliano was selected as Musical America's 1992 Composer of the Year.

Corigliano wrote that as he composed his first string quartet he was continuously aware that "I was writing for one of the greatest of all quartets, the Cleveland Quartet, and that they were presenting this work during their farewell tour before disbanding. The idea of an ensemble such as this playing for the last time surely colored the emotional palette of my quartet with a feeling of farewell."