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Release: Immediate

Guest artists will headline UI Center for New Music concert Dec. 7

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Performances by guest pianist Anthony Infanti and half a program devoted to guest composer Noel Zahler will be featured on a free concert presented by the University of Iowa Center for New Music at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Other featured performers will include UI School of Music faculty members Rene Lecuona and Sergey Schepkin, piano, and Kristin Thelander, horn. David Gompper, director of the Center for New Music and head of the composition area at the School of Music, will conduct.

Thelander and Lecuona will open the concert with Margaret Brouwer's Sonata for horn and piano, completed last year. Completing the first half of the concert, Infanti will play six of the Etudes for piano of Polish composer Gyorgy Ligeti.

The second half of the concert will comprise two works by Zahler: the piano trio, performed by a graduate student ensemble of Andrew Carlson, violin; Jacqueline Emery, cello; and Jonathan Kramer, piano; and "Harlequin" for piano and chamber orchestra, conducted by Gompper, with Schepkin as the featured soloist.

A distinguished scholar as well as a composer, Zahler is professor of music and director of the Cummings Electronic and Digital Sound Studio at Connecticut College. His scholarly writings include articles in the "New Grove Dictionary of Music" and the "New Grove Dictionary of Music in the United States," a new critical edition of Charles Ives' "The Unanswered Question," and numerous articles on music theory and composition, artificial intelligence and computer music.

His compositional work has earned him grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fulbright/Hayes Fellowship, two McDowell Colony Fellowships and other awards. His works have been performed throughout the United States and have been featured on recordings on the OPUS ONE and Neuma labels.

"Harlequin" is a one-movement work composed in 1981 for pianist Rebecca LaBreque. It is named for the commedia dell'arte character who, the composer explains, "conjures up an individual whose actions, be they romantic or otherwise, were rarely requited. So it goes with my composition.

"In one sense it is a search for the 'lost chord' -- a harmonic experiment that thrashes about looking for, but never really finding a path to rest. On the other hand it is a struggle between grand gestures of the 19th century and a language that is every bit a part of the 20th century."

An ardent proponent of new music, Infanti has participated in numerous international festivals in France, Hungary and the United States. He is co-founder of the Sensua Ensemble, a group that performs unusual repertoire for multiple pianos. He is currently recording the complete Ligeti piano Etudes for Neuma records.

One of the leading composers of the mid- and late 20th century, Ligeti began writing his piano studies in 1985 as birthday gift for the influential French composer/conductor Pierre Boulez. The first book of six etudes won the Grawenmeyer Award in 1986. A second book of eight etudes was written between 1988 and 1994, and two more have been completed since. Ligeti has acknowledged multiple influences in these works, including the complex polyrhythmic works for player piano of Conlon Nancarrow, sub-Saharan drumming, patterns in fractal geometry and the great tradition of piano etudes from Scarlatti to Chopin and Debussy.

Gompper has received numerous awards for his academic and musical achievements, including the Charles E. Ives Prize for composition from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a Composers Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His "Transitus" was premiered at Carnegie Hall and his "Flip" was premiered by the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra.

Active as both soloist and chamber musician, Thelander is a member of the Iowa Brass Quintet. During the summer she performs with the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Ore. Previously she was on the music faculty at the University of New Mexico, and she was a member of the New Mexico Brass Quintet, the Santa Fe Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony and the Four Corners Opera Festival in Durango, Colo.

Lecuona has given solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, as well as in South America and the Caribbean. As an Artistic Ambassador for the United States, she has given concerts and master classes in Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and Trinidad and Tobago. She has also performed solo recitals and given master classes at many universities in Brazil.

The newest member of the UI piano faculty, Schepkin has appeared with the St. Petersburg (formerly the Leningrad) Philharmonic, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Norwegian Broadcasting Symphony and other orchestras. He has performed throughout Russia, Europe and the United States, including appearances at St. John's College, Oxford University, in England; the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland; the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C; and Jordan Hall in Boston.

In addition to numerous solo performances, Schepkin has performed chamber music with many leading artists, including Julius Baker, James Buswell, Walter Trampler and Masuko Ushioda.