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Release: Immediate

Prize-winning organist Stewart Wayne Foster will play UI recital March 6

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Stewart Wayne Foster, the winner of the largest competition prize ever awarded to an organist, will present a free recital spanning several centuries of organ music at 8 p.m. Friday, March 6 in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus.

Foster won the 1997 Dallas International Organ Competition. In fact, not only did he win the top prize awarded by the international panel of judges, but the audience also voted to give him the "Prize of the Audience."

Foster has pleased critics as well as audiences. When he performed at a music festival in St. Yrieix, France, he was described in the press as "a young musician who already exhibits a seductive flair that will permit him to rapidly take his place among the top in his field."

For his March 6 concert, Foster will show his versatility playing works from the Baroque period to the 20th century. The program will feature works by great organist/composers J.S. Bach, Marcel Dupre and Leo Sowerby. He will play some little known organ works by Robert Schumann, and most unexpectedly, he will conclude the program with his own arrangements of music by Frederic Chopin.

The complete program will be:

--"Grand Dialogue" (Third Book) by the 18th-century French organist/composer Louis Marchand;

--J.S. Bach's organ arrangement of the Violin Concerto No. 5 in D minor from "L'Estro Armonico" by Antonio Vivaldi;

--"Requiescat in Pace" by 20th-century American composer Leo Sowerby;

--"Amazing Grace" and "Haec Dies Resurgam" by Robert Hebble, a former organ teacher of Foster;

--"Preludio" from the Second Symphony for organ of French composer Marcel Dupre;

--Four Sketches for organ by Robert Schumann; and

--Foster's arrangements of two etudes by Chopin.

A native of Melbourne Fla., Foster completed high school by age 17, at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. After graduating from the Stetson University School of Music in DeLand, Fla., in 1990 he traveled to France, where he was one of two applicants accepted for organ study at L'Ecole Normale Superieure de Musique de Paris. At the end of one year's study he received both a concert diploma and the first prize for virtuosity, and he spent several years performing in Paris and the French provinces. In 1995 Foster returned to the United States to pursue a master's degree in harpsichord and early music at the University of North Texas in Denton.

The Dallas competition is the largest -- but far from the only -- prize Foster has won. Beginning a string of competition successes in Iowa, he won the 1986 Undergraduate Organ Playing Competition sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church in Ottumwa. That was followed by a series of awards in competitions, including first prizes in the 1987 American Guild of Organists Regional Competition in Augusta, Ga., and the 1996 William Hall Pipe Organ Competition in San Antonio.

With his win in the Dallas competition, Foster will be featured as orchestral soloist and solo recitalist in appearances in concert halls and churches throughout the United States. In addition to his career as recitalist, Foster is director of music and organist of First Christian Church in Denton, Texas.