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Release: Immediate

UI Hancher Auditorium wins commissioning grant for 1999-2000 Millennium Festival

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium has been awarded a grant of nearly $15,000 from Chamber Music America (CMA) to commission a composition that will be premiered as part of the auditorium's Millennium Festival in the 1999-2000 season.

The grant of $14,900 will be used to commission a trio for piano, violin and cello by American composer Paul Schoenfield for performances by the Ahn Trio in Hancher and at Luther College in Decorah, the Pella Opera House, the Burlington Civic Music Association and the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana (PASA) in Louisiana.

The Ahn Trio is one of the three ensembles that will participate in an innovative Iowa networking initiative funded by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. The partners in the three-year audience-development program are Hancher Auditorium, the Center for Faith and Life at Luther College, the Pella Opera House and the Burlington Civic Music Association.

The commission represents Hancher's first partnership with PASA, a presenting organization located in Lafayette, La.

The commission was prompted by the November 1996 Hancher performance of Schoenfield's "Tales from Chelm" by the Everest Quartet. Schoenfield came to Iowa City for the performance, participated in a symposium discussion and met with students and faculty in the composition area of the UI School of Music.

Schoenfield is emerging as a major voice in contemporary music, renowned for accessible compositions that reflect a wide variety of classical, popular and folk influences. Three of his works are being premiered in 1998 by ensembles including the Haifa Symphony Orchestra with the Oslo Gospel Choir, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Dale Warland Singers and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Hancher's Millennium Festival will feature a dozen major commissions and premieres in a season that will explore the state of the arts at the turn of the millennium.

The grant is part of CMA's national "Musical Celebration of the Millennium," which involves 31 arts presenters in all parts of the country. CMA is providing support for concerts, residencies, commissions and educational programs, with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation, the Susan W. Rose Fund for Music, the Helen F. Whitaker Fund and the CMA Endowment Fund.