The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

NOTE TO EDITORS: Please note that the performance time for the concert on April 7 differs from that given in calendars and other publications provided by Arts Center Relations, and all other previous listings. The time in the release -- 8 p.m. -- is correct. The previously announced time of 7:30 p.m. has changed due to changes in the planned internet connection for the performance. Please make note of this change, and if possible, incorporate the correct time into all calendars and event listings.

UI School of Music performance will feature simultaneous world premiere April 7

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A nationwide simultaneous world premiere and a University of Iowa faculty ensemble playing a 20th-century masterpiece will be two parts of a single unusual program for a free concert beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 7 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

For the premiere, the UI will be one of nine colleges and universities around the United States presenting simultaneous world premiere performances of "Sea Dreams," a concerto for two horns and winds by composer David Maslanka. The premiere, part of an unusual collaborative project, will be presented on the UI campus by the University of Iowa Chamber Wind Ensemble, conductor Myron Welch and horn soloists Kristin Thelander and Jack Herrick.

An innovative and somewhat experimental aspect of the premiere will be the live broadcast of the audio from each of the nine performances through a worldwide web site at Arizona State University, at the URL <>. The premiere of "Sea Dreams" is scheduled to begin at approximately the same time in all locations, 9:30 Eastern Standard Time, or 8:30 at the UI.

Prior to the UI performance of "Sea Dreams," Welch will conduct members of the UI School of Music faculty in a performance of "Suite -- Histoire du Soldat" (The Soldier's Tale), an influential 1918 composition by Igor Stravinsky, considered one of the 20th century's most important composers.

Performing "The Soldier's Tale" will be School of Music faculty members Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet; Richard Lottridge, bassoon; David Greenhoe, trumpet; David Gier, trombone; Daniel Moore, percussion; Leopold La Fosse, violin; and Diana Gannett, string bass. Welch is director of bands at the UI. Thelander is a member of the School of Music faculty. Herrick, who teaches at the University of Northern Colorado, will perform as a guest artist.

David Maslanka was born in New Bedford, Mass., and studied at the New England Conservatory, the Oberlin Conservatory, the Salzburg Mozarteum and Michigan State University. A member of the music faculty at Kingsborough College of the City University of New York for more than 20 years, he now lives and works in Montana. Several of his works for band have been performed by the UI Symphony Band in the past few years.

"Sea Dreams" grew out of Maslanka's childhood in New Bedford, the whaling port of Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." As the composer explains it, "The sea has been a part of me forever. I was riveted by 'Moby Dick' when I first read it at age 15. The mundane aspects of the book -- the pictures of the varying ocean moods, the minute descriptions of the ship and of whaling gear -- sprang to life for me as powerfully as the titanic struggles with the white whale.

"As I began to think deeply about the concerto for two horns, powerful images of the sea began to side one more time."

Although it is a descriptive piece, inspired by specific thoughts and scenes from the composer's imagination, it is also a concerto in three movements. According to Maslanka, "the first is a double movement with a very serious and intense opening, and a released and joyous conclusion. The opening depicts the great ocean storm and the conclusion, joy in deliverance.

"At the beginning of the second movement I have written in the score the words 'moonlight on the quiet sea.' The third movement parallels the structure of the first. The opening, like its counterpart, is serious and intense -- a message from the heart. Its conclusion is a rousing dance music. Throughout the concerto there is the sense of transformation at work: the movement through terror, loss and death to an exhilarated joy in life."

In addition to the UI, premiere performances will take place at Arizona State University, Florida State University, Ithaca (N.Y.) College, University of Alabama, University of Missouri -- Kansas City, University of North Texas, University of Oregon and Western Michigan University. The nine schools are co-commissioners of the score along with the Interlochen Arts Academy, which will perform "Sea Dreams" later.

When Stravinsky wrote "A Soldier's Tale" in 1918, World War I was at its height. With most of the major cultural institutions in Europe closed down, the composer had the idea of writing a piece that could be played by a small group in modest circumstances. He collaborated with Swiss author C.F. Ramuz on a tale about a soldier who encounters the devil -- in Stravinsky's piece as in many legends, playing a fiendish fiddle -- and undergoes a struggle between good and evil.

The original piece calls for three actors, a female dancer and a 7-piece instrumental ensemble. In this form the first performance was given in Lausanne, Switzerland, Sept. 28, 1918, under the direction of the great Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet. This multi-media version of the score is not performed today as often as the suite -- essentially the main musical numbers separated from the narrative and the dancing.

"The Soldier's Tale" was one of several pieces composed during or immediately after World War I that are considered the beginning of the neo-classical style in music. Some, like "The Soldier's Tale," Stravinsky's "Octet" and Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire," used smaller instrumental groups that led to a generally lighter texture than most music of the pre-war late Romantic style. Others,including Stravinsky's ballet "Pulcinella" -- based on 18th-century piano pieces -- and Prokofiev's "Classical" Symphony, were more overtly inspired by the music of the Classic era in music. Taken together, these pieces represented a move away from the overblown, intensely emotional style of the late Romantic period and led to a major stream of 20th-century music.

Herrick is professor of music at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. He has performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Springs Symphony, Central City Opera and the Western Opera Theatre. Since 1984 he has served as principal hornist with the Colorado Ballet and Denver Chamber Orchestra. For the past 25 summer seasons, he has performed with the Peter Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Oregon, serving as principal horn for the past 17 seasons.

Besides his performances at Britt, Herrick's summer schedule has included the Colorado, Idaho and Sun Valley music festivals and the Four Corners Opera Association. From 1990-1994 he was horn instructor for the International Music Camp held at the Peace Gardens on the border between North Dakota and Manitoba. Since arriving at University of Northern Colorado in 1973, Herrick has made the first recording of the David Amram Concerto for horn and wind orchestra with the UNC Wind Ensemble and has performed as soloist with all the major performing ensembles on the UNC campus.

Thelander joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1989. Active as both soloist and chamber musician, she 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.

Thelander was the first prize-winner in the 1981 American Horn Competition, and she has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, South Korea and the People's Republic of China. She has been a featured artist at many regional and international horn workshops in recent years. Her research on horn music of the early 19th century led to her interest in performing on the valveless natural horn of that period. Her first solo recording featuring early 19th-century music for natural horn and fortepiano was released in 1992 by Crystal Records.

Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980. In addition to conducting the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, Welch teaches courses in instrumental methods and conducting and is coordinator of the Iowa Honor Band and the All-State Music Camp. Prior to joining the UI faculty he was director of bands and coordinator of music education at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Michigan State University and a doctorate in music education from the University of Illinois.

Welch is past president of the American Bandmasters Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters Association. He is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with bands throughout the Midwest.