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CONCERT OF MUSIC BY UI STUDENTS DEC. 6 -- The Composers Workshop at the University of Iowa School of Music will present a concert of new works by five student composers at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec.6 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, featuring student performers from the School of Music, will be free and open to the public.

The Composers Workshop is a collaborative project between composers and performers in the UI School of Music. It is devoted to the performance of music written at the UI and aims to foster greater cooperation and interplay between composers and performers in the Iowa City area.

The pieces on the Dec. 6 program call for a variety of performing media, from small instrumental ensembles, to voice and piano to mixed choir.

Doctoral composition student Evangelia Kikou is represented on the program by two pieces: "Lied" (Song) for mezzo-soprano and piano and "Notias" for mixed choir.

"Wheat Fields" by senior composition student Michael Cash is scored for oboe and the non-standard string quartet of violin, viola, cello and bass.

Eric Durian is a senior composition major. His "Availa" for flute and clarinet was written in 1997. The name is taken from a small beachfront town in California where the composer spent some time and where the ideas for the piece began taking shape.

Graduate composition student J. J. Hudson wrote "Vicious Triangles" for an instrumental trio of oboe, flute and clarinet. It was composed for the centennial celebration of Elizabeth Hall Chapel, a performance hall on the campus of Stetson University in Deland, Fla.

"The Flames Unveil the Cinders" by senior composition major Demian Bourne is a single movement for two pianos. The composer says that in his work, "one after another, chords unfold, accumulate, are overwhelmed and gratuitously annihilated."

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SCOTT ANDERSON READS DEC. 7 -- Correspondent Scott Anderson will read from his new book, "Triage," at 8 p.m. Dec. 7 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Anderson's new novel tells the story of a war correspondent's harrowing, traumatic experiences during the recent fighting in Kurdestan.

"Only an experienced war reporter would have this story inside him, and only a first rate writer would know how to tell it. Anderson is a rare combination of both," observes Sebastian Junger, author of "A Perfect Storm."

The reading will be broadcast live on radio stations WSUI am 910 and WOI AM 640 as part of the "Live from Prairie Lights" series.

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JAZZ LAB BAND DEC. 7 -- The Jazz Lab Band from the University of Iowa School of Music will perform a concert of big-band jazz, including works of composers Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Thad Jones at 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The band, which is directed by graduate student Mike Giles, has the full big-band instrumentation of large reed and horn sections, plus a rhythm section of drums, bass and piano.

A part of the instructional program of the jazz area in the UI School of Music, the band aims to give student performers experience in a wide variety of big-band jazz styles. The Dec. 7 program will reflect that diversity, with pieces from the swing era up to contemporary jazz.

Works on the program will include Ellington's "Rain Check"; Thad Jones' "Greetings and Salutations," featuring the rhythm section; Bill Holman's version of "Lush Life," with trumpet soloist Michael Cord; "Gentle Piece" by Kenny Wheeler; and Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser," as arranged by Quincy Jones.

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STEEL BANDS CONCERT DEC. 8 -- Two steel bands from the University of Iowa School of Music will share the program of a free concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The two groups -- the Steel Pan Ensemble, directed by UI graduate student Tim Shaw, and the UI Steel Band, directed by School of Music faculty member Dan Moore -- will play a combination of traditional Caribbean tunes and contemporary pieces for steel drums.

The steel pans, or steel drums as they are variously known, are actually 55-gallon oil barrels that have been carefully crafted into tuned musical instruments. Originating on the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, these tuned drums have a remarkable timbre that is immediately recognizable as a Caribbean sound. They characteristically play the infectious Calypso, Soca and Reggae music of the West Indies, as well as Afro-Cuban, American pop and other styles -- even including arrangements of classical music.

Starting as a single volunteer group in 1994, the UI steel band has grown to the point that the percussion area of the UI School of Music now maintains the two complete steel bands that will play on the Dec. 8 concert. The Steel Pan Ensemble is open by audition to any student at the UI. It serves as a training ensemble to the UI Steel Band, which consists of percussion majors in the School of Music and other outstanding percussion students. The UI Steel Band performs throughout Iowa.

For their joint concert, the Steel Pan Ensemble will play "Rant and Rave" by Christopher "Tambu" Herbert; "Both of Them" by the Caribbean artist known as "The Mighty Sparrow"; "The Proposal," a traditional tune: and Bob Marley's "Jammin'."

The UI Steel Band will play David Rudder's "Bahia Girl"; "Steelband Paradise" by Ray Holman; "Beat 70" by American jazz star Pat Metheny; "Sly Mongoose," a traditional steel-pan tune; "Little Linda" by Jay Beckenstein of the pop-jazz group Spyrogyra: and the traditional "Mary Ann."

An internationally known percussionist, composer and teacher, Moore has experience from concert to marching percussion, and from jazz to classical styles. Performing all aspects of percussion, including keyboard, drum set, ethnic instruments and multi-percussion, Moore is considered a "total percussionist."

Since 1985 Moore has toured as a member of the Britain/Moore Duo, an acoustic/electronic mix of marimba, steel pans and percussion. Their CD "Cricket City" was described by a critic as "a brilliant collage of pan-marimba music."

Shaw is a UI graduate assistant in percussion. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, he specializes in steel drums and ethnic music. He teaches percussion in the Music Therapy program and also teaches percussion at Cornell College, where is an advisor to their steel band.

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UNIVERSITY AND CONCERT BANDS DEC. 9 -- The University and Concert Bands from the University of Iowa School of Music will present their fall semester concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus. The concert will be free and open to the public.

Two of the large wind ensembles at the School of Music, the University and Concert Bands are open to all students at the UI. Both groups are filled by audition.

The Concert Band will be directed by UI graduate assistant Scott Lubaroff. They will play the "Suite Francaise" by Darius Milhaud; "Celebrations" by John Zdechlik; "La Fiesta Mexicana" by H. Owen Reed; Prelude by Dmitri Shostakovich; and "Little English Girl" by Delle Cese.

The University Band will be directed by graduate assistant Andrew Mast. They will play "Flourish for Wind Band" by Ralph Vaughan-Williams; Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo by Malcolm Arnold; an arrangement of the piano piece "Country Gardens" by Percy Grainger; "Nimrod" from the "Enigma" Variations by Edward Elgar; and "Pageant" by Vincent Persichetti.

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MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM READS DEC. 10 -- Novelist Michael Cunningham, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from his new book, "Hours," at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 in Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

His new book focuses on the passion and genius of Virginia Woolf. Publisher's Weekly says "the gargantuan accomplishment of this small book is that it makes a reader believe in the possibility and depth of a communality based on great literature, literature that has shown people how to live and what to ask."

Cunningham is also the author of the national bestseller "Flesh and Blood."

The reading will be broadcast live on radio stations WSUI AM 910 and WOI AM 640 as part of the "Live from Prairie Lights" series.

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GREGORIAN CHANT PERFORMANCE DEC. 10 -- Cantores, a singing group specializing in the performance of Gregorian chant, will present a free concert of music for Advent at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec.10 in Old Brick, 26 East Market St. in Iowa City. The performance, which will be free and open to the public, is sponsored by the University of Iowa School of Music and Lutheran Campus Ministries.

Cantores consists of seven singers, including faculty and students of the UI School of Music. The group is directed by Martin Jenni, a UI professor of composition and music theory.

Advent, from the Latin word for "the coming," is the month-long season immediately preceding Christmas in the Christian liturgical calendar. For the Dec. 10 performance, Cantores will sing settings of the Latin scriptures used during Sunday and weekday Mass during the Advent season.

The music will be grouped by the subject matter of the texts, representing major themes that recur throughout Advent. Thus, one group of chants refers to the promise of a Redeemer found in the Hebrew prophets, while another has to do with the imminence of the birth of Jesus. The music of the chants ranges from simple recitation formulas to complex compositions that contrast florid choral melodies with solo chants.

Cantores was founded by Jenni in 1979. They perform using a form of chant notation developed in the 10th century at the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. They perform in many venues in Eastern Iowa, both sacred and secular. In 1990 they produced a cassette recording, "The Wisdom of the Saints," and more recently, they completed a CD, "The Cistercian Night Office for the Solemnity of the Visitation."

Jenni has a master's degree in medieval studies from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in composition from Stanford. Since joining the UI faculty in 1968 he has composed several works for the UI Center for New Music, the University Symphony and members of the music faculty.

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WRITERS READ FROM NEW WAPSIPINICON ALMANAC DEC. 11 -- Writers who contributed to the new issue of the Wapsipinicon Almanac will read from their work at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 in the Prairie Lights bookstore, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series, originating on University of Iowa radio station WSUI, AM 910.

Among the readers will be Steve Maravetz, Gary Eller, Will Thomson and Raymond Tinnian. Their work is featured in the new issue of the Wapsipinicon Almanac, which is hand-set by editor/publisher Tim Fay at his Route 3 Press in rural Anamosa.

The new 160-page issue, which is available at Prairie Lights and other stores in eastern Iowa, includes essays, reviews, regional news, stories, poems and entries reminiscent of old-time almanacs.

The reading will be free and open to the public.

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ART OF THE MONTH, DEC. 12 -- Missy Giado Allen, a University of Iowa doctoral student at the School of Art and Art History, will present a lecture, "Minimalism, or Against Abstract Expressionism, Part Two," at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 in the UI Museum of Art.

Allen's lecture, which is free and open to the public, is the final in a series of four sessions in the museum's current Art of the Month mini-course, "Modern Art in America 1920-1970."

This series of talks has used works from current exhibitions in the museum and works from the museum's permanent collection to explore movements within 20th-century American art. Art of the Month has been coordinated by Allen and Gwen Robertson, also a doctoral student in the UI School of Art and Art History.

Participation in the course is free and open to the public. New participants are welcome at each Art of the Month session.

In a continuation of a theme she explored in the third Art of the Month session in November, Allen will review the reaction in the 1960s against Abstract Expressionism. She will discuss the aesthetics of American minimalism of the 1960s and its predecessors by using examples from Sol Lewitt, Ad Reinhardt and others from the museum's permanent collection.

Allen said, "Minimalism, first referred to by critics as 'image-less pop,' was created in New York City by a group of artists who worked separately, but shared the common goal of removing all aesthetic content from their work. The object of the minimalist artist was to elicit no emotional response to their artwork whatsoever.

"In this presentation, I plan to use works from the museum's permanent collection, mostly sculpture and works on paper, to show how minimalism can be seen as working along with pop art in the 1960s as a way of altering the artistic landscape."

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive, and adjacent to the UI Alumni Center, which is just north of the museum.