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Release: April 2, 1999

NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Gwozdz is pronounced "Gwodes" (rhymes with "odes").

Saxophonist Lawrence Gwozdz, UI alumnus, will perform new music April 14

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Saxophonist Lawrence Gwozdz, who received a doctorate in musical performance from the University of Iowa School of Music, will return to Iowa City to present a guest recital at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 14in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Gwozdz, whose New York debut recital was praised in Musical America for "extraordinary performance of contemporary music," will play four relatively new pieces on the program -- three from the 1990s and one from 1980. The performance will be free and open to the public.

Appearing with Gwozdz will be pianist Thomas Karl Loehrke and violinist Miki Yuasa, both graduate students in the UI School of Music.

Gwozdz has achieved an international reputation as a performer by aiming to reveal qualities of the saxophone that he believes were originally intended by Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the instrument. Performing in major cities and festivals in Europe and North America, he has earned praise for his beautiful tone quality and a subtlety of expression.

A Fanfare magazine review of his CD "An American Tribute to Sigurd Rascher" noted, "It would be impossible to praise the performers too highly. Lawrence Gwozdz is an extraordinary saxophonist, bringing out a tremendous range of colors and effects in his instrument." American Record Guide added, "Lovers of the saxophone will be pleased."

His latest CD, "Rascher International," has just been released by Albany Records.

As professor of saxophone at the University of Southern Mississippi, Gwozdz is a highly successful teacher. His students perform around the country as soloists, in quartets and in a saxophone chamber orchestra, and they are frequent winners of competitions. Having been born with spina bifida, Gwozdz is also an advocate for arts for the handicapped and Very Special Arts.

At the UI he studied with Ronald Tyree. His other teachers have included Robert Fought, Laurence Wyman, Sigurd Rascher and Jean-Marie Londeix.

The works on the April 14 performance will be "Angels" by Stephen Suber, composed in 1994; "Lento drammatico" from 1994 by Zdenek Lukas; "Transfluent Forms" for violin, alto saxophone from 1980 by Armand Russell; and Stephen Dankner's 1997 Sonata for alto saxophone and piano.

Lukas' "Lento drammatico" was written for Gwozdz's New York debut recital. The piece has a mournful and mysterious character, ending with a surge into the extreme high range of the instrument. New York Concert Review praised Gwozdz's performance, adding that "the work stood out for its harmonic originality and boldness of conception."

Dankner's Sonata was also written for Gwozdz. In up-to-the-minute fashion, the score is the direct result of e-mail communication between performer and composer. Gwozdz programmed the Sonata for his European tour in September 1997, only four months after the piece was finished. Dankner did not hear a performance until December, when Gwozdz gave the U.S. premiere in New Orleans.

The critic for the New Orleans Times-Picayune wrote, "Dankner creates intrigue; the audience can't quite tell what is coming next, but is delighted when it does come. Concise -- it is only about 22 minutes long -- but tightly filled with interesting musical ideas, it is a piece I hope to hear again soon."

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