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Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: April 2, 1999

(NOTE TO EDITORS: The media representative for the Theatre of Voices is California Artists

Management: phone 415-362-2787; fax 415-362-2838; e-mail

Theatre of Voices performs 'Hispanic Music from the Old and New Worlds' April 20 at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Hancher Auditorium will present Paul Hillier's Theatre of Voices performing "Hispanic Music from the Old and New Worlds" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 20 in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus.

Hillier and the ensemble will present a master class for the UI School of Music at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 19 in the UI Voxman Music Building. The public is invited to observe the master class free of charge.

The program includes a-cappella vocal music from the 12th through the 16th centuries in manuscripts composed and performed both in Spain and in the Spanish colonies of the New World. The program includes both sacred and secular compositions.

The composers represented include Hernando Franco, who was born in Spain but worked in Guatemala and Mexico City; Pedro Bermudez, who also emigrated to "New Spain"; and Francico de Penalosa, who was associated with the Seville Cathedral, but whose works survived in manuscripts in both Spain and Guatemala. The program will include selections from the Codex las Huelgas, an important manuscript compiled in Spain around 1300 and containing compositions in all the known styles of the 12th and 13th centuries.

The second half of the program is music of the Spanish cancioneros (song books), written at a time of stability under the rule of Ferdinand and Isabella after the end of Muslim rule and the discovery of America. The royal court supported creative life, resulting in an outpouring of sophisticated music with a distinctly Spanish flavor.

Baritone/bass Paul Hillier won international acclaim as the founder and artistic director of the celebrated male a-cappella vocal group the Hilliard Ensemble. The Hilliard Ensemble is renowned for performances and recordings ranging from early music to the work of contemporary composers including Arvo Part and Gavin Bryars.

In 1989 Hillier began searching for a way to expand into different styles of singing and to incorporate women's voices. His Theatre of Voices is a flexible corps of both male and female singers who perform medieval and Renaissance music, as well as compositions of the 20th century.

The Theatre of Voices has performed in prominent international venues including the Opera de la Bastille in Paris, the Schauspielhaus Berlin, the Frick Collection and Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and on Minnesota Public Radio's nationally syndicated program "St. Paul Sunday."

Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices were the subject of a series of six radio shows produced by Washington's " Millennium of Music," and the BBC program "Behind the Masque" presented an in-depth interview and biography of Hillier that was broadcast in the fall 1996.

The Theatre of Voices records extensively for harmonia mundi USA where its recordings of medieval and renaissance music have enjoyed popular success. An American Record Guide review stated, "Theatre of Voices produce the kind of soft-grained and angelic choral sound I could listen to until the Book with Seven Seals is broken."

The Theatre of Voices is headquartered in Bloomington, Ind., where Hillier is director of the Early Music Institute at the Indiana University School of Music.

Hillier began his career in the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, and he also became a member of the Queen's Chapel Royal at Windsor Castle before founding the Hilliard Ensemble.

Throughout the '80s and early '90s Hillier divided time between England and the United States, including teaching posts at the University of California in Santa Cruz, Amherst College and the University of California at Davis. He moved to Indiana University in 1996.

A Grammy nominee and the winner of two Edison Prizes in the Netherlands, Hillier is also active as a solo singer specializing in medieval lyrics, and he appears frequently as a guest conductor with choirs worldwide. He wrote a book about Estonian composer Arvo Part, has edited the writing of American composer Steve Reich, and has published several anthologies of choral music.

In recent years he has collaborated with a variety of musicians, including the Kronos Quartet, Bobby McFerrin, Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Cambridge Place Apartments is the corporate sponsor of the Theatre of Voices events at the UI through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets for the Theatre of Voices at $20 ($16 for UI students and senior citizens, and $10 for youth) from the Hancher Auditorium box office.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

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