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UI Percussion Ensemble participates in 'Days of Percussion,' celebrates new CD Feb. 15

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Percussion Ensemble and its director, Dan Moore will celebrate the release of "Percussion Pops 2000," the group's new CD recording, with a free concert featuring music from the CD and guest performances by percussionist Matt Wilson at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Also featured on the performance will be legendary percussionist Dick Schory as a guest conductor and guest soloist Brent Sandy on trumpet.

The concert will be part of "Day of Percussion," a two-day event Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 15-16 that will be attended by percussionists from throughout Iowa.

In addition to Monday's concert, "Day of Percussion" will include panel discussions and workshops for percussionists to be held in the Voxman Music Building throughout the day on Tuesday, Feb. 16. A highlight will be a percussion master class by percussionist Evelyn Glennie at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Opera Rehearsal Room of the Voxman Music Building.

Glennie's master class and other events of the "Day of Percussion" will be open to interested members of the public free of charge. Glennie will also play on a concert with the Japanese traditional-instrument ensemble Pro Musica Nipponia Tuesday evening at Hancher Auditorium.

The complete title of the UI Percussion Ensemble's new CD is "Percussion Pops 2000 presents Jungle Fever: The Music of Dick Schory." The recording celebrates the accomplishments of Iowa native Schory and his Percussion Pops Orchestra, who made several popular recordings in the 1950s and early '60s including the1958 best-selling "Music for Bang, Barroom, and Harp."

The new recording is the culmination of three years of work by Moore, an assistant professor and head of percussion at the UI School of Music. It includes recreations of many of Schory's original compositions as well as "Jungle Fever," the first new percussion score Schory has written in more than 20 years.

Works from the CD that will be on the Feb. 15 program include Moore's "The Schory Sound," a contemporary tribute to Schory's legacy to percussionists; Schory's arrangements of "April in Paris," My Funny Valentine," and "Lullaby of Broadway"; and Schory compositions "Shim Wha!", "Come BACH with Me" and "Jungle Fever." Some works will be performed just as Schory wrote them in the 1950s, while others have been arranged by Moore.

Wilson will perform on the drumset for two works on the concert: "The Brush Off" by Mike Simpson and "Sea Journey" by Chick Corea.

Though out of print now for many years, Schory's "Music for Bang, Barroom and Harp" and the 12 other Percussion Pops recordings figure significantly in the history of American music. "Bang, Barroom" was one of the first albums of any kind to be recorded for stereo sound in the 1950s. Stereo was able to provide a spatial awareness of sound that could not be heard in the monaural recordings of the day, and the music of Schory's recordings was intended to emphasize the dynamic space and time possibilities of a percussion orchestra.

"Bang, Barroom" became a bestseller in the '50s, largely because audio show rooms used it for demonstrations of the first stereo equipment. In 1959 it spent 26 weeks on the Billboard Top 40 charts.

It was also one of the best recorded albums of all time, according to Audiophile Magazine, which put the record in its top 10 list of best-engineered recordings ever.

"This album set the trend for 10 years in the record industry," Moore says. "Everybody in the industry copied "Bang, Barroom" in one way or another, from the playful album covers to the instruments used. Before Schory percussion in America was relegated mainly to the realm of new music, done for art audiences by composers like John Cage and Harry Partch. Schory brought percussion -- as well as himself -- into the world of pop music."

Schory is a drummer, conductor and arranger as well as record producer. He was a percussion bandleader and later worked in Hollywood producing movie soundtracks. Schory's varied career includes a stint with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

He was a major figure in popular music in the 1950s and '60s. His Percussion Pops Orchestra played to sold-out audiences from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. The group toured -- and sold out -- for 15 years. Schory is known for playful experimentation in percussion, using drums, xylophones, specialty sounds, just about anything that could be struck to make sound.

Members of Schory's Percussion Pops Orchestra have included many well-known jazz musicians over the years including Tom Davis, Moore's predecessor on the UI faculty and for many years the head of jazz studies at the UI; Joe Morello, who was Dave Brubeck's drummer; and Gary Burton on Vibes.

Evelyn Glennie has achieved international fame both because she is a dramatic percussion virtuoso -- proclaimed the "First Lady" of solo percussion -- and because she is deaf. She literally sees and feels the music, responding to conductors and other musicians by sight, while feeling the vibrations of the music. The centerpiece of the Feb. 16 concert in Hancher will be "Requiem 99," a concerto for marimba and Japanese traditional instruments by Minoru Miki, founder and director of Pro Musical Nipponia. Miki will personally introduce the work.

Matt Willson is recognized by his fellow percussionists as one of the most creative and musical drummers of his generation. In addition to a busy performance schedule, Wilson is active as a composer, bandleader, recording artist, educator, producer, and conceptualist. He was chosen "Best New Artist 1997" by the New York Jazz Critics Circle.

Wilson has performed and recorded with a large number of artists including Dewey Redman, Cecil McBee, Lee Konitz, Joanne Brackeen, Kenny Barron, Fred Hersch and Steve Kuhn. As a side man and a leader he has toured extensively in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Japan.

His critically lauded debut as a leader, "As Wave Follows Wave" was cited as one of the top 10 jazz recordings of 1996 The New York Times, Billboard Magazine and Jazz Thing (Germany). His new CD, "Going Once, Going Twice," was released in March 1998 and has also garnered rave reviews.

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 percussion, drum set, ethnic and multi-percussion, he is considered a "total percussionist."

As a soloist, Moore has developed a unique new style of marimba performance, using a MIDI set-up that allows him to create layers of electronically triggered and natural acoustic sounds. For the past 12 years Moore has toured as a member of the Britain/Moore Duo, whose CD "Cricket City" has been described by Pan-lime Magazine as "a brilliant collage of pan-marimba pieces."

Moore joined the UI music faculty in 1995. Only the second full-time professor of percussion at the UI, he succeeded Thomas L. Davis, who taught percussion at the UI for more than 35 years. He is a performing artist for the Yamaha Corporation of America, Sabian Ltd., and Innovative Percussion. He has written for Jazz Player, Sticks and Mallets and Percussive Notes magazines.

Prior to coming to the UI, Moore taught percussion at Montana State University and completed work for a doctorate in percussion at the University of Kentucky.

Sandy started playing trumpet while growing up in Indianola. After receiving a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa he went on the road and then spent two years playing free-lance and studying in New York City, where he performed and recorded with the Planet Jazz Orchestra, Latin bands and various small groups. Since his return to Iowa he has performed regularly with the Orchestra de Jazz y Salsa Alto Maiz, with whom he toured to European jazz festivals last summer. Sandy teaches in a private studio in Iowa City and recently spent a semester in residence at Coe College.

Tickets for the Feb. 16 concert featuring Evelyn Glennie and the Pro Musica Nipponia are $18, $16 and $14. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

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.

A grant to the UI School of Music, the Percussion Ensemble and its director, Dan Moore, from the Central Investment Fund for Research Enhancement (CIFRE) helped cover the cost of recording and distributing the CD.

Corporate sponsors of Pro Musica Nipponia with Evelyn Glennie are Prairie Lights and the Iowa City Coffee Company, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

For additional information about the Days of Percussion, contact Dan Moore at the UI School of Music, 319-335-1632. For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web.

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Iowa Day of Percussion
Schedule of events

 Monday, Feb. 15
 8 p.m. Percussion Pops 2000 CD Release Concert. Clapp Recital Hall

 Tuesday, Feb. 16
 8 a.m. Registration. Clapp Recital Hall Lobby.
 9 a.m. Panel Discussion with J.C. Combs, Dick Schory and Matt Wilson; Dan Moore, moderator: "Percussionists as Entrepreneurs." Clapp Recital Hall.
  Clinic by percussionist Mark Door: "Concert Percussion Performance Techniques." Opera Rehearsal Room.
 10 a.m. Clinic with James Dreier, Paul Cunliffe, Edgar East and Dan Hummel, percussionists from the Orquestra de Jazz y Salsa Alto Maiz: "The Art of Ensemble Playing in Percussion-Based Ethnic Music." Opera Rehearsal Room.
 11 a.m. Edmunds Academy Steel Band and special guests, Eileen Bowerman, director. Clapp Recital Hall.
 12 noon Lunch
 1 p.m. Percussion master class with Evelyn Glennie. Opera Rehearsal Room.
 2:30 p.m. Iowa College Percussion All-Star Percussion Ensemble with Matt Wilson, J.C. Combs, conductor. Clapp Recital Hall.
 3 p.m. Drumset clinic with Matt Wilson. Clapp Recital Hall.
 8 p.m. Pro Musica Nipponia with Evelyn Glennie. Hancher Auditorium. Tickets available from the Hancher Box Office.