CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Matthew Sintchak, colleagues will present 'The Contemporary Saxophone'
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Saxophonist Matthew Sintchak, a visiting professor
at the UI School of Music, will be joined by guest pianist Judy Siebert
and the Iowa Brass Quintet to present a free public performance of contemporary
concert music for the saxophone at 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25 in Clapp Recital
Hall on the UI campus.
Sintchak's program, which he is presenting under the title "The
Contemporary Saxophone," consists entirely of works composed in the
past two decades: "Sequenza IXb" for solo alto saxophone by Luciano
Berio, composed in 1980; "Lilith" for alto saxophone and piano
by William Bolcolm from 1984; the Concerto da Camera (Chamber Concerto)
for saxophone and brass quintet by Fisher Tull from 1989; and "San
Antonio" for saxophone and piano by John Harbison from 1994.
Sintchak selected this program to highlight both the variety and the
quality of music recently written for the saxophone.
"For several reasons the quality and quantity of saxophone music
has grown tremendously during the last 20 years," he explained. "For
one thing, there are more saxophonists than ever before, and I feel that
the composers writing for the instrument better understand its innate and
"This is a terrific development for saxophonists," Sintchak
said. "We are playing an instrument that doesn't have a classical
repertoire, because it didn't exist until the 1840s. It's exciting to see
so much good music becoming available recently."
Luciano Berio's "Sequenza IX" was composed for clarinet in
1980, then rewritten for saxophone by the composer a year later. It is
one of an ongoing series of works Berio is writing for solo instruments,
starting with "Sequenza I" for solo flue, written in 1958.
Composer William Bolcolm writes that Lilith "is identified in a
Canaanite charm of the 8th century B.C., and likewise in post-Biblical
Jewish literature, with the child-stealing witch of world-wide folklore."
In his score, he depicts Lilith through five contrasting character pieces:
"The Female Demon," "Succuba," "Will-o'-the-Wisp,"
"Child Stealer" and "The Night Dance."
Fisher Tull's Concerto da Camera was commissioned in 1987 for saxophonist
Michael Jacobson, who teaches at Baylor University, and it is one of the
few works to feature the saxophone as both solo and chamber music instrument.
As doctoral students at the Eastman School of Music, Sintchak and Siebert
participated in the world premiere of Harbison's "San Antonio."
The score was commissioned through the World-Wide Concurrent Premieres
and Commissioning Fund and subsequently premiered on the same day in different
locations around the world.
Harbison describes the work's three movements:
"I. The traveler has a free afternoon in San Antonio. It is August,
105 degrees. Expecting to start with a cool promenade along the river,
he is instead lured by a sound. He follows it up a long stairway and finds
himself in a little fiesta.
"II. The first dancers finish, exhausted. Then, as if on cue, the
whole crowd gets into a line of people of all ages, nine to ninety. They
all know the steps, which change with the phrases.
"III. The music changes again to become slower. The people continue
on in couples. . . . Towards the end, a young girl asks the traveler to
dance. He declines."
A visiting professor at the UI, Sintchak has previously taught at the
University of Hartford; Nazareth College and Roberts Wesleyan College in
Rochester, N.Y.; and at Eastman, where he won a 1996-97 Teaching Prize.
An avid performer of contemporary music, Sintchak has also given traditional
solo recitals on the East Coast and performed with Hartford and Portland
symphonies and the Rochester Philharmonic, and with the Eastman Wind Ensemble
on two tours to Japan. He has also performed with several alternative groups
including the Jupiter Saxophone Quartet, the first honors/scholarship saxophone
ensemble in the history of the New England Conservatory of Music.
Sintchak studied at Boston University, the New England Conservatory,
and the Paris Conservatory on a grant from the Beebe Foundation. He recently
completed his doctorate in saxophone performance with a Performer's Certificate
Siebert is assistant professor of piano and music history and literature
at Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada. She has performed across North
America and Europe as both soloist and chamber musician.
An enthusiastic proponent of contemporary music, Siebert has commissioned
and premiered new works by leading Canadian and American composers, often
assisted by Manitoba and Canada Arts Council grants. She has recorded for
CBC radio and is featured on CD with duo-piano partner Shirley Sawatzky
and the Winnipeg Symphony. At the most recent Maurier Arts Ltd. New Music
Festival in Winnipeg she premiered a piano concerto by Heather Anne Schmidt.
She also performs and tours across North America as a member of the Quarks!
Trio, a contemporary music ensemble that features a unique combination
of piano, saxophone and computer effects.
The Iowa Brass Quintet performs on the UI campus each semester and for
schools, universities, civic concert associations, and professional meetings
throughout the United States. Founded in the early 1950s, the group has
been widely acclaimed for its artistry in the performance of music of all
periods and premieres of new compositions.
Members of the Iowa Brass Quintet are David Greenhoe and Barbara Deur,
trumpets; Kristin Thelander, horn; David Gier, trombone; and Robert Yeats,
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at