CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 26, 1999
(NOTE TO EDITORS AND BROADCASTERS: Hancher Auditorium director
Wallace Chappell is available for interviews at 319-335-1130.
Millennium Festival fundraiser Victor Mashburn can be reached
at the University of Iowa Foundation, 319-335-3305.)
Hancher 1999-2000 season will feature Millennium Festival
with 15 commissions, 13 premieres
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The 1999-2000 performing arts season at
the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium will join the world-wide
celebration of the millennium with an ambitious Millennium Festival,
featuring 15 major commissions in music, theater and dance. Thirteen
of the commissioned works and productions will be given their
world or American premieres in Hancher.
New works will be created by choreographers Twyla Tharp, Paul
Taylor, UI alumnus Lar Lubovitch, Susan Marshall, Bill T. Jones,
Ushio Amagatsu and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; Canadian theater artist
Robert Lepage; and composers Richard Danielpour, Michael Daugherty,
Paul Schoenfield, UI alumnus David Lang and Mexico's Gabriella
Performances of the commissioned works will be presented by
ensembles including American Ballet Theatre, the Kronos Quartet,
the Australian Chamber Orchestra with the Bang on a Can All-Stars,
Sankai Juku, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson
Trio and the Ethos Percussion Ensemble.
Several of the commissioned works will be presented in the
midst of residencies that will feature extensive arts education
efforts, including events cabled statewide on the Iowa Communication
The visage of Hancher will even get an artistic premiere of
its own in the near future with the construction of a Millennium
Plaza to give the entrance a fresh look.
The Millennium Festival will be part of a season featuring
additional blockbusters, including the return of perennial favorites
"Les Miz," "Stomp" and "Cats";
Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" produced
by the Guthrie Theater; T.S. Monk playing the landmark jazz of
his father, Thelonious Monk; the National Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Leonard Slatkin; superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma; mezzo-soprano
Frederica von Stade with Chanticleer; and a gala Millennium Eve
party featuring the legacy of a 20th-century arts giant from
Iowa -- the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
The entire 1999-2000 Hancher season -- including the season-spanning
-- is detailed in a free brochure, "At This Moment,"
which is available from the Hancher administrative offices (319-335-1130)
or the Hancher 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.
Advance ticket-buyers not only enjoy the best choice of seats,
but also can take advantage of volume discounts on most events
in the season. A simultaneous purchase of three to five events
qualifies for a 15-percent discount, and a simultaneous purchase
of six or more events qualifies for a 20-percent discount. Purchases
made before the end of June can be paid through Hancher's installment
UI students, senior citizens and audience members 17 and younger
also qualify for special discounts to most events. UI students
and senior citizens receive a 20-percent discount on tickets
to most events, with $10 Zone 3 tickets available to UI students
for most events. Youth tickets are typically half price.
"Why a Millennium Festival?" Hancher director Wallace
Chappell asks. "Why not! The world seems to be intent on
marking this moment, so we decided to join the party by doing
what we know how to do, which is to nurture the creation and
enable the presentation of the performing arts."
During the '80s and '90s, Hancher has commissioned more than
50 works in music, theater, and dance -- including the Joffrey
Ballet mega-productions of "The Nutcracker" and "Billboards"
-- drawing world-wide recognition, and building Hancher's international
reputation as an innovative leader in commissioning and presenter
Even with that rich history, the Millennium Festival will
represent nearly a quarter of the commissioning projects in Hancher's
history -- in a single season.
Despite the fact that the calendar's fulcrum is a religious
observance, and the turn of the millennium is fraught with apocalyptic
prophesies, Chappell is careful to note that Hancher's celebration
carries no religious or philosophical baggage.
"Whatever the millennium is -- or isn't -- we expect
it to mean SOMETHING," he says. "We expect something
extraordinary to occur. So our purpose in marking the millennium
is to actually MAKE something significant occur in the arts."
"Hancher is taking positive action in order to confirm
the value of the arts in the next millennium and to strengthen
our commitment as a research and development center for artistry,
a long-standing concern of the UI. The UI was the first university
to integrate academics and the creative arts, so we have a venerable
tradition to draw from, and to live up to."
Since Chappell's intention was neither to summarize the past
millennium nor predict the next, he approached many artists who
are old friends of the auditorium, artists whose track records
made them ideal choices for commissions. He spiced that list
just a bit with artists that Chappell knew well but had not yet
presented in Hancher.
The festival will actually open Sept. 10-12 with an American
premiere by one of those artists, French-Canadian theater artist
Robert Lepage. His "Geometry of Miracles" was inspired
by one of America's greatest architectural visionaries, Frank
Lloyd Wright. LePage is renowned for startling images of his
own, making him one of theater's most potent visionaries.
But the Millennium Festival's official kick-off event will
be an occasion worthy of Klieg lights, the Sept. 17-18 American
premiere of Twyla Tharp's new "Diabelli," set to the
famous Beethoven "Diabelli Variations."
Hancher has played an important role in the career of the
Kronos Quartet, the iconoclastic ensemble that has revolutionized
the contemporary definition of the string quartet. Building on
numerous past commissions and premieres, Hancher will present
the Kronos Quartet both on Sept. 15, 1999 and on May 3, 2000
-- each time with a commissioned world premiere. In September
Kronos will present the debut of "Traveling Music,"
a far-ranging journey through world music and exotic instruments;
and in May Kronos will be joined by diva Dawn Upshaw for a world
premiere by Mexican composer Gabriella Ortiz.
Hancher has presented the apocalyptic Japanese dance company
Sankai Juku on several occasions, but now the auditorium is becoming
the company's first American commissioner with the American premiere
of Ushio Amagatsu's "Hibiki" Oct. 1-2.
Choreographer Susan Marshall created new work for Hancher
several seasons ago, and that project was so successful -- including
a performance featuring many local non-dancers -- that Chappell
has re-engaged her for the Millennium Festival. Marshall has
chosen a timely meditation in "The Descent Beckons,"
which will be given its world premiere in Hancher Oct. 8-9.
Like Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor has been one of the defining
creators of modern dance for several decades, and his companies'
performances have been Hancher audience favorites. His young
Taylor 2 company is in the midst of a three-season residency
program that links Hancher with presenters in Burlington, Decorah
and Pella. For the Millennium Festival, the master is creating
a new work for a Oct. 15-16 world premiere.
Bill T. Jones is another American choreographer with whom
Hancher has had a long and productive relationship, and he has
also been in residence in Waterloo/Cedar Falls through the Cedar
Arts Forum. Hancher has co-commissioned some of Jones' most famous
and controversial works -- ambitious, full-evening productions
tackling wrenching issues of race, faith, homosexuality and disease.
Jones' work for the Millennium Festival will offer something
strikingly different, a solo evening on Oct. 26. He will return
in March with the world premiere of "Yo! You walk?"
Choreographer Lar Lubovitch is one of the UI's most distinguished
alumni in the arts, recognized as one of his generation's most
important dance creators. He is a fitting component of the Millennium
Festival because he found the inspiration for his dance career
in a Hancher performance he attended as a UI student. Hancher's
commission pairs him with one of America's most venerable dance
institutions, American Ballet Theatre, in Nov. 2-3 performances.
The collaboration of Urban Bush Women founder Jawole Willa
Jo Zollar and the Alvin Ailey Dance Company brings together two
old Hancher friends who exemplify the power and spirituality
of African-American dance. Their world premiere will be presented
in Hancher Nov. 19-20.
The spring season of the Millennium Festival will open with
the Ahn Trio's world premiere of a composition by Paul Schoenfield,
whose "Tales From Chelm" was performed in Hancher by
the Everest Quartet. The Ahn Trio is one of three ensembles participating
in Hancher's multi-year, four-city residency program, and the
Schoenfield composition will be performed for audiences in each
city during the season.
Two more UI alums will play a central role in the April 8,
2000, collaboration between New York's Bang on a Can and Sydney's
Australian Chamber Orchestra. School of Music alumnus David Lang
is the founder and one of the primary composers of Bang on a
Can, and one of the ensemble's performers is percussionist Steven
Schick, who was a fixture in the UI Center for New Music for
In April the Millennium Festival will present world premieres
of works by two of America's most in-demand composers, Pulitzer
Prize-winner Richard Danielpour and Cedar Rapids native Michael
Daugherty. The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio will present
the Danielpour composition on April 13, and Daugherty's new work
will be premiered by the Ethos Percussion Ensemble April 18.
Several of the commissioned works will be presented in the midst
of residencies that will feature extensive arts education efforts,
including events cabled statewide on the Iowa Communication Network.
Of course, such an ambitious festival has required a major
fund-raising effort. The UI Foundation is in the midst of a $2.1
million Millennium Festival Campaign. For more information on
that aspect of the festival, talk to Victor Mashburn at the University
of Iowa Foundation in the new Levitt Center for University Advancement,
319-335-3305. Donors of $2,000 or more will receive permanent
recognition in the Millennium Plaza.
Corporate sponsors of events during the Hancher 1999-2000
season are Cantebury Inn & Suites; Coral Ridge Mall; UI Men's
Intercollegiate Athletics; Iowa State Bank & Trust; Prairie
Lights and the Java House; Country Bancorporation and Kay J.A.
Bernau; Everybodys Whole Foods; The Gazette; Holiday Inn-Iowa
City; Clarion Hotel and Conference Center; Iowa City Press-Citizen;
MacLeodUSA,Inc.; TCI of Eastern Iowa; Group 5 Hospitality, Management
Division of Highlander, Inc.; KGAN-TV; and radio stations KDAT-FM,
KHAK-FM and KRNA-FM.
Major commissioning sponsors include Procter & Gamble,
the National Endowment for the Arts and Chamber Music America's
"A Musical Celebration of the Millennium."
* * *
1999-2000 Hancher Auditorium Season. The University of Iowa,
9 -11 Thurs-Sat *Robert
Lepage, "Geometry of Miracles," 8 pm, Hancher Loft
15 Wed *Kronos
Quartet, "Traveling Music," 8 pm. World premiere.
17 & 18 Fri & Sat *Twyla
Tharp Dancers, "Diabelli Variations," 8 pm. American
24 Fri Chanticleer
and Frederica von Stade, 8 pm
1 & 2 Fri & Sat *Sankai
Juku, "Hibiki," 8 pm. American premiere.
8 Fri *Susan
Marshall & Company, "The Descent Beckons," 8 pm
15 & 16 Fri & Sat *Paul
Taylor Dance Company, 8 pm. World premiere.
21 Thurs National
Symphony Orchestra, 8 pm
23 Sat *A
Solo Evening with Bill T. Jones, 8 pm
24 Sun The
American Boychoir, 3 pm
28 & 29 Thurs & Fri Capitol Steps,
2 & 3 Tues & Wed *American
Ballet Theatre/Lar Lubovitch, 8 pm.
19 & 20 Fri & Sat *Alvin
Ailey American Dance Theater, 8 pm.
Willa Jo Zollar world premiere
7 - 12 Tues - Sun "Cats,"
12/7-10, 8 pm; 12/11 & 12, 2 & 8 pm
31 Fri Millennium
Eve, The Glenn Miller Orchestra. 9 pm-1 am
22 Sat T.S.
Monk, "Monk on Monk," 8 pm
26 Wed Yo-Yo
Ma, 8 pm
27 Thurs *Ahn
Trio, 8 pm, Clapp Recital Hall.
Schoenfield world premiere.
28 - 30 Fri - Sun "Stomp,"
1/28 pm; 1/29, 5 & 9 pm; 1/30 2 pm
5 Sat The
Children's Theatre Company, 3 & 7 pm, Hancher Loft
12 Sat Memphis
R&B Revue, 8 pm
22 - 27 Tues - Sun "Les
Miserables," 2/22-25, 8 pm; 2/26 & 27, 2 & 8 pm
3 & 4 Fri & Sat The
Guthrie Theater, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," 8 pm
24 - 25 Fri & Sat *"Yo!
You Walk?" Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, 8 pm
6 Thurs Australian
Chamber Orchestra, 8 pm
8 Sat *Australian
Chamber Orchestra with Bang on a Can, 8 pm.
Lang world premiere.
13 Thurs *Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson
Trio, 8 pm, Clapp Recital Hall
Danielpour world premiere.
18 Tues *Ethos
Percussion Group, 8 pm, Clapp Recital Hall.
Daugherty world premiere.
3 Wed *Dawn
Upshaw and Kronos Quartet, 8 pm.
Ortiz world premiere.
* indicates Millennium Festival event