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Release: Oct. 1, 1999

Semi-annual OctOBOEfest celebration of the oboe returns to UI Oct. 15-17

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- OctOBOEfest, the semi-annual celebration of the oboe and oboe music, will return to the University of Iowa for a series of free concerts, workshops and a competition for high school oboe players Oct. 15-17 at the UI School of Music.

Founded in 1992 by UI oboe faculty member Mark Weiger, OctOBOEfest is held at the UI in alternate years. As its name indicates, it is always held around the middle of October -- or "Octoboe," as Weiger prefers to call the 10th month.

This year's celebration will include performances and workshops by guest artists from across the United States, as well as guests from as far away as the People's Republic of China -- the husband-and-wife duo of oboist Chen Changzhang and violinist Cai Minchhu from the Wuhan Conservatory of Music.

Other guests participating in OctOBOEfest will be Henry Schuman from the Manhattan School of Music, Kevin Schilling from Iowa State University, Kevin Vigneau from the University of New Mexico and Stacey Willer Berk from the Des Moines Symphony.

Public performances are always a major part of the OctOBOEfest celebration. This year, two resident faculty ensembles from the UI School of Music will participate -- the Iowa Woodwind Quintet and, the Maia String Quartet -- as well as the UI Center for New Music, the UI Chamber Orchestra, and several individual faculty artists.

Performances open to the public free of charge will be:

--8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, in Clapp Recital Hall: Contemporary music for oboe, featuring the UI Center for New Music, David Gompper, director, with Mark Weiger;

--2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, in Harper Hall of the Voxman Music Building: Iowa's professional oboists in recital, featuring Mark Weiger, Kevin Schilling and Stacey Willer Berk;

--3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, in Harper Hall: University of Iowa student oboists in recital;

--8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 in Clapp Recital Hall: Chamber music concert, featuring the Maia Quartet with assisting artists Henry Schuman, Kevin Vigneau and Mark Weiger;

--2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, in Clapp Recital Hall: Oboe concerto concert, featuring the University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra conducted by UI graduate students Beverly Everett and Lucia Matos, with oboe soloists Kevin Vigneau, Chen Changzhang, Cai Minchhu, Henry Schuman and Mark Weiger; and

--8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, in Clapp Recital Hall: "Recital a Tutti": (final concert), featuring UI faculty, students and guest artists.

If that seems like a lot of oboe music in one weekend, that's the point, Weiger says. "Having so many oboists together, and having so much oboe music played, provides an experience you can't usually find in Iowa or the Midwest" he says. "It is a bit of both oboe hell and an oboe party -- some of the very best solo and chamber repertoire ever written over the centuries can be heard right smack in the middle of Iowa in all of 3 days!"

In all seriousness, Weiger adds: "Through this event students are introduced to excellent role models, and gain first-hand experience working and networking with the major educators and performers on their instruments. OctOBOEfest is designed to foster fellowship and strengthen the quality of oboe playing and teaching in Iowa."

Then, returning to his humorous manner, he says, "We'll have guest oboists from New York, China, New Mexico and Iowa joining forces to conspire against the odds just to share their tales, scales and ales."

Although it is less than 10 years old, OctOBOEfest has already been a big success. Weiger says that nearly 800 people attended the first OctOBOEfest in 1992, and over the brief history of the event the guests have included many of the leading oboists and wind ensembles from across the United States.

Since coming to Iowa in 1988 Weiger has performed as a soloist throughout the United States, Canada, England, Mexico, Austria, France and Italy, presented two recitals in Carnegie Hall in New York, been a finalist in nine international competitions, won Second Prize in the Queens Philharmonic Concerto Competition (NY), performed double concertos with the Chicago Symphony's former principal oboist, Ray Still, and presented solo recitals with many other notable oboists.

The first oboist to serve as an Artistic Ambassador through the U.S. Information Agency, Weiger performed recitals in Nepal, Pakistan, Israel, Jordan and Sri Lanka. The Tel Aviv News commented: "The quality of collaborative artists in the US Artistic Ambassador program is now unparalleled. On balance, [they] were perhaps the most successful Artistic Ambassadors USIS has ever programmed."

After he presented the New York premiere of the Bernard Rand Concertino, New York Times critic Paul Griffiths praised his "mellifluous oboe playing" and critic Gerald Gabel wrote, "Weiger's virtuosic abilities were a perfect match for this difficult work. . . . not since Heinz Holliger in his prime have we heard an oboist with his control and mastery."

He has recorded for the CRS, Crystal, Chandos and Centaur CD labels. Three new CDs are scheduled for release in 1999-2000: "Oboe: An Ambassador's Voice," "Romantic Kleinmeistern" and "Classical Kleinmeistern."

Henry Schuman has been principal oboist with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Westchester Philharmonic and Opera Orchestra of New York and guest principal with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. A founding member of the Clarion Quintet and Soni Ventorum Quintet, he is also a former member of the Casals Festival and Symphony of the Air. He has performed internationally with orchestras, chamber music ensembles and major music festivals. He has recordings on CBS, RCA and Vanguard, and has given master classes across the United States. He serves on the faculty at City University of New York, Indiana University and Manhattan School of Music, and has served as visiting faculty at institutions around the world.

Kevin Vigneau, has enjoyed an international career as an orchestral player, soloist, teacher and chamber musician. He currently performs with the New Mexico Woodwinds, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, the Albuquerque Baroque Players and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. In the past he has played with the Opera Company of Boston Orchestra, under the direction of Sarah Caldwell, the Alea III Contemporary Ensemble and the American Wind Symphony. He was principal oboe of the Cape Opera Orchestra and Cape Town Symphony Orchestra in Cape Town, South Africa, and the Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon, a unique project in Lisbon, Portugal, that integrates solo recitals, chamber music, orchestra concerts and teaching at the National Academy of Orchestral Studies. As a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center he played under conductors Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa.

Stacey Berk has degrees in music from Western Illinois University and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. From 1995-99, she performed as oboist of the United States Air Force Band of the West, stationed in San Antonio, Tex. While in the band, she performed in the Concert Band, Chamber Players and Five Star Winds woodwind quintet. She also composed and arranged music for the various ensembles and was a frequent soloist. From 1997-99 she served as the oboe instructor at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio. New to Iowa, she composes, teaches, and performs as second oboist with the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra.

Kevin Schilling is an associate professor of music at Iowa State University where he teaches oboe, bassoon, theory and chamber music. He has been principal oboe in the Des Moines Symphony, has performed in the Modesto and Stockton (Calif.) symphonies and is currently principal oboe in the Central Iowa Symphony. He is an avid proponent of period-instrument performance and has performed baroque oboe with early music groups such as the Telemann Society at University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and Lyra Concert of Minneapolis, and is a founding member of the Baroque Orchestra of Iowa. He plays the oboe, baroque oboe and bassoon with ISU colleague Lynn Zeigler (organ and harpsichord) as the duo Basically Baroque.

OctOBOEfest is sponsored by Carlos Coelho Oboes of Indianapolis, Midwest Musical Imports of Minneapolis, Nora Post of New York, West Music and Eble Music of Iowa, Gail Warnaar Music of Vermont, and the UI. Additional support for the High School Oboe Competition has been provided by Carlos Coelho Oboes, Midwest Musical Imports and West Music.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at The web page of OctOBOEfest is at

Iowa's OctOBOEfest 1999

Program of Events


8 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall Contemporary music for oboe: UI Center for New Music, David Gompper, director, with Mark Weiger, oboe.


9 a.m., Harper Hall Chamber music master class: Henry Schuman, Manhattan School of Music

2 p.m., Harper Hall Iowa's professional oboists in recital: Mark Weiger, the UI; Kevin Schilling, Iowa State University; and Stacey Willer Berk, Des Moines Symphony

3:30 p.m., Harper Hall University of Iowa student oboists' recital

8 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall Chamber music concert: Maia Quartet and guest artists


9 a.m., Harper Hall Fourth Iowa High School Oboe Competition

9 a.m., Choral Room Oboe master class: Kevin Vigneau, University of New Mexico

2 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall Concerto concert: University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra, Beverly Everett and Lucia Matos, conductors, with soloists

8 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall Recital a Tutti: UI faculty, students and guest artists