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Release: Oct. 29, 1999

Iowa Brass Quintet honors founding member John Hill with concert, workshop

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa Brass Quintet, a resident faculty ensemble at the University of Iowa School of Music, will pay tribute to trombonist and founding member John Hill, who retired from the UI at the end of the summer with a concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12 in Clapp Recital Hall, followed by a one-day workshop in the Voxman Music Building Saturday, Nov. 13.

Both the Nov. 12 concert and the events on Nov. 13 will be open to the public free of charge.

The Iowa Brass Quintet (IBQ) 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. Its current members are David Greenhoe and Barbara Deur, trumpets; Kristin Thelander, horn; David Gier, trombone; and Robert Yeats, tuba.

The program for the Nov. 12 concert features the IBQ alone performing the "Urban Dances" of Richard Danielpour, Leonard Bernstein’s "Dance Suite," and brass quintet arrangements of "Two Caribbean Dances" by 19th-century American composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Hill will perform with the quintet in the Brass Sextet in E-flat minor by Oskar Boehme. And the program will open and close with brass choir pieces from the 16th century by Giovanni Gabrieli, with the IBQ, Hill, and graduate students Dennis Pedde, trumpet, and Paul Pollard, trombone.

Events of the "John Hill Tribute Trombone Workshop" on Saturday, Nov. 13, will be:

--10 a.m. in Clapp Recital Hall, recital by Paul Pollard and Andrey Kharlamov, current teaching assistants in the trombone studio of the UI School of Music

--11:15 a.m. in Clapp Recital Hall, recital featuring former students of John Hill

--2 p.m. in Harper Hall of the Voxman Music Building, "Balancing Act: Reflections on a Career in the Los Angeles Music Industry," a recital/presentation by Bill Booth, former student of John Hill, principal trombone of three Los Angeles-area orchestras, and an active performer in most areas of L.A.’s music industry

--3:30 p.m. in Clapp Recital Hall, a performance by the Iowa Trombone Ensemble and the John Hill Alumni Trombone Choir.

All performances and other events will be free and open to the public.

Gier said, "In the process of organizing the workshop, I have had the opportunity to contact over 100 of John’s former students. They are teaching, performing, and serving as music administrators all over the U.S., and in Europe as well, and many of them will be coming from all points to celebrate with us in November. In their communications with me, their warmth, respect, and sense of gratitude for John’s teaching and mentoring was so evident. It is easy to imagine his powerful influence extending through generation after generation of musicians."

Greenhoe, who has played with Hill in both the IBQ and the Quad City Symphony, said that Hill "enjoys playing more than anyone I know. Over the years, he’s been willing to take just about any job, just for the fun of being able to play.

"And sitting next to him in the Quad City Symphony since 1979, I have seen him just keep getting better. In both respects -- how much fun he has, and how he works to keep getting better -- he has been a great example for all of his students and his professional colleagues."

Hill began his professional career in 1948 as trombonist and bass trombonist with the Detroit Symphony. Shortly after, he was named to the faculty of the Detroit Conservatory. A four-year stint in the U.S. Air Force Band in 1951-55 was followed by positions with the Baltimore Symphony and the Minneapolis Symphony. After teaching at the University of Kansas for six years, Hill joined the UI faculty in 1963. In 1965 he was named principal trombone of the Quad-City Symphony Orchestra, a position he still holds.

Hill was associate director of the UI School of Music from 1980 until his retirement, and for 1990-91 was interim director. A founding member of the Iowa Brass Quintet, Hill played with the group for 25 years and is featured on three of their recordings. He left the quintet when its current trombonist, David Gier, joined the UI faculty in 1995.

Bill Booth, who will present reflections on his career Saturday afternoon, and then be the featured soloist on the final concert of the tribute, has been one of Hill’s most successful students. After studying with Hill at the University of Kansas in the early 1960s, he played with the U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note. He subsequently moved to Las Vegas, where he received a master’s degree from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and played in show orchestras.

From Las Vegas Booth moved to Los Angeles, where he has performed in virtually all areas of the city’s extensive music industry. He is principal trombone with the Los Angeles Opera Company, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Pasadena Symphony. His extensive studio work includes not only phonograph and compact disc recordings, but music for television shows and advertising. He has played for more than 500 motion pictures, including the recent releases "Analyze This," "The Matrix," "Double Jeopardy" and "Sixth Sense." Early next year Crystal records will release Booth’s solo CD featuring new compositions by Michael Convertino, Anthony Plog and Kim Scharnberg, as well as music by Beethoven, Schumann, Ravel and Paul Creston. He is on the music faculty at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and California State University at Northridge.

Both trombone teaching assistants at the School of Music have extensive professional experience. Pollard is currently bass trombone of the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Illinois and Cedar Rapids Symphonies and the Millar Brass Ensemble, and he often plays as an extra with the Chicago Symphony. He has played at summer music festivals in the United States and Germany and he has won several important competitions, including the 1999 Eastern Trombone Workshop National Bass Trombone Solo Competition.

Kharlamov is a graduate of the Moscow (Russia) Conservatory. Before coming to the UI for study he was bass trombonist of the Russian State Symphony, with whom he toured and recorded with renowned orchestra conductors including Pierre Boulez, Gnady Rozhdestvensky and Mstislav Rsotropovich. He is an associate member of the Chicago Civic Symphony. He is an Iowa Performance Fellow.

Greenhoe has been on the faculty of the UI School of Music and the principal trumpeter of the Quad City Symphony since 1979. He is also chair of the brass area at the UI and is active as a soloist and recitalist. During summer seasons he performs as solo trumpeter with the Lake Placid (N.Y.) Sinfonietta, a post he has held since 1975.

Deur is a member of the Quad Cities Symphony and has been a trumpet instructor at the UI. She has performed widely as a soloist and clinician, has been principal trumpet of the Des Moines Symphony and has been a member of the Cedar Rapids Symphony.

The newest member of the brass faculty at the UI School of Music, Gier came to the UI in August 1995. He has taught at Baylor University and Central Connecticut State University. He began his professional career in New England as a member of the Springfield (Mass.) Symphony and Orchestra New England. He has performed with numerous professional ensembles, including the New Haven, Hartford, Waco and San Angelo symphonies, and Keith Brion’s Peerless Sousa Band. He is currently principal trombone of the Breckenridge (Colo.) Festival Orchestra.

Thelander, who joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1989, is active as both soloist and chamber musician. During the summer she performs with the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Ore. Previously she was on the music faculty at the University of New Mexico, and she was a member of the New Mexico Brass Quintet, the Santa Fe Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony and the Four Corners Opera Festival in Durango, Colo.

Yeats has taught at the UI for more than 20 years. He was principal tubist with the Cedar Rapids Symphony for 19 years and has appeared as soloist with many professional orchestras, bands and brass ensembles on the East Coast and across the Midwest. At the UI he teaches tuba and euphonium, directs the Collegium Tubum and edits the "University of Iowa Guide to Selected Wind and Percussion Materials."

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(NOTE TO EDITORS: For comment, you may contact current Iowa Brass Quintet trombonist David Gier at 319-335-1655, or by e-mail at