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Release: Sept. 17, 1999

'90s Music will be presented by UI Center for New Music on tour, on campus

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Center for New Music will present a free concert of music composed in the 1990s at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

A flexible organization devoted to the performance of music composed in the 20th century, the Center for New Music is directed by David Gompper, a faculty member in the theory and composition area of the UI School of Music. Membership in the center's performing ensemble includes both faculty and students of the School of Music.

The Oct. 3 concert will be the third in three days by the performers of the center, who will perform the same program on tour before bringing it home to the UI campus. Their other concerts will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1 at Grinnell College; and at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 at Dordt College in Sioux Center.

The Grinnell performance will be for a meeting of Region V, the upper Midwest region, of the Society of Composers, Inc., (SCI), a professional society dedicated to the promotion of composition and the performance, dissemination and understanding of new music

The Oct. 3 program features music by five composers, all of whom are members of SCI:

-- "Duo" for flute and cello by Yehuda Yannay

-- "Viola Variations" for solo viola by Paul Richards

-- "Prologues/Epilogues" for mixed instrumental quintet by David Smooke

-- "Concepts" for solo bass clarinet by Chihchun Chi-sun Lee

-- Quintet for saxophone and strings by Richard Brooks

Yehuda Yannay's career has been truly international in scope: A professor of music at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Yannay was born in Romania and emigrated to Israel in 1951. He holds degrees from the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel-Aviv, Brandeis University and the University of Illinois, and he has taught in Germany.

Yannay has written, "Duo is dedicated to the prominent Brazilian composer Gilberto Mendes and his wife Eliane who introduced me and my wife to the cultural riches of Brazil and the Portuguese language. Duo was influenced by the poetry of Fernando Pessoa, the quintessential modernist of Portugal, and by an extended visit to the city of Lisbon, his source of inspiration."

Paul Richards has written works in virtually every genre, with commissions for orchestral, choral and chamber works coming from a variety of individuals and institutions. His works have been performed across the country in universities, synagogues and at SCI conferences. His "Viola Variations" was written for performer Ann Marie Hudson. The brief original theme is reminiscent of a Renaissance dance figure, while the variations wander through intimations of Baroque, popular and other styles, with the chief goal of displaying the capabilities of the viola and the violist.

David Smooke is a Chicago-based composer who is also active as a teacher and lecturer. His music has been presented by the University of Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players, the Pacific Chamber Soloists and the New Horizons Chamber Ensemble, among others. The composer has observed that "the title of 'Prologues/Epilogues' describes its form. The three prologues present material through the process of coalescing; the four epilogues are characterized by summation and fragmentation."

Chihchun Chi-sun Lee has a bachelor's degree from Sochow University of Taiwan and master's degrees from Ohio University, and she is currently finishing a doctorate at the University of Michigan. Her works have been performed in Taiwan, the Czech Republic and the United States. She is composer-in-residence with Taiwan's premiere traditional Chinese instrument group. She says that she was exploring several aspects of musical composition in "Concepts": the ability of the bass clarinet to simultaneously sound more than one note, the use of an extended range for the bass clarinet, and writing an extended piece for a monophonic instrument.

Richard Brooks teaches at Nassau Community College in New York, where he is music department chair. He has been active in SCI and other professional organizations for composers and music educators. He has composed more than 50 pieces in all media, several of which have been recorded. He has written that the Quintet for Saxophone was intended to be "equally suited to performance with saxophone as well as oboe. Although there are distinct sectional divisions creating a broad ternary (three-part) structure, it was conceived as a single movement. The middle section, in a slower tempo, is perceived as an interruption of the main, fast movement."

The Center for New Music was founded in 1966 with a seed grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The center promotes the performance of new music by providing a core group of specialists in contemporary performance techniques. Its programming has included world premieres as well as acknowledged contemporary masterworks. Today, the Center for New Music is supported by the UI School of Music.

In November, 1998, an east-coast tour by the Center included a performance at Merkin Hall in New York City and by invitation at the final performance of the Region I Conference of Society of Composers, Inc., at Connecticut College in New London. Critic Paul Griffiths opened his New York Times review of the Merkin Hall concert by observing that "an ensemble of faculty and graduate students from the University of Iowa performed strongly Tuesday night," and he praised Gompper for "the concert's clarity and directness."

Gompper joined the music theory and composition faculty of the UI School of Music in 1991. He has received numerous awards for his academic and musical achievements, including the Charles E. Ives Prize for composition from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

His "Lament for Bosnia" was premiered last December by the UI Symphony and Choruses as part of "Global Focus: Human Rights '98," the UI's year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Recently, Gompper traveled to Thessaloniki, Greece, and the University of Auckland in New Zealand to lecture on current American musical trends in composition. Last May, he performed a concert of his works and lectured at the Moscow Conservatory of Music in Russia. He has also served as a cultural specialist for the United States Information Agency in Kwangju, South Korea.

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