CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 4, 2000
UI Symphony Band concert Feb. 19 highlights Honor Band
Weekend at UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony
Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble will present a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday,
Feb. 19 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus. Myron Welch, director of UI
bands, will conduct the concert, which is free and open to the public. Bassoonist
Benjamin Coelho, a faculty member of the School of Music, will be the soloist.
The concert is part of the annual Honor Band Weekend
at the UI. Each year approximately 135 high school musicians from around the
state are invited to campus to play with a distinguished guest conductor and
to attend clinics on their individual instruments.
The high school Honor Band will present its own free
concert, with guest conductor Thomas Leslie, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20
in Hancher Auditorium.
For the Feb. 19 concert, the Symphony Band and the
Chamber Wind Ensemble -- a smaller group within the band -- will play six
works: a wind arrangement of the final movement of Howard Hanson's "Romantic"
Symphony; the Concerto for Bassoon of English composer Gordon Jacob; "The
Dream of Oenghus" by German composer Rolf Rudin; Igor Stravinsky's "Circus
Polka"; "Dead Elvis" for bassoon and winds by Cedar Rapids native Michael
Daugherty; and Donald Grantham's "Southern Harmony."
Gordon Jacob played a major role in British musical
life of the mid-20th century. He studied at the Royal College of Music, then
taught there for 40 years, from 1926 until his retirement in 1966. Although
he never became famous outside England, at home he was recognized as a distinguished
teacher -- particularly of instrumentation -- and a composer of economical,
well-crafted and accessible works.
Jacob had a particular interest in wind instruments.
He wrote several band pieces that are still performed regularly, and his orchestral
works include concertos for oboe, bassoon, flute, horn and trombone, as well
as a Suite for tuba and strings and a Rhapsody for English horn and strings.
Originally composed for bassoon and strings, the Concerto has been transcribed
for bassoon and winds by Mark Cray.
"The Dream of Oenghus" refers to an Irish legend,
in which Prince Oenghus has a nightly vision when fast asleep. Each night
he sees a girl who plays the flute, and he falls in love with her. Since she
keeps disappearing, she remains unattainable for him until he sets out to
search for her, and eventually finds her. According to the composer, the musical
poem "is no musical retelling of the legend; in a way it rather invites reading
the story, as there are only single phrases and atmospheres of the legend
serving as extra-musical sources of imagination."
"The Dream on Oenghus" was written in two parts, the
first in 1993-94 in response to a commission from the Confederation of German
Band and Folk Music Associations, and the second in 1996 for the State Wind
Orchestra of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
A composer who is known for incorporating popular
culture into concert music, Daugherty has written several pieces about Elvis.
"In 'Dead Elvis,'" he explains, "the bassoon soloist is an Elvis impersonator
accompanied by a chamber ensemble. It is more than coincidence that 'Dead
Elvis' is scored for the same instrumentation as Stravinsky's 'Histoire du
soldat' (A soldier's tale), in which a soldier sells his violin, and his soul,
to the devil for a magic book.
"I offer a new spin on this Faustian scenario: a rock
start sells out to Hollywood, Colonel Parker, and Las Vegas for wealth and
Coelho has worked extensively as performer and teacher
of bassoon, in both the United States and his native Brazil. He was a founding
member of the Manhattan Wind Quintet, with whom he played a sold-out concert
in Carnegie Recital Hall in New York. The quintet won various chamber music
competitions including Artists International, Coleman, and Monterey Peninsula
chamber music competitions. As a soloist, Coelho has played recitals and concertos
in Brazil, the United States, Canada and Portugal.
In Brazil, Coelho has played principal bassoon with
the Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, the Grupo de
Musica Contemporanea of Minas Gerais and the Gramado Woodwind Quintet. He
taught bassoon at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte
in Brazil, where he served as the elected vice-dean of the School of Music.
Coelho started studying bassoon at the age of 10 at
the Tatui Conservatory in his native Brazil. He graduated with honors from
the State University of New York at Purchase and received a master's degree
from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He is currently completing
a doctorate at Indiana University.
Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980.
In addition to conducting the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, Welch
teaches courses in instrumental methods and conducting, and is coordinator
of the Iowa Honor Band. Prior to joining the UI faculty he was director of
bands and coordinator of music education at Wright State University in Dayton,
Ohio. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Michigan State
University and a doctorate in music education from the University of Illinois.
Welch is past president of the American Bandmasters
Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters
Association. He is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with
bands throughout the United States.
A native of Muscatine, Leslie was a member of the
Iowa Honor Band when he was a high school student, and later served as drum
major with the Hawkeye Marching Band. He is currently director of bands for
the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV). An internationally recognized
band director he has served as a guest conductor and competition judge in
34 states and in Australia, Japan, England, Scotland, France, Switzerland,
Austria, Germany and Canada.
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 http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/