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Release: June 16, 2000

University Symphony features organist and string bass player in summer concert June 28

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony will feature the organ and the double bass, two instruments not often heard in concerto performances, when it presents its annual summer concert on the UI campus, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 28 in Clapp Recital Hall.

The concert, under the direction of William LaRue Jones, will be free and open to the public.

The concert will open with the Concerto for Double Bass of Serge Koussevitzky played by Valdir Claudino, a recent graduate of the UI School of Music. It will be followed by the Organ Concerto of Francis Poulenc performed by Robert Triplett, who is a visiting faculty member at the School of Music as well as director of music at Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City and distinguished artist in residence at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon.

After intermission, the orchestra will play Beethoven's Symphony No 8 in F major, op. 93.

Koussevitzky was one of the most influential musicians in America during the first half of the 20th century. He served as director of the Boston Symphony 1924-49, and during that time he commissioned and premiered new pieces by Igor Stravinsky, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Howard Hanson and many other important composers. He was also a mentor to young American musicians who went on to successful careers, among them Leonard Bernstein.

Koussevitzky began his career playing double bass in the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra in Moscow and later earned a great reputation as a virtuoso bass player. His Double Bass Concerto was written with the assistance of the Russian composer Reinhold Gliere and premiered by Koussevitzky in Moscow in 1905.

The French composer Francis Poulenc was associated with a group of modernist composers in Paris in the early years of the 20th century, although he personally favored a neo-classical style and avoided the more radical forms of musical experimentation. Consequently his music has always been considered highly accessible. He wrote songs, piano pieces and several sacred choral works. His organ concerto, written in 1938, is considered a minor masterpiece.

The organ in Clapp Recital Hall was built as part of the original building in 1972 and renovated in 1998-99 by the makers of the original instrument, the Casavant firm of Canada. As part of the instrument's renovation , a new solid-state combination action system was installed that allows the storing of more than 3,000 stop combinations, giving the player extraordinary resources in performance. The recent work on the instrument was done by Carroll Hanson, Casavant representative and curator of organs at the UI.

Triplett has appeared as recitalist throughout the United States and for national and regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists. The author of numerous professional articles and several published compositions, he has taught at Maryville (Tenn.) College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His performances have been featured on the nationally syndicated radio program "Pipedreams."

His CD recording of performances on the four-manual, 65-rank Moller-Casavant organ at Cornell College was issued by Centaur records. Fanfare magazine praised the recording as "imposing and eloquent . . . full of virtuosity and panache," while the French magazine Diapason noted Triplett's "infallible and easy virtuosity, suppleness, precision and absolute fidelity to the spirit of the text."

In conjunction with his musical activities, Triplett maintains a second career as a stage-fright consultant. His presentations have attracted a wide range of fellow stage-fright sufferers, including actors, teachers, musicians, ministers, athletes, business professionals, doctors, civic leaders and even two airplane pilots. His book, "Stagefright: Letting It Work for You," has met widespread critical acclaim.

Claudino recently completed a master's degree in double bass performance at the UI School of Music, where he studied with Diana Gannett. During the summer he will be teaching master classes and performing at festivals in Brazil, and next year he will resume a position as principal double bass player of the Belo Horizonte University Orchestra, the Musicoop String Orchestra, and the Filharmonica Nova in Brazil.

Prior to coming to the UI to study, Claudino had extensive professional experience in Brazil. He performed as a soloist with the Minas Gerais University Orchestra, the Musicoop String Orchestra and the Filharmonic Nova. He studied bass performance at the Tatui Conservatory in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and earned a bachelor's degree from Minas Gerais University.

A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997 as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies. Prior to joining the UI faculty, Jones was the founding music director/administrator of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.

Jones is a highly honored musician, having received the Twin Cities Mayors' Public Art Award, the American String Teachers Association Exceptional Leadership and Merit Award and the David W. Preuss Leadership Award. He has also been selected Musician of the Year by Sigma Alpha Iota, a music honorary society. He has conducted all-state and festival orchestras in 46 states and five Canadian provinces. He has been conductor-in-residence at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the University of Miami (Fla.).

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