CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 3, 2000
Current and former UI faculty members team up for Schuberts 'Winter
Journey' Nov. 17
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Baritone Stephen Swanson and pianist Daniel Shapiro will
perform "Winterreise" (Winter journey), Franz Schuberts cycle
of songs about rejection in love for a University of Iowa faculty/guest recital
at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov, 17 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
Swanson teaches voice in the UI School of Music. Shapiro, who taught piano
at the UI 1992-97, currently is on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute
of Music. Their performance will be free and open to the public.
Composed in 1827, "Winterreise" is the second of Schuberts
three song cycles. It followed "Die schoene Muellerin" (The Millers
beautiful daughter), composed in 1823, and preceded "Schwanengesang"
(Swan song,) a collection of songs from Schuberts final year, 1828.
Both "Winterreise" and "Schoene Muellerin" are settings
of songs by Wilhelm Mueller, a minor poet who was also a philologist and historian
of wide ranging interests.
"Winterreise" comprises 24 songs, settings of a series of 24 poems
that tell the romantic story of a young man who has been rejected in love.
In despair, he embarks on a journey in the dead of winter, hoping to leave
behind his beloved and all of his unhappy memories.
Through his music, Schubert was able to turn a group of naive and sentimental
poems into something more universal and far deeper. The young mans loss
becomes a tragedy that the audience, through Schuberts music, can experience
along with the singer. Winter, in the poems an obvious symbol of coldness
and rejection, is portrayed by the piano in music that audiences find not
only evocative but -- in spite of its stark subject matter -- hauntingly beautiful.
Schubert was the first major composer to write unified cycles that tell
a single story through a series of separate songs. But he not only created
this miniature dramatic form, many singers believe he also perfected it, and
his song cycles are one of the greatest challenges a singer can undertake.
Swanson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1994. For nearly
20 years before that date he had an active operatic career in Europe. During
that time his repertoire grew to 91 roles in opera, operetta and musicals.
He has sung on German, Austrian and Dutch radio broadcasts and has been a
featured soloist in European festivals including the Berliner Festwochen,
the Days of Contemporary Music in Dresden and the Festa Musica Pro in Assisi,
Swanson took part in the Viktor Ullman-Projekt 1998, a celebration of the
100th anniversary of the birth of a composer who died in the Nazi death camps.
Swanson sang major roles in Ullmans operas "Der zerbrochene Krug"
and "Der Kaiser von Atlantis" at performances in Europe, at the
Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and at the Martyrs Museum in Los
Swanson has also had an extensive career as a concert singer, appearing
as featured soloist with many U.S. orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony
under Sir Georg Solti, Raphael Fruehbeck de Burgos and Margaret Hillis. He
has recorded Mendelssohns "St. Paul" and Ullmanns "Der
Kaiser von Atlantis." Since coming to Iowa City, he has appeared in UI
Opera Theater productions and performances of the Chamber Singers of Iowa
Swanson holds undergraduate degrees from North Park College in Chicago and
a masters degree in music from Northwestern University. He made his
professional debut in 1970, singing in Arnold Schoenbergs opera "Moses
and Aron" with the Chicago Symphony in Chicago and New Yorks Carnegie
Daniel Shapiro has pursued a multi-faceted career in several areas of musical
performance. He began piano studies at the age of six and made his conducting
debut at Tanglewood, Mass., the summer home of the Boston Symphony, at the
age of 16. Two years later he received a special award at Tanglewood for outstanding
achievement in piano, chamber music and conducting.
Shapiro has a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California,
and master's and doctoral degrees in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory
in Baltimore, where he studied with Leon Fleisher. He received the top award
in the William Kapell International Piano Competition and has also won the
American Pianists Association Beethoven Fellowship Award, the Joanna Hodges
International Piano Competition, the Young Musicians Foundation Debut
Competition and the International Piano Recording Competition.
He has performed critically acclaimed recitals and concerts across the United
States, in Brazil, Ireland, Spain, France, and at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
He has performed with the National Symphony, the Sao Paulo State Symphony
Orchestra, the Academy of London Orchestra, the Colorado National Repertory
Orchestra and the Los Angeles Debut Orchestra. In 1995 he played all 32 piano
sonatas of Beethoven in a series of eight recitals at the UI.
Shapiro has also had extensive experience as a vocal accompanist and coach,
including serving as an opera and art song coach at the University of California
at Los Angeles. As a chamber musician he has participated in the Marlboro,
Tanglewood and Ravinia festivals. He is a member of the Brandeis-Bardin Trio,
whose compact disc is released on the Harmonia Mundi label, and the Duo Hebraique,
whose compact disc is released on the ASV label.
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