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Release: Nov. 10, 2000

Iowa Brass Quintet welcomes new member for Nov. 20 UI concert

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Iowa Brass Quintet will welcome its newest member, horn player Jeffrey Agrell, in a free concert at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20 in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus.

Agrell is a visiting faculty member at the UI School of Music, where he teaches undergraduate horn students, directs the Horn Choir and coaches chamber music. Agrell came to the UI in August from a position as associate principal horn with the Lucerne (Switzerland) Symphony Orchestra. He took the place in the quintet of Kristin Thelander, who left the group when she was selected as director of the School of Music.

A resident faculty ensemble at the UI School of Music, 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. In addition to Agrell, current members of the IBQ are David Greenhoe, trumpets, David Gier, trombone, and Robert Yeats, tuba, all faculty members of the UI School of Music; and Barbara Deur, trumpet.

Founded in the early 1950s, the IBQ has been widely acclaimed for its artistry in the performance of music of all periods and premieres of new compositions. The quintet’s recent CD, "Americana: A University of Iowa Celebration," features works by composers associated with the UI, either as faculty or students in the School of Music, or whose works have been favorites of the group over the years. It was released as part of the celebration of the UI Sesquicentennial in 1997.

For the Nov. 20 concert, the IBQ will play a combination of original works and arrangements for brass quintet. The program will comprise Three Renaissance Madrigals, works of Gregor Aichinger, Luzzasco Luzzaschi and Claude Le Jeune arranged for brass by Irving Rosenthal; the Quintet No. 2 for brass quintet by Victor Ewald; an arrangement of J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor; and the Brass Quintet of Thomas Fredrickson.

The change in personnel of the IBQ was triggered last spring when the faculties of the UI School of Music, department of theatre arts and dance department voted to form a new Division of Performing Arts. David Nelson, who had been director of the School of Music since 1991, was selected to head the new division, and Thelander was elected by the School of Music faculty to take over as director of the School of Music. Thelander continues to teach her graduate students in horn, but gave up her undergraduate students and her position in the IBQ.

Agrell holds a bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College and a master’s degree in horn performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He did further studies at the Institut de Hautes Etudes Musicales (Institute of advanced musical studies) in Montreux (Switzerland) and at the Basel Conservatory.

He was a member of U.S. Army Bands from 1970 to 1973 and was associate principal horn with the Lucerne (Switzerland) Symphony Orchestra from 1975 until 2000. During that time he also had the opportunity to perform chamber music with various ensembles throughout Europe. An avid writer, he has been on the editorial staff of two international brass journals for several decades, with fifty published articles to his credit.

Agrell began composing and arranging during his college years and played jazz guitar and electronic music in the 1980s. For the past decade he has had a steady stream of commissions from professional chamber music ensembles, including the Slokar Trombone Quartet, Philharmonic Brass Luzern, Swiss Clarinet Players and the Swiss Brass Consort. His Rhythm Suite for Clarinet and Marimba was the winner of the 2000 composition contest of the International Clarinet Association. His works have appeared on CD and have been broadcast on radio and television nationally and internationally. Many of his works have been published and performed at contests and festivals.

Agrell has been invited to be a guest artist at the 2001 International Horn Workshop in Kalamazoo, Mich. The UI Horn Choir, which he directs, has also been invited to perform there.

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 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.

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.

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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