CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 6, 2000
University of Iowa Symphony will perform works by Verdi, Mahler and Sibelius
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra will give its
second concert of the 2000-2001 season, featuring baritone soloist Jon Muriello
and conductor William LaRue Jones, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18 in Hancher
Auditorium on the UI campus.
The concert, featuring music by Giuseppe Verdi, Gustav Mahler and Jean Sibelius,
will be free and open to the public.
The orchestra opened the 2000-2001 season Sept. 17 with a ticketed concert
in Hancher Auditorium, featuring pianist Van Cliburn in a performance of the
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. The first collaboration ever between the
University Symphony and a Hancher-sponsored artist, the concert was played
before a sold-out auditorium.
All remaining concerts on the UI campus this year will be free.
For the Oct. 18 concert, the orchestra will play the Overture to Verdis
opera "La Forza del destino" (The force of destiny); Mahlers
song cycle for baritone and orchestra, "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen"
(Songs of a Wayfarer); and one of the most popular works in the orchestral
repertoire, the Symphony no.2 in D major, op.43, by Finnish composer Jean
Verdi received a commission to write an opera for the Imperial Theater in
St. Petersburg in 1861, when he was at the height of his fame and popularity
in Italy. The previous 10 years had seen the premieres of most of his best
known and best loved operas, including "Rigoletto" (1851), "Il
Trovatore" (1853), "La Traviata" (1857) and "Un ballo
in maschera" ("A masked ball," 1859). In addition, Verdi and
his music had become identified with Italian nationalism, and he was elected
to the first Italian parliament in 1860.
"La Forza del destino," one of his more melodramatic works, was
written for the commission from the Imperial Opera and premiered in St. Petersburg
Nov. 22, 1862, with the composer in attendance. The overture, which captures
the drama and strong emotions of the opera, is a staple of orchestral programs.
In 1883 Mahler was just beginning his career, working as second conductor
for the opera theater in Kassel, Germany. He fell in love with a young singer,
but she rejected him to marry someone else. In reaction, he wrote the "Songs
of a Wayfarer" for baritone and piano, beginning with the text, "On
my loves wedding day, all will be merry there, but for me no joy will
"She doesnt know them," Mahler wrote a friend, "but
they can only tell her what she already knows." He arranged the songs
for voice and orchestra and conducted the premiere of this version in Berlin
Few composers have been more closely identified with their home countries
than Sibelius, who wrote the tone poem "Finlandia" in honor of his
homeland, as well as a number of orchestral and vocal works based on Finnish
epics and folk legends. Of his seven symphonies, the second, composed in 1901,
has consistently been the most popular.
A singer whose work ranges from opera and operetta to concert and musical
theater, Muriello joined the UI School of Music faculty in the fall of 1997.
His most recent engagements include performances as Captain Corcoran in "H.M.S.
Pinafore" with the Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee, and the Riverside
Theatres production of "Sweet and Hot." In the fall of 1998
he made his directing debut with the UI School of Music production of the
musical comedy "The Fantasticks," and he directed the School of
Music production of "She Loves Me" in 1999.
Muriello has performed operatic and musical theater roles with Opera Carolina,
the Banff Centre in Canada, LOpera Francais of New York, Skylight Opera
Theater, Ohio Light Opera and the Southeastern Savoyards of Atlanta. He performed
as the Narrator and Mysterious Man in Sondheims "Into the Woods"
and Marcello in "La Boheme" for Lyric Opera Cleveland. Other roles
have ranged from Guglielmo in Mozarts "Cosi fan tutte" to
Voltaire in Bernsteins "Candide."
He has also performed in concert and recital throughout the Midwest and the
Southeast, singing in performances of Vaughan Williams "Five Mystical
Songs" and "Hodie," the Brahms "Requiem" and the
Bach Mass in B minor.
He was a winner in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in North Carolina, in
the Washington International Competition and the Louise D. McMahon International
Song Competition in Oklahoma, and toured two seasons with the Mantovani Orchestra.
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.
Jones is conductor of the Bloomington (Minn.) Symphony and has appeared
as a guest conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,
the Sinfonie Orchester AML-Luzern (Switzerland) and other orchestras around
the world. 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.).
Jones holds a Master of Fine Arts in music from the UI and a doctorate from
the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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