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Release: Oct. 13, 2000

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, pianist Ohlsson to perform Beethoven

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and pianist Garrick Ohlsson will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in a concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus. The performance, under the direction of Nicholas McGegan, will also feature the Suite from "Nais" by Jean-Philippe Rameau and Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 3.

The perennially popular Ohlsson, whom The New Yorker proclaimed "a genuine giant of the keyboard," has not performed in Hancher for 20 years. He is particularly known for masterful performances of Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart and Schubert, as well as other composers of the Romantic Era.

Jon von Rhein wrote in the Chicago Tribune, "Ohlsson is a big man with big hands, a big sonority and a big virtuoso technique that illuminates the music rather than himself. His style combines a vigorous masculinity with a modern poetic sensibility."

Beethoven wrote his Haydn- and Mozart-influenced B-flat piano concerto as a showpiece for himself in 1795, when he was still primarily known as a piano virtuoso of unprecedented energy and passion. Its debut was the composer’s first public appearance in Vienna, a landmark moment in a career that would mark Beethoven as the dominant composer in western music.

Rameau’s opera "Nais" was commissioned in 1748 to celebrate the Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle -- the same peace treaty that was celebrated in England by Handel’s "Music for the Royal Fireworks." The suite from Rameau’s French Baroque opera fits the special St. Paul Chamber Orchestra role of conductor Nicholas McGegan, who is the ensemble’s Baroque Series Director.

Like Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Schubert’s third symphony is a youthful work whose precocious skill foreshadows a monumental career. Schubert, whose career was cut short by his death at the age of 31, was barely 18 years old when he wrote his D-major symphony, in the classical style of Mozart and Haydn -- formally balanced with pleasing melodies.

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, a frequent visitor to the UI, is widely regarded as America’s premier chamber orchestra. Under the leadership of McGegan and Creative Chair Bobby McFerrin, with the assistance of prominent guest conductors, the orchestra presents more than 150 concerts each season in the Twin Cities and international tours.

In its four-decade history the orchestra’s artistic leadership has included many of the leading lights of classical music, including Dennis Russell Davies, Pinchas Zukerman and Christopher Hogwood.

The orchestra’s performance broadcasts, produced by Minnesota Public Radio and distributed by Public Radio International, are heard on more than 160 stations. And their discography, now totaling more than 50 recordings, features distinguished soloists including Mstislav Rostropovich, Zukerman, Midori, Isaac Stern and Emanuel Ax.

Gilda Imports is the corporate sponsor of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra concert, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets are $40, $38 and $35. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 2 and 3 tickets available to UI students for the special price of $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

Ticket-buyers may take advantage of volume discounts on most events in the season. A simultaneous purchase of three to five events qualifies for a 15-percent discount, and a simultaneous purchase of six or more events qualifies for a 20-percent discount.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at <>.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

For UI arts information, visit this new address -- -- on the World Wide Web. The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra web site is <>. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.