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Release: Oct. 20, 2000

NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Coelho is pronounced QUAIL-yoh.

Bassoonist Coelho and UI faculty colleagues collaborate to present concert of duets Nov. 1

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Bassoonist Benjamin Coelho is a very persuasive musician, since he has induced no fewer than seven of his faculty colleagues at the University of Iowa School of Music to assist him in presenting an entire program of duos for bassoon with other media -- instrumental and vocal, electronic and acoustic -- at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Coelho’s faculty recital will be free and open to the public.

The program, ranging from Mozart to electronic music, is as varied in style as in media. Some of the pieces will be part of a CD that Coelho plans to record in the spring, but some pieces are on the program simply because Coelho wants to play them.

"I’ve been thinking about playing a program like this for about 15 years," Coelho said. "I’m fortunate to have excellent musicians as colleagues here at the UI, players who are willing to take time out of their busy schedule to play this concert."

The program, combining an eclectic list of composers with a large portion of the School of Music faculty directory, comprises seven compositions:

-- Sonata for bassoon and cello, K. 292, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed with cellist Amos Yang;

-- "Composites" for marimba and bassoon, composed in 1980 by Dean Witten and performed with percussionist Dan Moore;

-- Sonata for two bassoons by Francisco Mignone, performed with bassoonist William LaRue Jones, who is most often seen by audiences as conductor of the University Symphony;

-- "Pre-Images" for bassoon and tape composed for Coelho by Lawrence Fritts, director of the UI Electronic Music Studios;

-- Three Songs for bassoon and voice by Francisco Mignone, performed with mezzo-soprano Katherine Eberle;

-- Sonata for Clarinet and bassoon by Francis Poulenc, performed with clarinetist Maurita Murphy Mead; and

-- "Bachianas Brasileiras" No. 6 for flute and bassoon by Heitor Villa-Lobos, performed with Coelho’s brother, flutist Tadeu Coelho.

It is appropriate that the Coelho brothers Benjamin and Tadeu would close the program with a piece by their fellow-Brazilian, Villa-Lobos. One of the most prolific composers of the 20th century, Villa-Lobos wrote more than 1,000 compositions, including almost all imaginable combinations of instruments and voices.

Characteristic of his output is the series of nine works known as "Bachianas Brasileiras," which means roughly "Brazilian pieces in the style of Bach." Inspired by Bach’s counterpoint, the series includes pieces for solo piano, chamber orchestra, full orchestra, the unlikely combination of soprano and eight cellos, and others.

The sixth piece of the set is a two-movement suite exploring Villa-Lobos’ extension of Bach’s two-part inventions, combined with the influence of the Brazilian popular idiom known as "choros." The form is borrowed from Bach, but the themes are presented in a manner that is purely Brazilian. The duality is underlined by the titles of the two movements, one characteristically Baroque and one unmistakably Brazilian: Aria and Choro.

Coelho has worked extensively as performer and teacher of bassoon, in both the United States and his native Brazil. He was a founding member of the Manhattan Wind Quintet, with whom he played a sold-out concert in Carnegie Recital Hall in New York. The quintet won various chamber music competitions including Artists International, Coleman and Monterey Peninsula chamber music competitions. As a soloist, Coelho has played recitals and concertos in Brazil, the United States, Canada and Portugal.

In Brazil, Coelho has played principal bassoon with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, the Grupo de Musica Contemporanea of Minas Gerais and the Gramado Woodwind Quintet. He taught bassoon at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte in Brazil, where he served as the elected vice-dean of the School of Music.

Coelho started studying bassoon at the age of 10 at the Tatui Conservatory in his native Brazil. He graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Purchase and received a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He is currently completing a doctorate at Indiana University.

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