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Release: Sept. 1, 2000

(NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Sengstschmid is pronounced ZENKST-shmeed.)

Center for New Music presents Austrian violinist Wolfgang Sengstschmid

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Center for New Music will present a concert of 20th-century violin music, played by Austrian violinist Wolfgang Sengstschmid and pianist Daniel Grimwood, at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Their performance, which will be free and open to the public, is part of a concert series for the 2000-2001 season presented on the UI campus by the Center for New Music, a part of the new UI Division of Performing Arts.

A former child prodigy who was admitted to the Musikhochschule (Music conservatory) in Vienna at the age of eight, Sengstschmid has received critical raves all around the globe. In South Africa, one critic described him as "an ideal violinist . . . a master of technique and a very intelligent musician who analyzes the meaning of every single note," and another wrote, "his intonation was secure, his tone bright and he imbued the entire work with a sense of grace while implying deeper feelings below the surface."

In New Delhi, India, he was praised for "his complete grasp of the solo violin repertoire," and following a concert in Graz, Austria, a critic noted "his natural determination and concentration (and) the high quality sound that are vital skills for a sovereign soloist."

In 1999 Sengstschmid got an unparalleled career boost when Thomas Frost, the senior executive producer at SONY Classical and former producer of recordings by the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz, singled out the young violinist as an artist who "deserves to have a significant international concert and recording career."

For the Sept. 11 recital at the UI Sengstschmid will play the Rhapsody for violin solo, written in 1995 by his father, Johan Sengstschmid. A professor of music at the University in Graz, Austria, the elder Sengstschmid developed his own theory of "harmonic 12-tone music," which has its roots in the theories of Arnold Schoenberg. The "Rhapsody for violin solo" is based on a single 12-tone sequence, varied according to the principles of harmonic 12-tone music.

Other works on the program will cover a broad range of styles in 20th-century music, including sonatas by Ernst Krenek and Maurice Ravel and the Fantasy. Op. 47 of Arnold Schoenberg. Also included are works by Erik Satie and Ernest Bloch. The recital will conclude with a violin-piano arrangement of Darius Milhaud’s Latin-American flavored orchestral piece "Le boef sur le toit" (The steer on the roof).

Sengstschmid has performed extensively in his native Austria, including concerts in the major concert halls of Vienna and appearances at the festivals Klangbogen Vienna and Carinthian

Summer. He has performed in the United States, South Korea, India, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, and many countries of Europe.

He performed as a guest soloist with the Tonkuenstler Orchestra Vienna, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Berne Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sofia Opera Orchestra and the Kiev Chamber Orchestra.

Since 1998 Sengstschmid has performed on a violin from Joseph Guarneri del Gesu, made in Cremona in 1731, given as a loan by the Austrian National Bank. He currently teaches at the Musikhochschule in Vienna.

A graduate of the Purcell School in England, Grimwood recently won the Accompanist’s Prize in the International Young Concert Artists’ Competition. He has performed extensively in England and on the European continent as an accompanist, including an appearance at a benefit concert in aid of the Royal Society of Musicians presented by the Jacqueline du Pre 5th Annual Charity Concert in Wigmore Hall, London last March. He made his broadcast debut with cellist Jamie Walton in the BBC Young Artists Forum, with whom he plans to record a CD of works by Musorgsky, Medtner and Felix Blumenfeld.

A flexible organization devoted to the presentation of the music of the past 100 years, the Center for New Music is directed by David Gompper, a faculty member in the theory and composition area of the UI School of Music. Part of the new UI Division of Performing Arts, the center supports its own performing ensemble, including both faculty and students of the School of Music, and presents concerts of recent music by guest artists.

The Center for New Music was founded in 1966 with a seed grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The center promotes the performance of new music by providing a core group of specialists in contemporary performance techniques. Its programming has included world premieres as well as acknowledged contemporary masterworks.

In November 1998, an east-coast tour by the Center included a performance at Merkin Hall in New York City. Critic Paul Griffiths opened his New York Times review of the concert by observing that "an ensemble of faculty and graduate students from the University of Iowa performed strongly Tuesday night," and he praised Gompper for "the concert’s clarity and directness."

In 1986 the center received the Commendation of Excellence from Broadcast Music, Inc., the world’s largest performing rights organization, and it recently received grants from the Aaron Copland Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts. Today, the Center for New Music is supported by the UI Division of Performing Arts.

Information on the UI Center for New Music, including complete program notes for the concert by the Sengstschmid, is available on the World Wide Web at

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