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Release: Sept. 22, 2000

Hometown students played in UI Symphony with classical music legend Van Cliburn

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- (Name) of (hometown), a (class standing) at the University of Iowa, had the opportunity to share the stage with a classical music legend as a member of the University Symphony when the orchestra gave its first concert of the 2000-2001 season Wednesday, Sept. 20 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.

The orchestra performed with legendary pianist Van Cliburn, who became a national hero when he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. The concert, directed by William LaRue Jones, featured Cliburn playing Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto, the piece with which he triumphed in 1958. Also on the all-Tchaikovsky program was the composer’s Fourth Symphony.

(Name) plays (instrument) in the orchestra.

Cliburn was a shy 23-year-old, little known outside classical music circles, when he won the hearts of his Russian audience at the first Tchaikovsky Competition. The news of his victory was so sensational that it made the front pages of newspapers around the world, and he returned to be welcomed by a ticker-tape parade in New York City, the only such honor ever given to a classical musician. His recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 became the first classical recording to go platinum, and now has sold more than three million copies.

The most prestigious of the many student ensembles at the UI School of Music, the University Symphony is filled by audition. The orchestra plays a series of free concerts on the UI campus and on tour, performing works from the standard orchestral repertoire. One of the UI’s oldest cultural traditions, these concerts generally fill the lower level of Hancher Auditorium, drawing considerably more than 1,000 people.

The University Symphony also performs one choral-orchestral concert each semester, and for the annual spring production of the UI Opera Theater.

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.

Additional University Symphony concerts under Jones’ direction this fall will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18 in Hancher Auditorium, and Wednesday, Nov. 8 in Clapp Recital Hall. Under the direction of Timothy Stalter, the University Symphony and combined choruses from the UI School of Music will present a concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29 in Hancher Auditorium. All performances are free.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Receipt of this release indicates that a student from your community or readership area has been chosen to play with the University Symphony at the UI. Students are listed below, alphabetically by hometown, with Iowa towns listed first. Each listing includes the student’s name, his/her address, class standing and the instrument he/she plays in the orchestra. Please note that listings are based on information provided by the students.


BETTENDORF: Ingrid Michaelson, sophomore, violin; Jason Walter, freshman, violin
CEDAR RAPIDS: Pam Meier, senior, violin; Catherine Neely, freshman, violin
CORALVILLE: Jon Marc Donald, doctoral, timpani/percussion
DAVENPORT: Marjie Gere, senior, violin; Joan Johnson, graduate, violin
DUBUQUE: Maggie Darby, senior, cello; Richard Kirkendall, freshman, viola; Will Roseliep, freshman, cello
IOWA CITY: Natalie Brown, senior, violin; Sarah Covington, freshman, cello; Adam Foster, sophomore, cello; Ellen Gantz, graduate, violin; Kathryn Langguth, freshman, cello; Erika Lord, sophomore, violin; Tracy Moyer, junior, cello; Anna Skogman, graduate, violin; Alex Van Dorpe, freshman, cello; Tim Zeithamel, freshman, viola
WATERLOO: Ashley St. John, sophomore, violin
URBANDALE: Elizabeth Hollingsworth, freshman, viola


SARASOTA: Rachel Black, graduate, viola


GLENVIEW: Nisha Mokshagundam, freshman, violin


EVANSVILLE: Lauren Flittner, freshman, viola


ROBBINSDALE: Sarah Mimick, freshman, violin
ST. CLOUD: Elisa Ewing, freshman, viola; Jacqueline Schmidt, graduate, viola


KANSAS CITY: Karl Pedersen, freshman, violin; Gerry Phalp, freshman, violin


OMAHA: Tracey Harbert, freshman, bass


NORMAN: Joyce Kelley, doctoral, cello


COLUMBIA: Alison Mann, graduate, bass


PORT-AU-PRINCE: Jean Montes, doctoral, cello


CARACAS: Giovanna Cruz, graduate, cello