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Release: April 9, 2001

UI Percussion Ensemble will perform with guest conductor Jimmy Finnie April 21

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Music from the United States’ northern and southern neighbors will be featured when the University of Iowa Percussion Ensemble presents a free concert with guest conductor Jimmy Finnie, the director of percussion studies at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind., at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Finnie will conduct two works: "Two Movements for Mallets" by William Steinohrt and "La soif du mal . . . Hommage a Orson Welles" by Canadian composer Robert Lemay.

Jon-Marc Donald, a graduate student in percussion, will conduct "Tambuco" by Mexican composer Carlos Chavez. Also featured on the program will be an Afro-Cuban drum ensemble, directed by adjunct UI faculty member James Dreier, performing arrangements of traditional African percussion pieces.

To close the concert, UI percussion students Daniel Duffield, Michael Pollock, Adam Schwickerath will play "Afta Stuba" by Mark Ford, a new piece that was premiered at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in 2000.

"La suif du mal" is part of a series of compositions written in homage to great filmmakers. "I am an ardent cinephile and feel drawn to those directors who created their own personal language," Lemay wrote. "Thus, I felt it appropriate to honor the artisans of this major 20th-century art form."

"Although it is not descriptive music, this piece is directly inspired by the film ‘Touch of Evil,’ produced by Welles in 1958," he continued. "I chose the French title of the movie because Welles, who was a polyglot, detested the English title which its backers had chosen, but approved of the French name. It is, along with ‘Citizen Kane,’ ‘The Trial’ and ‘Falstaff,’ a rich and personal film, probably one of his most mature and complex works."

Before moving to Indiana, Finnie taught at East Texas State University and performed with the Northeast Texas Symphony and the Panhandlers Steel Drum Band. He is featured as marimba soloist on the Indiana State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s 1997 compact disc, "Symphonic Moments," and has completed several recording projects with the ISU Faculty Wind Ensemble.

As director of the ISU Percussion Ensemble and Steel Drum Band, finnie has presented concerts on public school and university campuses throughout Indiana. In 1996, his ensemble was featured at the Indiana Music Educators Association annual conference in Indianapolis, and in 1997 the group presented a concert at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.

Finnie was principal timpanist for the Terre Haute Symphony from 1994 to ‘99 and was featured during the fall ‘97 season as percussion soloist with the orchestra. He has presented concerts in both solo and chamber settings throughout the United States and Canada. He also performs regularly in the region on drum set and steel drum. He has been a summer faculty member at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and is an Artist Clinician for the Zildjian Cymbal Company and Innovative Percussion. He recently spent two months in Trinidad performing with The BP Renegades Steel Orchestra.

Dreier is an instructor in the UI jazz studies program where he coaches small jazz ensembles and assists with the large format jazz groups. He teaches drumset and world percussion, and is founder and director of the Afro Cuban Drum Ensemble. As a member of the Orchesta de Alto Maiz he has performed throughout the Midwest and in Europe. He has studied percussion and drumming in Brazil and Cuba and has written articles for Percussive Notes.

One of the most active performing groups at the UI School of Music, the Percussion Ensemble presents concerts and educational programs on campus and across Iowa. Each year the group performs for hundreds of Iowa school children through the UI Arts Share program.

Formed in 1958, the UI Percussion Ensemble performs musical styles ranging from ragtime and jazz to 20th century concert idioms and traditional musical styles from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. In addition to the standard percussion repertoire, the ensemble regularly performs the newest music written by both professional composers and students.

With an extensive array of instruments -- from traditional drums, xylophones and cymbals to just about anything that can be struck, scraped, shaken or smashed together -- Percussion Ensemble performances are known for their variety and fast-paced programming, presented with humor, drama and old-fashioned showmanship.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts.

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