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Release: April 20, 2001


Hancher commission for K-L-R Trio was 'important contribution to the 21st century'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio’s Hancher Millennium Festival world premiere of "A Child’s Reliquary" by Grammy Award-winning composer Richard Danielpour on April 13, 2000, was so well-received that one would be tempted to describe the commission as "good timing," if the inspiration it enabled had not been a tragedy.

The trio had been interested for some time in commissioning Danielpour, and University of Iowa/National Endowment for the Arts funds became available shortly after the death of the 18-month-old son of Carl St. Clair, musical director of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra where Danielpour is resident composer. The commission became the catalyst for a moving musical expression of sympathy and grief.

"I know nothing more tragic or heartbreaking than the death of a child," Danielpour wrote. "The work was intended as a kind of ‘kindertotenlieder’ (songs for the death of a child -- the title of a work by Gustav Mahler) without words -- and everything in the piece, including references to the Brahms ‘Cradle Song’ -- relates to its initial inspiration."

The work quickly became a highlight of the trio’s far-flung tour performance, and audience responses confirmed the musicians’ high opinion of the piece. Cellist Sharon Robinson told the Cincinnati Enquirer: "it's an important contribution to the 21st century, and audiences love it."

The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio performed "A Child’s Reliquary" at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Tannery Pond Concerts in New York and at concert halls in Minnesota, California, North Carolina, Oregon, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and other states. The work was featured on a Feb.24, 2001, national broadcast of "St. Paul Sunday Morning," originating on Minnesota Public Radio.

The management of Chamber Music in Napa Valley found the piece so moving when it was performed there that they commissioned a second composition from Danielpour for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio.

The trio, which records for the Arabesque label, has recorded "A Child’s Reliquary," and the score has been published internationally by G. Shirmer.

Hancher’s season-spanning Millennium Festival -- the nation’s most ambitious and extensive performing-arts millennium celebration -- featured more than 20 major commissions in music, theater and dance, with 15 of the commissioned works and productions receiving their world or American premieres in Hancher.

In addition to "A Child’s Reliquary," new works were created by artists including theater visionary Robert Lepage; choreographers Twyla Tharp, Ushio Amagatsu, Bill T. Jones, UI alumnus Lar Lubovitch, Susan Marshall, Paul Taylor, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; and composers Michael Daugherty, Paul Schoenfield and UI alumnus David Lang.

Performances of the commissioned works have involved prominent ensembles including American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp Dance, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Bang on a Can, the Kronos Quartet, Dawn Upshaw, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Sankai Juku, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the Ahn Trio and the Ethos Percussion Group.

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