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Release: Aug. 31, 2001

Mezzo-soprano Eberle, pianist Rhoads will premiere new songs by Jeffrey Agrell Sept. 15

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Mezzo-soprano Katherine Eberle will present the world premiere of Six Songs by Jeffrey Agrell, a fellow faculty member at the University of Iowa School of Music, as part of a program of American songs, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Eberle will be assisted by pianist Shari Rhoads. Their performance will be free and open to the public.

Each of Eberle’s recitals at the UI has had a unifying theme. “I always sing pieces that I love,” Eberle said, “but grouping pieces together that have something in common helps the audience to share the experience of choosing, preparing and presenting the music. In the past 10 years, I’ve covered many different styles and repertoire, including music for double bass and voice, harp and voice, operatic monodramas, all-Russian art songs and music of women composers.

“Each of those programs represented a wonderful process of musical exploration and discovery for the performers and the audiences.

“This year’s program of songs by American composers is intended to show the Iowa City audience some music in their native language, instead of the standard vocal music of Western Europe. It will also showcase the piano skills of Shari Rhoades, as the accompaniments are very challenging technically.”

The program for the recital will feature Agrell’s Six Songs; Three Songs by Jean Berger, based on poems by Langston Hughes; Three Songs by Samuel Barber, based on poems of James Joyce; Four Songs by Ned Rorem from the cycle “Poems of Love in the Rain”; and “I will breathe a Mountain” by William Bolcolm, an extended cycle of songs based on poems by 11 American poets.

After the Iowa City performance, Eberle will present the same program in performances in Kearney, Neb., and Boone, N.C.

“All the composers except Barber are still living,” Eberle said. “The program is tonal and while it is mostly 20th-century repertoire, it will contain music that is interesting and lovely to hear.”

A native of Akron, Ohio, Eberle has performed internationally in opera, concert and solo recitals. The Atlanta Constitution wrote, “Katherine Eberle was a standout. More than any other performer, she showed what it takes for a solo performer to command the stage.”

She has performed with the opera theater of Lille, France, the Academy of the West, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Aspen Festival Opera Theatre, the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz, Austria, and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.

Her solo compact disc of songs of women composers, “From a Woman’s Perspective,” has been issued by Albany Records on the Vienna Modern Masters Label. She was also soloist on a CD of the Mozart “Requiem” released by the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Eberle made her New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 1993. In 1994 and ‘95 she toured as a musical ambassador for the United States Information Agency, performing in South America and Korea. In 1998 she was elected president of the State Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, hosting the state convention.

She has won awards from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Bel Canto Foundation and the Ann Arbor Friends of Opera. During the academic year she is on the faculty of the UI School of Music, and for seven summers she taught at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. Her annotated bibliography about American Operatic Monodramas was published in the Journal of Singing in 1999.

Rhoads joined the UI School of Music faculty in the fall of 2000. She earned her degree in accompanying and has completed post-graduate studies in opera coaching/conducting at the University of Southern California. Before arriving at the UI she taught music history at the Musikhochschule (Music conservatory) in Lucerne and the Conservatory of Lausanne in Switzerland. Rhoads has also been Kapellmeister at the Lucerne Theater and conductor/coach at the opera theater in Darmstadt, Germany. She was coach at the Barcelona and Madrid opera theaters.

Her accompanying credentials include recitals with Jose Carreras, Luis Lima and Montserrat Caballe. She has accompanied master classes with a number of renowned artists including singer Gerard Souzay, cellist Lynn Harrell and violist William Primrose, and served as staff accompanist for the Francesco Vinas (Barcelona, Spain) and Munich International competitions.

Agrell is a visiting faculty member in the School of Music, where he teaches undergraduate horn, directs the Horn Choir, coaches chamber music and performs with the Iowa Brass Quintet. Before coming to Iowa, he was a member of U.S. Army Bands from 1970 to 1973 and was associate principal horn with the Lucerne (Switzerland) Symphony Orchestra from 1975 until 2000. During that time he also performed chamber music throughout Europe.

Agrell began composing and arranging during his college years and played jazz guitar and electronic music in the 1980s. For the past decade he has had a steady stream of commissions from professional chamber music ensembles. His "Rhythm Suite" for Clarinet and Marimba was the winner of the 2000 composition contest of the International Clarinet Association. His works have appeared on CD and have been broadcast on radio and television nationally and internationally.

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

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