CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 2, 2001
UI Symphony Band concert Feb. 17 highlights Honor Band
Weekend at UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony
Band will present a concert at
8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17 in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus. Myron Welch,
director of UI bands, will conduct the concert, which is free and open to
the public. Clarinetist Maurita Murphy Mead, a faculty member of the UI School
of Music, will be the soloist.
The concert is part of the annual Honor Band Weekend
at the UI. Each year approximately 135 high school musicians from around the
state are invited to campus to play with a distinguished guest conductor and
to attend clinics on their individual instruments.
The high school Honor Band will present its own free
concert, with guest conductor William Wakefield, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb.
18 in Hancher Auditorium.
For the Feb. 17 concert, the Symphony Band will play five
works -- a band arrangement by Mark H. Hindsley of the Overture to Richard
Wagners grand opera "The Flying Dutchman"; "Dreamcatcher"
by Walter Mays; the Concertino of Francisco Mignone, featuring Mead as soloist;
"Yiddish Dances" by Adam Gorb; and "Jai ete au bal"
(I have been to the dance) by Donald Grantham.
Wagner was inspired to write "The Flying Dutchman"
during a particularly stormy voyage. Based on the legend of the sea captain
doomed to sail the stormy seas forever, unless freed from a curse by love
faithful unto death, the opera was Wagners first great success. The
overture weaves together music portraying the storm with music sung by the
sailors and the haunting ballad sung by the operas heroine, Senta. A
popular orchestral concert opener, the overture makes a challenging piece
"Dreamcatcher" is based on the well-known
Ojibwe legend that both good and bad dreams float through the night air. A
magic hoop criss-crossed by animal sinews and feathers, hung above a sleepers
head, will catch the bad dreams, while the good dreams know the way through.
Mays score includes rhythms and melodic motives inspired by Native American
"Dreamcatcher" was commissioned by Victor
Markovich and the Wichita State Symphonic Band for the 1996 Music Educators
National Convention. It was the winner of the National Band Association/William
D. Revelli Memorial Band Composition Contest in 1996.
The Concertino by Brazilian composer Francisco Mignone
was written for clarinet and orchestra. The Feb. 17 concert will be the first
performance of a new transcription by Kevin Kastens, assistant director of
bands at the UI and director of the Hawkeye Marching Band.
Gorb directs the school of composition and contemporary
music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. "Yiddish
Dances" was composed for the 60th birthday of Timothy Reynish, conductor
of the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra.
The composer has written, "Yiddish Dances
is very much a party piece. It brings together two of my abiding musical passions:
the Wind Orchestra and the Klezmer -- the folk music of the Yiddish-speaking
people. The five movements are all based on set Klezmer dances."
Grantham has written that "jai ete au bal"
is "a celebration of some of the popular/folk music styles of Louisiana
-- in particular Cajun music and the brass band tradition of New Orleans.
The dance flavor of the music is suggested by the title, and two traditional
Cajun dance tunes are employed."
Mead is in her 19th year teaching clarinet on the
faculty of the UI School of Music, where she is also associate director for
graduate studies. Her many solo invitations have included International Clarinet
Association conferences, the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the Southeastern
Clarinet Workshop and the conference of the College Band Directors National
Association. She has been principal clarinet of several Midwestern orchestras,
including the Cedar Rapids Symphony.
As a chamber musician she has appeared with the Cleveland
Quartet and other ensembles. Her "On The Fence" performance, combining
jazz, jazz-influenced compositions and classical works on a single program,
was a featured recital at the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium. It was followed
by "Over the Fence," a CD of Brazilian choros she recorded with
pianist Rafael Dos Santos, a UI alumnus. She and Dos Santos have recently
completed their second CD, "Red Hot and Brazilian," which is due
to be released in the spring of 2001.
Recently she was a featured guest artist at the National
Clarinet Symposium of Brazil in
Rio de Janeiro and has toured Brazil as a soloist and teacher. Currently Mead
is on sabbatical leave for the spring semester, in order to research and perform
choro, a form of Brazilian popular music.
Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980.
In addition to conducting the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, Welch
teaches courses in instrumental methods and conducting, and is coordinator
of the Iowa Honor Band. Prior to joining the UI faculty he was director of
bands and coordinator of music education at Wright State University in Dayton,
Ohio. He has bachelors and masters degrees in music from Michigan
State University and a doctorate in music education from the University of
Welch is past president of the American Bandmasters
Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters
Association. He is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with
bands throughout the United States.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing
Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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