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Release: Jan. 17, 2001

(NOTE TO EDITORS: The name of the ensemble eighth blackbird is always written all-lower-case.)

UI Hancher Auditorium wins Chamber Music America award for adventurous programming

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium is the winner of the 2000 Award for Adventurous Programming, presented by Chamber Music American (CMA) and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). The award was announced during the annual awards ceremony of the CMA national conference Jan. 14 in New York City.

The CMA/ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming are presented annually to chamber ensembles, presenters and festivals, recognizing organizations that feature contemporary work. The focus of these awards is on performances of music written after 1975.

First and second prizes are awarded to presenters who sponsor 10 or more chamber music events in a season, and those who present nine or fewer events. Hancher won the first prize in the latter category.

The chamber ensemble eighth blackbird, which will conclude a busy one-week UI residency with a Hancher-sponsored concert on Jan. 25, won the CMA/ASCAP first prize in Adventurous Programming among touring ensembles. The Paul Dresher Ensemble, which will perform "Ravenshead" with UI alumnus Rinde Eckert March 27-28 in the Hancher Loft, won the second prize in that category.

Hancher was recognized, in particular, for its many commissions and premieres of chamber music, and a variety of educational and audience-building activities as part of its 1999-2000 Millennium Festival. The Millennium Festival was the nation’s most ambitious and extensive performing-arts millennium celebration.

Hancher Assistant Director Judith Hurtig, who accepted the award on behalf of the UI, said, "Hancher’s Millennium Festival was an extraordinary forum for creating and presenting new music. I think the festival will stand as a major achievement of the millennium celebrations, and this award is one indication of its impact."

The Hancher-commissioned chamber-music world premieres were: five commissions and three world premieres on the "Traveling Music" concert of the Kronos Quartet, Sept. 15, 1999; Paul Schoenfield’s "Four Music Videos" on the Jan. 27, 2000, performance of the Ahn Trio; Steve Martland’s "Hard Times" on the April 8, 2000, concert of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Bang on a Can All-Stars; Richard Danielpour’s "A Child’s Reliquary" on the April 13, 2000, concert of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio; Cedar Rapids composer Michael Daugherty’s "Used Car Salesman" on the April 18, 2000, concert of the Ethos Percussion Group; and Gabriela Ortiz’s "Baalkah," along with six more world premieres, on the May 3, 2000, concert of the Kronos Quartet and soprano Dawn Upshaw.

Also recognized with the award was the concert by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott, which included compositions by John Corigliano, Peter Schickele and Richard Danielpour from the late 1990s.

The educational and audience-development activities surrounding the concerts included:

-- "Who Was Isaac the Blind? An Evening of Jewish Mysticism and Klezmer Music" the night before the September Kronos concert;

-- residencies by the Ahn Trio in Iowa City, Decorah, Burlington and Pella as part of Hancher’s three-year Network Project;

-- an interactive event by Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott with students at 20 schools around the state over the Iowa Communication Network (ICN);

-- UI School of Music workshops with musicians from the Bang on a Can All-Stars;

-- a performance/discussion by the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio at the Iowa City Public Library, broadcast on the library’s cable channel;

-- a three-and-a-half-week residency by the Ethos Percussion Group including events at 12 -- elementary and junior high schools in six communities and an ICN broadcast; and

-- a master class by Dawn Upshaw for UI and University of Northern Iowa students that was viewed by an audience of 300.

CMA is the national service organization for the chamber music field with a mission to make chamber music a vital part of American culture. The organization has more than 6,000 members including professional ensembles, presenters, festivals, training institutions, individuals, amateurs, enthusiasts, music businesses, composers, artist managers, educators, students and libraries.

CMA plays a direct role in supporting a wide variety of artistic pursuits, including performances, touring, educational programs and the commissioning of new repertoire. The eighth blackbird residency this month is just one example of the Hancher programming that has been financially supported by CMA.

Major support for the Hancher Millennium Festival chamber music commissions, concerts and residencies was provided by Procter & Gamble, CMA’s "A Musical Celebration of the Millennium," the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wallace-Reader’s Digest Funds and Iowa State Bank & Trust Company.

In addition to CMA, the eighth blackbird residency is supported by West Music Company and Group 5 Hospitality/Radisson Highlander Plaza. The Iowa City Press-Citizen is the corporate sponsor of the "Ravenshead" performances.

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