CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Jan. 26, 2001
University of Iowa Symphony will start the New Year with the '2001' fanfare
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony will open its first concert
of the New Year -- at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7, in Hancher Auditorium on the
UI campus -- with the introduction to the Richard Strauss tone poem "Also
sprach Zarathustra," better known as the fanfare from the film "2001:
A Space Odyssey."
The concert, under the direction of William LaRue Jones, will also feature
cellist Amos Yang in a performance of Antonin Dvoraks Cello Concerto.
Other works on the concert, which will be free and open to the public, will
be "Huapango" by Mexican composer Jose Pablo Moncayo Garcia, and
Symphony No. 2 ("Mysterious Mountain") by American composer Alan
Strauss wrote "Also sprach Zarathustra" in 1896 as an attempt
to put into music his response to Friedrich Nietzsches philosophical
treatise describing humanitys development from primitive beginnings
to triumphant "superman." This program -- and the highly dramatic
nature of the music -- made the introduction ideal for the opening scenes
of Stanley Kubricks 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey," showing
the primitive beginnings of human development.
The last of several major works Dvorak composed in America, the Cello Concerto
was written in New York in 1894 and 95. Although it was inspired by
a Cello Concerto by Victor Herbert, Dvoraks concerto does not reflect
American influences. At the time he was working on the concerto, Dvorak had
turned his thoughts to his impending return to his beloved Bohemia.
During the composition of the concerto, he received word of the serious
illness of his sister-in-law, Josefina Kaunitzova. Saddened by the news, Dvorak
worked into the concertos slow movement the theme from a song of his
she had particularly admired, "Leave me alone." After Josefina died
in May, 1895, Dvorak changed the ending of the concerto to include a further,
wistful reference to the song.
Moncayo was a prominent figure in the musical life of mid-20th-century Mexico.
He studied with Carlos Chavez, the most prominent Mexican composer of the
time, and with Aaron Copland at the Tanglewood Music Center. Moncayos
works were known for their use of Mexican elements derived from both Hispanic
and pre-Columbian folk idioms. In 1935 Moncayo joined three other Mexican
composers to form the "Grupo de los Cuarto" (The group of four)
to advance the awareness and presentation of contemporary Mexican music, and
he wrote a number of chamber compositions for the groups concerts.
"Huapango," a type of Mexican dance, was Moncayos first
orchestral work. It was first performed by the Orquestra Sinfonica de Mexico,
conducted by Chavez, in 1941.
An American of Armenian-Scottish descent, Alan Hovhaness was a composer
of extensive cross-cultural interests. Introduced to Eastern European music
by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu at Tanglewood, Hovhaness studied Armenian
folk and religious music, traveled to India and Japan, and incorporated elements
of Asian styles in his compositions. He came to believe that music should
reflect the natural style of folk music, and all of his works have a strong
emphasis on melody. He wrote hundreds of works, including more than 60 symphonies,
several concertos and other concert works, film music, operas, ballets, choral
music, chamber music, songs and piano pieces.
The Symphony No. 2 was commissioned by the conductor Leopold Stokowski for
his debut with the Houston Symphony on Oct. 31, 1955. The title "Mysterious
Mountain" was added later in reference, the composer said, to an imaginary
place where "the mundane and spiritual worlds meet."
Yang is a member of the Maia Quartet, the quartet in residence at the UI
School of Music. Yang joined the group in 1996 after playing with the Deutsche
Kammerakademie (German Academy of Chamber Music) in Dusseldorf and the Buffalo
Philharmonic Orchestra. He has won first prize in the Grace Vamos Cello Competition
and the American String Teachers Association Cello Competition and was
a finalist in the Pierre Fournier Cello Competition. He has performed a wide
range of concertos and played chamber music with the Ying Quartet, pianist
Ann Schein and violinists Perrin Yang and Earl Carlyss.
Yang holds bachelors and masters degrees from the Juilliard
School. He also studied at the Eastman School of Music and in London, England,
under a grant from the Beebe Foundation. He attended the Tanglewood Music
Festival, where he received the C.D. Jackson Award for outstanding contribution
to the festival in 1994.
A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997
as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies.
Prior to joining the UI faculty, Jones was the founding music director/administrator
of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of
Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
Jones is a highly honored musician, having received the Twin Cities Mayors
Public Art Award, the American String Teachers Association Exceptional Leadership
and Merit Award and the David W. Preuss Leadership Award. He has also been
selected Musician of the Year by Sigma Alpha Iota , a music honorary society.
Jones is conductor of the Bloomington (Minn.) Symphony and has appeared
as a guest conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,
the Sinfonie Orchester AML-Luzern (Switzerland) and other orchestras around
the world. He has conducted all-state and festival orchestras in 46 states
and five Canadian provinces. He has been conductor-in-residence at the North
Carolina School of the Arts and the University of Miami (Fla.).
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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