CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: June 15, 2001
UI Summer Orchestra will present a pops concert in the park June 28
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra will recreate
a great American summer musical tradition -- the "pops" concert
in the park -- at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 28 at the Riverside Festival Stage
in City Park in Iowa City.
The free concert, under the direction of William LaRue Jones, will feature
soprano Susan Jones and baritone John Muriello singing selections from Broadway
musicals and operetta, as well as light classical favorites and orchestral
arrangements of Broadway selections.
The first half of the concert will open with two of the most popular pieces
from the light classical repertoire: The Hungarian March from "The Damnation
of Faust" by Hector Berlioz and the "Blue Danube" Waltz by
Johann Strauss, Jr.
Completing the first portion of the program, Jones and Muriello will sing
selections from "A Little Night Music" by Stephen Sondheim, including
Sondheims greatest popular hit, "Send in the Clowns."
After an intermission, the orchestra will return to perform Symphonic Impressions
from Meredith Willsons Broadway tribute to his Iowa boyhood, "The
Music Man." Jones and Muriello will sing the "Fly" Duet from
Jacques Offenbachs "Orpheus in the Underworld," and the concert
will conclude with selections from Leonard Bernsteins Broadway classic,
"West Side Story," as arranged for orchestra by Jack Mason.
In 1846, Berlioz was preparing for a concert tour in Hungary. To appeal to
Hungarian nationalists he decided to include a Hungarian tune in his repertoire.
He arranged a folk tune associated with a Hungarian national hero, Ferencz
Rakoczy. Known to Hungarians as the "Rakoczy March," it had been
used by a Hungarian regiment as they went into battle against Napoleon.
The orchestral version of this march was so successful that Berlioz later
incorporated it into his opera/oratorio "The Damnation of Faust,"
even though the original Faust legend had nothing to do with Hungary. In Berliozs
altered scenario, the opening scene takes place on a Hungarian plain, where
Faust hears a Hungarian military band playing the march.
"An der schoenen, blauen Donau" (By the beautiful, blue Danube),
Op. 314, written in 1867, is probably the most famous of all of the hundreds
of pieces of dance music Johann Strauss wrote. As developed by Strauss, the
waltz is more than a social dance; it's a more complex musical form, consisting
of an introduction, a set of waltzes, and a closing coda.
In its original version for male chorus and orchestra, the "Blue Danube"
Waltz was not a success, but when a purely orchestral version made its way
to Paris and London, it became a hit that quickly spread all around the world
and back to Vienna. One climax of its early history came in 1872, when for
a fee of $100,000 plus expenses, Strauss went to Boston to conduct it in a
festival program of his works in which 20, 000 musicians performed with 100
conductors, for an audience of more than 100,000 people.
The concert includes music from three of Broadways most highly regarded
musicals, two of which -- "The Music Man" and "West Side Story"
-- debuted on Broadway in the same year, 1957.
"The Music Man" was the brainchild of Meredith Willson, a Mason
City native who wrote the books, lyrics and music based on his Iowa hometown
and the musical styles that were popular in his boyhood. After graduation
from high school, Willson had attended what is now the Juilliard School of
Music and played flute and piccolo in the John Philip Sousa Band and the New
York Philharmonic. During World War II he was the director of Armed Forces
Radio, and later had a successful career as a composer, performer and director
of music for several radio shows.
His greatest triumph, however, was with "The Music Man," which
opened on Broadway Dec. 19, 1957, and was later made into a movie. Several
of the songs in the show were extremely popular, including "Till There
was You," "Marian the Librarian" and particularly the song
for which he is best remembered, "76 Trombones." Willson is also
known at the UI as the composer of the Hawkeye Fight Song.
"West Side Story," which opened on Broadway only a few months before
"The Music Man," has remained one of the most popular and admired
musical shows of all time. Its book, which transplanted Shakespeares
"Romeo and Juliet" to New York, with rival ethnic street gangs in
place of the warring families, provided both a literary quality and an emotional
depth that most Broadway shows lack, while the music by one of Americas
most versatile and talented musicians -- pianist, conductor, educator and
composer of both Broadway and concert music, Leonard Bernstein -- is considered
some the best and most compelling music ever written for the Broadway stage.
Bernstein, like Willson, never again achieved equivalent success on Broadway,
although he was for many years one of the most prominent classical orchestral
conductors in the world.
The lyricist for "West Side Story" was a 27-year-old prodigy making
his first appearance on Broadway. Within five years, Stephen Sondheim had
created the first of many musicals for which he wrote both lyrics and music
-- "A Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Forum," produced on
Broadway in 1962. One of his most successful shows, "A Little Night Music,"
is a sophisticated adaptation of the Ingmar Bergman film of adult relationships
and betrayals, "Smiles of a Summer Night." Sondheims musical
opened on Broadway in 1973 and ran for 600 performances.
The score is a nostalgic tribute to an earlier time, with each song a variation
on the triple-meter of waltz time. The most popular song Sondheim ever wrote,
"Send in the Clowns," was added at the last minute as a show-stopper
for star Glynis Johns. The show won five Tony awards, "Send in the Clowns"
won a Grammy in 1976, and Sondheim -- like Bernstein and Willson with their
1957 triumphs -- has never quite duplicated the popular success of "A
Little Night Music."
An alumna of the UI School of Music, Susan Jones is an adjunct professor
of voice and coordinator of the voice, opera and choral areas. She has had
an extremely diverse professional career, having appeared in opera and oratorio
throughout the Midwest, been a member of the renowned Dale Warland Singers
and the Bach Society of Minnesota, and sung solo recitals with a variety of
Opera roles include Corisande in the Baroque opera "Amadis" by
Jean-Baptiste Lully, Euridice in Offenbach's fanciful operetta "Orpheus
in the Underworld," roles in contemporary operas by Hans Werner Henze
and Giancarlo Menotti, and traditional operatic characters including all three
major female roles in Mozarts "Marriage of Figaro": the Countess,
Susanna and Cherubino.
A great deal of her career has focused on the teaching of singing, beginning
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Summer Music Clinic and extending to
faculty appointments at the UW Parkside and the MacPhail Center for the Arts
at the University of Minnesota. At the MacPhail Center she served as chair
of the voice department and initiated a series of Artist Master Classes that
has served as the model for similar programs throughout the country.
A singer whose work ranges from opera and operetta to concert and musical
theater, Muriello joined the UI School of Music faculty in the fall of 1997.
His most recent engagements include performances as Captain Corcoran in "H.M.S.
Pinafore" with the Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee, and the Riverside
theatres production of "Sweet and Hot."
Muriello has performed operatic and musical theater roles with Opera Carolina,
the Banff Centre in Canada, LOpera Francais of New York, Skylight Opera
Theater, Ohio Light Opera and the Southeastern Savoyards of Atlanta. He performed
as the Narrator and Mysterious Man in Sondheims "Into the Woods"
and Marcello in "La Boheme" for Lyric Opera Cleveland. Other roles
have ranged from Guglielmo in Mozarts "Cosi fan tutte" to
Voltaire in Bernsteins "Candide."
A UI music alumnus, William LaRue 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 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.
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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