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Release: March 29, 2001

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents April 17 Hancher-sponsored concert at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will perform works by Beethoven, Villa-Lobos, Debussy and mystical contemporary English composer John Tavener at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 17 in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus, presented by Hancher Auditorium.

In various configurations, soprano Heidi Grant Murphy, flutist Ransom Wilson, violinist Ida Kavafian, violist Paul Neubauer and harpist Heidi Lehwalder will perform Beethoven’s Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola; the Suite for Soprano and Violin by Villa-Lobos; Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp; and "To a Child Dancing in the Wind" for Soprano, Flute, Viola and Harp by Tavener, set to a poem by Yeats.

Before the concert, the City High Madrigal Singers of Iowa City, under the direction of Greg Grove, will perform two choral works by Tavener, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Clapp lobby.

Ransom Wilson will conduct a flute master class at 7 p.m. Monday, April 16 in Clapp Recital Hall. Beginning as a protege of Jean-Pierre Rampal, Wilson has become America’s most-recorded classical flutist and is the winner of two Grammy Awards. The public is welcome to observe the master class, free of charge.

Works by Beethoven, Debussy and Villa-Lobos are staples of the concert repertoire, but the works that will be performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center are rarely performed in concert because of the unusual vocal/instrumental combinations they require.

Tavener’s compositions, with their neo-medieval aura, have been increasingly performed and recorded in recent years. A devout follower of the Russian Orthodox Church, Tavener strives for the purity of expression found in chant and other early musics. His work is often compared to that of contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Part, who also takes inspirations from deep, traditional religious faith and medieval musical sources.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Artistic Director David Shifrin says of this spring’s tour concert: "This program centers on Debussy’s unique Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. This sonata was one of three completed sonatas from a set of six that Debussy had intended to write during his final days.

"The incredible range and colors of this work have inspired numerous composers to write for the same ensemble. In Tavener’s case he added the wonderful dimension of the human voice. This was our opportunity to weave the great artistry of Heidi Grant Murphy into the mix of the program."

Murphy, who has been described as "a shimmering soprano with an enchanting stage presence," emerged from the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artist Development Program into a career that has already taken her to the stages of the Met, the Salzburg Festival, the Frankfurt Opera, the Netherlands Opera, the Tanglewood Festival, the Opera National de Paris and the Santa Fe Opera. She has been engaged as soloist with orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony.

A New York Newsday critic wrote, ""There are not many singers more qualified to represent the forces of heaven among us: With her silvery voice and porcelain refinement, Murphy radiates purity."

For more than three decades the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has been the resident company at Lincoln Center devoted to the creation and performance of chamber music. Its pioneering structure -- a core group of distinguished Artist Members augmented by invited guests -- creates the flexibility to present concerts and tours of every instrumentation, style and historical period.

In 1999, in honor of the organization’s 30th anniversary, Musical America selected the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center as its Ensemble of the Year.

The organization now presents more than 100 concerts each season, including approximately 45 concerts outside New York City. The Hancher-presented concert in Clapp Recital Hall is part of a 10-city tour for this Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center ensemble.

The Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation of Marshalltown is the sponsor of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center concert, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets are $28 ($10 for UI students, $22.40 for senior citizens and $14 for audience members 17 and younger) from the Hancher box office.

Box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

For UI arts information, visit <> on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>. Learn more about the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at <>.