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Release: Nov. 16, 2001


'REALLY NEW MUSIC FOR HORN' AT MUSEUM OF ART NOV. 30 -- Horn player and composer Jeffrey Agrell and pianist Evan Mazunik will team up to present "Really New Music for Horn and Piano" as part of the continuing series "A Breath of Art" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30 in the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

A collaborative project between the Museum of Art and the UI Division of Performing Arts, "A Breath of Art" is a series of musical performances held Friday evenings in the museum. The performance by Agrell and Mazunik will be the final "Breath of Art" event for the fall semester.

Admission will be free to the museum and the performance.

Agrell and Mazunik will perform five pieces on the program, all of them involving some degree of improvisation by both players. They will play Agrell's "Night Sonata," "Divertimento for Horn, Piano and Audience" and "Repercussion," Mazunik's "Symbol Pleasures" and a new piece by Agrell, "September Elegy," that was written in remembrance of the Sept. 11 tragedies.

"This concert represents a very unusual musical adventure for the horn," Agrell said. "As the most Classical of the brass instruments, the horn is not often used for improvisation."

"The improvisation on this program is neither jazz in style, nor 'free' improvisation. The goal of the performers here is to improvise in the original sense of composing on the spot in the mood of the piece. Improvisation in this sense has both unity and variety, both structure and surprise, activity and repose."

"The other special aspect of the program is the newness‚ of the pieces. 'Night Sonata' was written 11 months ago and premiered nine months ago, and the other pieces are all less than two months old. One piece, the 'Divertimento for Horn, Piano, and Audience,' will be completely improvised from suggestions from the audience.

"The 'September Elegy' arose as an expression of grief from the events of Sept. 11, and is unusual in that it uses a natural horn without valves -- the original 18th-century instrument -- for improvisation."

Agrell is a visiting faculty member in the School of Music, where he teaches undergraduate horn, directs the Horn Choir, coaches chamber music and performs with the Iowa Brass Quintet. Before coming to Iowa, he was a member of U.S. Army Bands from 1970 to 1973 and was associate principal horn with the Lucerne (Switzerland) Symphony Orchestra from 1975 until 2000. During that time he also performed chamber music throughout Europe.

Agrell began composing and arranging during his college years and played jazz guitar and electronic music in the 1980s. For the past decade he has had a steady stream of commissions from professional chamber music ensembles. His Rhythm Suite for Clarinet and Marimba was the winner of the 2000 composition contest of the International Clarinet Association. His works have appeared on CD and have been broadcast on radio and television nationally and internationally.

Mazunik is an undergraduate student majoring in piano performance with School of Music faculty member Rene Lecuona. An improviser who works in a variety of idioms, ranging from jazz to third stream to experimental, he is the pianist for several university ensembles, including Johnson County Landmark jazz band and the Iowa Jazztet. He recently completed writing the score to the documentary "Checker King," and he leads an improvisatory ensemble on campus, Sound Painting.

M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art, Inc. of Iowa City is the corporate sponsor for public events at the UI Museum of Art during the 2001-02 season, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at

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UI JAZZ LAB BAND CONCERT DEC. 1 -- The Jazz Lab Band from the University of Iowa School of Music will present a free concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The band, under the direction of jazz faculty member Brent Sandy, will perform big band arrangements of music by Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn, Charles Mingus and Horace Silver, among others. Featured guest performers will be guitarist Steve Grismore and drummer/ percussionist James Dreier, both adjunct faculty in the jazz program.

The concert will also represent the first performance of a new group in the jazz program, the Afro-Cuban Drum Ensemble led by Dreier. Made up of percussion area majors in the UI School of Music, the Afro-Cuban Drum Ensemble explores the drumming and musical dialects of the Afro-Cuban folkloric music of Cuba, including Rumba, Arara, Lyesa, Conga de Comparsa, Bembe and Mozambique.

Sandy, who joined the jazz faculty in 2000, is a jazz trumpet and flugelhorn performer, teacher and clinician. Sandy performs regularly with local jazz groups including the Orquesta de Jazz y Salsa Alto Maiz, the Oddbar Trio and Equilateral. As a member of the Orquesta Alto Maiz and Oddbar he has made seven CDs, toured Europe in 1998 and was twice been featured on "Jazzset with Branford Marsalis" on National Public Radio. He is an educational specialist/clinician and Conn Vintage One artist with United Musical Instruments, a division of United Musical Instruments, USA, and serves on the board of directors of the Iowa City Jazz Festival.

Grismore has been a part of the Iowa City jazz scene for many years. He is currently executive director of the Iowa City Jazz Festival, performs with the Orquesta de Jazz y Salsa Alto Maiz and teaches at the UI and Augustana College. He has recorded two CDs for the Accurate label with the Grismore/Scea Group. He has performed and recoded with a number of esteemed jazz artists, including Charlie Haden, Steve Swallow, Carla Bley, Paul Smoker and Vinny Golia.

An Iowa native, Dreier played jazz in Boston for nine years and studied music and percussion in Cuba and Brazil. He is a member of the Orquesta de Jazz y Salsa Alto Maiz and plays with other groups in eastern Iowa, in addition to his teaching duties at the UI and Augustana College. His performance and recording credits include appearances with Victor Mendoza, George Garzone and Willie Pickens.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.