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Release: Oct. 22, 2001

University Choir to feature songs of death, life in free concert Oct. 28

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University Choir from the University of Iowa School of Music will perform works with texts about death and life as part of a free concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, under the direction of UI Director of Choral Activities Timothy Stalter, will also include pieces related to the biblical figure of King David.

University Choir is a select, advanced choir of 50 to 60 singers, primarily undergraduate students. The group presents concerts of its own each semester, in addition to participating in combined choral performances with the University Symphony.

The first half of the Oct. 28 program will comprise pieces about King David and his life, as well as settings of Psalms associated with him. Among the shorter works on this portion of the program will be "The last words of David" by American composer Randall Thompson, "Blessed be God" by George Frideric Handel and "Jubilate Deo" by Benjamin Britten.

The final piece on this portion of the concert will be a work that Stalter describes as "a bit of an oddity": the first movement of the "Psalmkonzert" (Concert of Psalms) by German composer Heinz Werner Zimmerman. A setting of Psalm 96, "Singet dem Herrn" (Sing to the Lord a new song), the movement is characterized by jazz rhythms and harmonies and features an accompaniment by three trumpets, vibraphone and string bass.

Stalter said, "In the second half of the concert, an emphasis is placed on our response to life in light of our mortality." The songs will progress from those about death to more life-affirming texts: "Carols of Death" by William Schuman, followed by "Hark, I hear the harps eternal," a spiritual arranged by Alice Parker; "Ain't got time to die" by Hall Johnson, "Life is now" by Oscar Ahnfelt; and -- about as optimistic as any text ever sung -- "The best of all possible worlds" from "Candide" by Leonard Bernstein.

Stalter joined the UI faculty as director of choral activities in 1999. He directs Kantorei, the premier choral ensemble of the School of Music, teaches graduate conducting courses, and administers the graduate program in choral conducting. He has research interests in teaching conducting to undergraduate and graduate students and historical music performance practices. An active member of the American Choral Directors Association, he frequently presents clinics and workshops in choral conducting around the United States.

In addition to conducting and teaching choral music, Stalter is active as a tenor soloist in the United States and abroad. A specialist in the music of the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods, he is known for his performances as the Evangelist in the Passions of J.S. Bach and Heinrich Schuetz. He has appeared as tenor soloist with the Newfoundland Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in France, the Robert Shaw Chamber Choir in Atlanta, the Classical Music Seminar and Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, and the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. He has recorded as tenor soloist with conductor Robert Shaw on two compact discs released on the Telarc label.

Prior to coming to the UI, Stalter was on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Goshen College in Indiana. He received a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied with renowned choral conductor Robert Fountain, and a masters from the University of Illinois, where he studied with Don Moses, who was UI director of choral activities in the 1980s.

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

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