CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 11, 2002
Guest Conductor Leads UI Symphony Band Oct. 25
Guest conductor Andrew Mast will lead the University of Iowa Symphony Band
in a concert including a 9/11 memorial piece by UI graduate Andrew Boysen,
Jr., at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
Mast, who is director of bands and music education specialist at St. Ambrose
University in Davenport, is standing in for Myron Welch, UI director of bands,
who is on sabbatical. The concert will be free and open to the public.
Mast has selected five works for the program: the Smetana Fanfare
by Karel Husa; Theme and Variations, op 43a, by Arnold Schoenberg; Boysens
Grant Them Eternal Rest; Donald Hunsbergers band arrangement
of J.S. Bachs Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor; and the Fantasia in
G by UI alumnus and former Symphony Band trombonist Timothy Mahr.
The director of bands at the University of New Hampshire, Boysen has an undergraduate
degree from the UI and is a former member of the Symphony Band. Grant
Them Eternal Rest was commissioned by Mast and the St. Ambrose band
and is dedicated to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. The piece
follows the general outline of a Requiem Mass, but without voices, with five
movements based on liturgical texts: Introit, Kyrie, Dies Irae, Sanctus and
Boysen explained the origin of his score: Mast and I are very good
friends and I was extremely honored when he asked me to write a piece for
him and his ensemble. He and I discussed various approaches to the commission
and eventually we settled on a multi-movement work that would reflect various
aspects of childhood. I was almost ready to begin the work and spent part
of the Sept. 8-9 weekend finalizing ideas. All of that changed, of course,
on the 11th.
The overwhelming emotions that I experienced on that Tuesday were something
that I had never before experienced in relationship to an event outside my
personal sphere. I simply cant explain them. I simply knew that I wanted
to express them somehow. Mast agreed that changing the focus of the pieces
might be a worthy and appropriate thing to do, so I set to work on the new
The concept of the piece is expressed clearly in the title. I have
no interest in exploring or re-living the moments of that day. Instead the
work is simply a prayer to bless those who died so needlessly. Each movement
is intended to reflect the text of the Requiem Mass. I chose the five movements
whose text most accurately reflected the emotions that I wished to convey.
Mahr, who has doctorate from the UI, is now director of bands at St. Olaf
College. He was playing in the UI Symphony Band when he wrote his Fantasia
in G, which was written for the St. Olaf College Band and was first performed
by them in January, 1983. Mahr describes the Fantasia as a joyful celebration
for winds and percussion. He wrote, the piece was inspired by
the opening line of Johann von Schillers poem Ode to Joy:
Joy, bright spark of divinity. This same text was used by Beethoven
in his famed Symphony No. 9.
Schoenberg's Theme and Variations, op. 43a, was written in 1943, ten years
after the composer escaped from Nazi Germany and came to the United States.
It was commissioned by Schoenbergs American publisher to help raise
the quality of music available for American bands. In the composers
words, it was written to give a group of amateurs -- in this case, wind
bands -- something better to play. Nevertheless, it has proven very
difficult and is considered one of the major repertoire pieces for leading
symphonic wind groups.
The score comprises a 21-bar theme and seven variations that are played continuously.
Written after Schoenberg had abandoned an exclusively atonal approach to composition,
the Theme and Variations have a clearly defined G-minor tonality.
Mast has been at St. Ambrose University since 1999. He conducts the universitys
Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble, serves as department chair, and teaches
conducting, music education methods and instrumental technique courses. In
the spring of 1999 he was named music director of the Quad City Wind Ensemble
and is founder and music director of the new Quad City Area Youth Wind Symphony.
Mast received a doctorate and undergraduate degrees from the UI, as well
as with a masters degree from the University of Minnesota. He has taught
instrumental music in the Urbandale and Madrid, Ia., schools, and was director
of bands at Shakopee High School in Minnesota. He belongs to professional
associations including the Iowa Bandmasters Association, College Band
Directors National Association, National Band Association, Music Educators
National Conference, International Tuba and Euphonium Association and the
World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.
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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