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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 29, 2003

Stefon Harris Quartet Opens Hancher Auditorium Season

The Stefon Harris Quartet, led by the most acclaimed young vibes/marimba player in jazz, will open the 2003-04 season at the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium with a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20.

The concert will conclude a four-day residency, during which Harris will conduct a master class with students in the UI School of Music, present a Stage Door series matinee performance/discussion for area school groups and collaborate with poets in the International Writing Program (IWP).

The public is invited to observe master class, at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, in Room 1061 of the Voxman Music Building, free of charge.

Harris and the IWP poets will work together for two evenings, and present the results in a free cafe performance at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19 in the Wheelroom of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Critic Andrew Bartlett wrote, "It's been a long time since a vibraphonist made anything like a splash in jazz. But Stefon Harris is going to change all that." A New York Times feature declared that Harris is "quickly becoming one of jazz's most watch-able figures." And Los Angeles Times critic Don Heckman wrote, "If any single young artist is going to be a major star in the next few years, it's Harris."

In his own ensembles and recordings, and in his work with jazz stars including Charlie Hunter, Greg Osby, Wynton Marsalis, Joe Henderson and Cassandra Wilson, Harris has drawn favorable comparisons to legendary vibes player Bobby Hutcherson.

Voted Best New Talent by Jazziz magazine, and profiled in downbeat magazine's issue on jazz stars of the future, he is already widely recognized as one of Generation X's jazz torch-bearers, both honoring the tradition and stretching its limits.

Harris recorded two critically acclaimed Blue Note albums in a small-group setting, "A Cloud of Red Dust" and "Black Action Figure," and co-led a quartet with pianist Jacky Terrasson on "Kindred," picking up two Grammy Award nominations along the way.

Harris then expanded his vision with an 11-movement suite he composed, arranged and recorded as "The Grand Unification Theory," a 70-minute epic combining swing, groove, balladry and tinges of Latin, African and classical influences.

The IWP, a unique residency program for foreign writers, is hosting 25 established writers from 21 countries this fall.

IWP poets collaborating with Harris will be Shimon Adaf from Israel; staff member Chad Chmielowicz, a graduate of the Writers' Workshop; Denisa Comanescu from Romania; Dutch writer Maria von Daalen, a past IWP participant; Matthias Goeritz from Germany; Gintaras Grajauskas from Lithuania; Hoang Ly from Vietnam; Jeong Han Yong from South Korea; Kim Won-Chung from Korea; Baralong Seboni from Botswana; Gabor Szanto from Hungary; and Marcin Sendecki from Poland.

The corporate sponsor of the Stefon Harris Quartet is Chezik-Sayers Imports, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets to the Sept. 20 concert are $30, $28 and $25. Zone 2 and 3 tickets are available to UI students for $12. Zone 1 tickets and all tickets for senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

Tickets are also available at a discount through Hancher's volume-purchase plan. The simultaneous purchase of tickets for three or more events qualifies for a discount. The simultaneous purchase of six or more events qualifies for a 20-percent discount. Groups of 20 or more also qualify for discounts on tickets to most Hancher events.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website:

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:

Learn more about Stefon Harris at his Blue Note Records site, For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

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