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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 20, 2003

UI, Concert Bands Present Joint Concert March 5

The University and Concert Bands from the University of Iowa School of Music will present a joint concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 5 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

University Band is under the direction of UI graduate assistant Michael Knight. The Concert Band is directed by Kevin Kastens, a UI faculty member and director of the Hawkeye Marching Band. Graduate student Sean Harris will be a featured guest conductor with the Concert Band.

As major ensembles of the UI School of Music, the two bands are open to all UI students. Membership in the Concert Band is by audition. Their joint concert will be free and open to the public.

The University Band will play the Symphonic Dance No. 2, "The Maskers," by Clifton Williams, a band arrangement by Barbara Buchlman of "Blessed are They" from "A German Requiem" by Johannes Brahms, "Fortress" by Frank Ticheli, Rossini's "March for the Sultan Abdul Medjid," arranged for band by Douglas Townsend, and three movements from the Incidental Suite of Claude T. Smith.

Clifton Williams' Symphonic Dance No. 2, "The Maskers," is one of a group of five dances originally commissioned by the Minnie Steven Piper Foundation commemorating the 25th anniversary of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra. Williams rescored the work for band, as he did his Symphonic Dance No. 3, "Fiesta." "The Maskers" is programmatic only in that the listener's mind may conjure up visions of colorfully costumed dancers at a masked ball.

Frank Ticheli teaches composition at the University of Southern California. His works for orchestra, concert band, solo voice and chamber ensembles have been performed throughout North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia. "Fortress" is a five-section work based on the composer's score to a 1987 theater production of Moliere's "Don Juan." The sections depict the dual nature of the character, from the heroic to the sinister.

When the Sultan Abdul Medjid Khan of Turkey decided to have the military music of his army revised on a basis comparable to that of Western Europe, he invited Giuseppe Donizetti, brother of the renowned opera composer, Gaetano, to take over this task. The Italian musician remained in Turkey from 1832 until his death in 1856. During this time, Donizetti commissioned his brother and Gioacchino Rossini to write marches for the Sultan. Rossini's march, written in 1851 and originally titled "Marcia Militare," had been lost for many years until it was discovered in 1965 and rescored for the modern concert band.

Following the performance by the University Band, the Concert Band will play five works. Kastens will conduct "Gavorkna Fanfare" by Jack Stamp, "Chorale and Alleluia" by Howard Hanson, "Symphonic Movement" by Vaclav Nelhybel and the "Galop" from "Genevieve de Brabant" by Jacques Offenbach, arranged for band by John R. Bourgeois. Harris will lead the band in the "Jubilee Overture" of Philip Sparke.

Howard Hanson was one of the most influential American composers and music educators of the 20th century. He was director of the Eastman School of Music for 40 years, 1924-64, and his accessible, neo-Romantic works were widely played during his lifetime. Hanson's "Chorale and Alleluia" was completed in January 1954 and was Hanson's first work for symphonic band. The composition opens with a flowing chorale. Soon the joyous Alleluia theme appears and is in much evidence throughout. A bold statement of a new melody appears in the low brass in combination with the previous themes. The effect is one of cathedral bells, religious exaltation, solemnity and dignity.

Czech composer Vaclav Nelhybel described "Symphonic Movement" as "my first composition for band written on a symphonic level." Its symmetrical design includes five separate sections. The entire work is based on an eight-note scale that is first stated in wide rhythmic spacing and later grouped in a closer melodic sequence. The remaining four tones of the 12-tone scale are employed only twice; first, as counterpoint to the first entrance of the principal theme, and then as counterpoint to the last entrance of the theme stated by the brass.

The "Jubilee Overture" was commissioned by the GUS Brass Band to celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 1983. The band gets its name from its sponsor, Gus Footwear, Ltd. The GUS Band is one of the most recorded and traveled brass bands in England. The composer states that he used the notes GUS in the opening: G is the note G, U for Ut, which is the equivalent of do, or C, in Europe, and S is Es , which equals E-flat in German.

Kastens is associate professor of music and associate director of bands at the UI. He directs the Hawkeye Marching Band and the Concert Band, teaches band arranging and marching band techniques, and is the director of the All-State Music Camp.

Kastens has presented workshops and clinics on marching band techniques and computer drill design and appeared as guest conductor throughout the Midwest and Canada. He has had numerous articles published on instrumental music education in The Instrumentalist and other professional publications.

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

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