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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 25, 2003

UI Symphony Band Opens 2003-04 Season Oct. 10

The University of Iowa Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble and their conductor, Myron Welch, will present their first concert of the 2003-04 season at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, featuring organist Delbert Disselhorst as guest performer, will be free and open to the public. The concert will also feature UI doctoral student Kenneth Thompson as guest conductor.

The Chamber Wind Ensemble will open the concert with one of the few original band works of the 19th century, the "Petite Symphonie" (Little symphony) by Charles Gounod.

The full Symphony Band will perform four works: "Amber" from "Colours" by Roger Cichy; a new work first performed in 2001, "Alchemy in Silent Spaces" by Steven Bryant, with Thompson conducting; "The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart" by Percy Grainger, with Disselhorst as organ soloist; and a classic of the concert band repertoire, the Symphony No. 3 of American composer Vittorio Gianini.

During the last two decades of his life, Gounod devoted most of his time to writing sacred works that he thought would ensure his place in posterity. However, the "Petite Symphonie" for winds is one of the few works of that period that did survive.

It was written in 1885 for flutist Paul Taffanel, who had established a Society for Wind Chamber Music in 1879. The society had two purposes: to revive interest in French masterpieces for wind instruments from past generations, and to stimulate an interest in writing chamber music for winds among contemporary composers.

Freelance composer and arranged Roger Cichy writes for high school and college bands, professional orchestras and the commercial music industry. The recipient of many wards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), he has completed more than 250 works, ranging from small ensemble pieces to works for marching band, concert band and symphonies.

Composed in 1997, "Colours" is an impressionistic work with each of its six movements representing a different color. It was commissioned by the Kansas State University Bands and first performed May 10, 1997, with the composer conducting. "Amber," the first movement of the suite, is a brilliant fanfare concert opener.

"Alchemy in Silent Spaces" is a three-movement work in which several musical ideas are transformed through various stages into extensive symphonic themes, and then over a "precipice" where all melodic material is unraveled into a chaotic, frenzied blur. It was commissioned by the Indiana University Wind Ensemble, which gave its first performance.

An eccentric personality and a sensational pianist, Percy Grainger was born in Australia. He came to the United States in 1915 and served in the U.S. Army Music School during World War I, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1919. He lived near New York City and was for many years head of the music department at New York University. He was one of the first composers to write original works for the modern concert band.

Grainger wrote about "The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart," "Just as the early Christians found themselves in conflict with the power of ancient Rome so, at all times and places, the Individual Conscience is apt to feel itself threatened or coerced by the Forces of Authority -- and especially in wartime. Men who hate killing are forced to be soldiers, and other men, though not unwilling to be soldiers, are horrified to find themselves called upon to fight in the ranks of their enemies,

"The sight of young recruits doing bayonet practice in the First World War gave me the first impulse to this composition, which, however, is not in any sense program music and does not portray the drama of actual events. It is merely the unfoldment of musical feelings that were started by thoughts of the eternal agony of the Individual Soul in conflict with the Powers that Be."

Giannini taught composition at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia. Although he began his career as a violinist, he was familiar with the concert band through his father's affiliation with the Philadelphia Royal Marine Band. His Symphony No. 3 was commissioned by the Duke University Band in 1958 and is one of the first major symphonies written for band.

Disselhorst has been a member of the UI School of Music faculty since 1970. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in music from the University of Illinois, where he graduated as a Bronze Tablet Scholar. As a recipient of a Fulbright grant in organ, he also studied at the Staatliche Hochschule fuer Musik in Frankfurt, Germany. He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan.

As a concert artist, Disselhorst has performed in the United States, Canada and Europe. He has appeared as a recitalist for several regional conventions and for the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Houston, Texas, in 1989. He has recorded the Organ Books of Ned Rorem and "Prophesies" by Daniel Pinkham on the Arkay Label.

Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980. In addition to conducting the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, Welch teaches courses in instrumental methods and conducting, and is coordinator of the Iowa Honor Band. He was recently named a Collegiate Fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in recognition of years of distinguished teaching, research and service to the college.

Prior to joining the UI faculty Welch was director of bands and coordinator of music education at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Michigan State University and a doctorate in music education from the University of Illinois.

Welch is past president of the American Bandmasters Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters Association. He is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with bands throughout the United States..

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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