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University of Iowa News Release

April 2, 2004

World Premiere On April 12 Concert By UI Symphony Band And New Horizons Band

The University of Iowa Symphony Band and saxophonist Kenneth Tse will present the world premiere of the "Concerto Agrariana" by John Cheetham on a concert under the direction of Myron Welch, at 8 p.m. Monday, April 12 in Hancher Auditorium.

The Symphony Band will share the program with the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center New Horizons Band and director Don Coffman. Their joint concert will be free and open to the public.

Opening the concert, the New Horizons Band will play four pieces. Coffman will conduct one of the classics of the concert band repertoire, the "Folk Song Suite" of Ralph Vaughan Williams, and a band arrangement of J.S. Bach's Prelude and Fugue in B-flat major, BWV 553.

Two guest conductors will also appear with the New Horizons Band: Dameon Place will lead an arrangement of Ernesto Lecuona's light classical favorite "Malaguena," and Erin Wehr-Flowers will lead "Themes Like Old Times," a medley of popular songs from the early 20th century including "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" and "Twelfth Street Rag."

Welch will lead the UI Symphony Band in Eugene Bozza's "Children's Overture," "Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo" by Gustav Holst, Cheetham's "Concerto Agrariana" and "Tam O'Shanter" by Malcolm Arnold.

The combined bands will close the concert, playing Percy Grainger's "Irish tune from County Derry" -- an arrangement of the Irish ballad popularly known as "Danny Boy" -- and the "Emblem of Unity" march by John J. Richards.

Commissioned by Tse Welch and the UI Symphony Band with funding from a UI Arts and Humanities Initiative Grant, the "Concerto Agrariana" is the second work Cheetham has written for Tse. The composer said his concerto "pays tribute to the rugged determination and inherent resourcefulness of the pioneers who settled the rural Midwest." Cheetham attempted to represent musically what painters Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton portrayed visually.

"Folk-like melodies and harmonies give the concerto a distinctly 'American ruralist' character," Cheetham wrote. "This quality is further enhanced by punctuated rhythms that are sometimes asymmetric and unpredictable. The versatile saxophone with its inherent ability to 'sing' offers an ideal instrument with which to express these ideas."

Cheetham is professor emeritus at the University of Missouri-Columbia. During his tenure at Missouri from 1969 to 2000, he wrote compositions for virtually all media, and his works have been performed in the United States and abroad.

The New Horizons Band provides opportunities for adults 50 and older to learn or resume playing a musical instrument and enjoy playing with others. Rehearsing at the Iowa City/Johnson County Senior Center, it includes both novices and players who are reacquainting themselves with their instruments. Since its establishment in 1995 the program has grown from 24 to 68 members and has expanded to include four bands -- the concert band, plus polka, swing and Dixieland bands -- with a total of more than 200 performances.

It is part of a nationwide New Horizons Project sponsored by the National association of Music Merchants and the National Association of Band Instrument Manufacturers. More information is available on the web at or .

Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980. In addition to conducting the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, Welch directs the graduate program in band conducting, teaches conducting and band literature, and coordinates the Iowa Honor Band. He was recently named a Collegiate Fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts 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.

Tse joined the UI faculty in the fall of 2002. As a Yamaha performing artist and Vandoren endorsed artist, Tse is an active international performer and clinician. He has given performances and master classes in many parts of Asia, Europe and the United States. Many composers have written pieces for him, including saxophone sonatas, saxophone concertos, solo and chamber works by David DeBoor Canfield, John Cheetham and Leonard Mark Lewis.

Upon his 1996 Carnegie Hall debut, the New York Times heralded Tse as "a young virtuoso" and the Herald Times described his playing as "virtuosic brilliance" with a "beauteous, ever-so-smooth voice." Saxophone Journal wrote, "Every aspect of saxophone performance has been refined to the 'nth' degree: His ability to bring out the lyricism of any line no matter how active or convoluted is breath taking."

Tse studied at Indiana University with the internationally acclaimed American artist and teacher Eugene Rousseau, who is a UI graduate. He has appeared as a soloist with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Hong Kong Wind Philharmonia, Indiana University Wind Ensemble, Baylor University Wind Ensemble, Emory University Wind Ensemble, Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony and Des Moines Symphony, among others. He has solo compact disc recordings on Crystal Records, RIAX Records and Enharmonic Records. He is currently the membership director for the North American Saxophone Alliance.

More information about Tse is available on his Web site, at http://

A member of the music education faculty at the University of Iowa, Coffman has more than 20 years of teaching experience spanning all age levels. He currently teaches courses in conducting, methods for teaching instrumental music in schools, psychology of music and techniques for researching and measuring musical behaviors.

An active researcher in life-long learning in music, he is research chair for Iowa's Music Educators Association and a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Research in Music Education, published by the Music Educators National Conference. His articles regularly appear in music education research journals including the Journal of Research in Music Education, Update, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Psychology of Music and Psychomusicology.

He holds a master's degree from Wichita State University and a doctorate from the University of Kansas.

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

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

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