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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 27, 2004

UI Electronic Music Studio Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Sept. 5 Concert

The Electronic Music Studios in the University of Iowa School of Music will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a free concert featuring works for 16-channel sound, video, video and voice, and cello and electronics at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

In one of the featured works, mezzo-soprano Katherine Eberle from the UI School of Music faculty will perform "Natural Language" by Lawrence Fritts, the director of the Electronic Music Studios (EMS). "Natural Language" was written for Eberle and premiered by her on a faculty recital last spring.

Other works on the concert will be new pieces by UI composition students Scott Shoemaker, Tohm Judson, Paul Brenner, Rachel Foote, Evan Kuchar, Anne Guthrie and Christopher Diehl.

Fritts' "Natural Language" was created for Eberle as part of "Sounding Voice," a research project that she conducted during the spring semester of 2004 with support from the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

"This piece written for my voice allows me to sing a duet with myself, which is very fun to perform" Eberle said. "It is so interesting how Prof. Fritts took sounds I recorded in a soundproof anechoic chamber and made chords that make it sound as though I am singing with a choir, along with various speech and singing sounds. It is truly unique and very interesting."

Digital images to accompany the performance have been created by Sue Hettmansperger from the faculty of the UI School of Art and Art History.

"The digital imagery is of a leaf form grafted to a painting of the vocal tract ligaments," Eberle said. "The whole work becomes an unusual blend of art, music and text."

"The commission began with the idea of me singing duets with myself," Eberle explained. "In May of 2003, I went into the UI Anechoic Chamber -- a truly soundproof room with no reverberation -- and recorded a variety of vocal improvisations in both speech and song. Fritts took these sounds and created a vocal accompaniment, which play while I sing along.

"I then approached Hettmansperger to create a painting -- 'Chimera V' -- to be displayed during my recital program. Her work with Fritts impressed me deeply. Visual art for me has always been fascinating, but for me it is enhanced even more when viewed while listening to music."

Eberle has performed internationally in opera, concert and solo recitals. In the past 10 years she has performed in more than 45 professional engagements with orchestras, choral organizations and chamber music groups. Concert credits include solo performances with symphonies in Detroit, Lansing and Saginaw, Mich.; and Atlanta, Macon, Rome, and Valdosta, Ga.

Eberle's extensive performing schedule has not deterred her active work as a clinician and master class teacher. Since 1990 she has given college-level master classes in the United States, Argentina, Korea, Peru and Brazil. She has appeared as guest lecturer at the Summer Vocology Institute at the National Center for Voice and Speech and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Her high school-level vocal workshops in Iowa have introduced young, aspiring artists to her teaching. In recent summers she has given master classes at the UI All State Music Camp.

The Electronic Music Studios have been part of the composition program at the UI School of Music for 40 years. By offering a traditional emphasis on the compositional aspects of electronic media, the studios have helped prepare Iowa's graduates for composing, research and teaching careers at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Director Lawrence Fritts has brought the latest generation of technologies to the studios. Students and faculty now have access to three multiple-platform workstations that integrate SGI, Kyma, and Macintosh digital audio technology. Carefully maintained Moog, Arp and EMS analog synthesizers, along with other analog processing and control devices from the past 30 years, have also been integrated into the new systems to ensure that Iowa's composers have the broadest possible range of technologies available as compositional tools.

Fritts is a leading figure in electronic and acousmatic music. His works have been performed in Chicago by the Contemporary Chamber Players, the University of Chicago New Music Ensemble, New Music De Paul and New Music Chicago. His electronic works have also been featured in a series of concerts at Columbia College and have been broadcast in the United States and Europe. He has been interviewed on National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Company about the history of electronic music.

The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the UI encourages scholarly interaction to explore broad frontiers of knowledge and investigate complex ideas and problems. Obermann Scholars are stimulated by informal exchange of ideas with scholars from other disciplines and by uninterrupted blocks of time in which to pursue their research. Obermann Scholars have published numerous scholarly books and articles and have won millions of dollars in competitive external research funding for projects started at the Center.

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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