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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 23, 2004

Pianist O'Riley Will Solo With UI Symphony Orchestra

International concert and recording artist Christopher O'Riley will be the piano soloist with the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra, conducted by William LaRue Jones, in a concert presented jointly by Hancher Auditorium and the UI School of Music at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11.

Continuing the annual collaboration of Hancher and major ensembles of the School of Music, O'Riley will be soloist in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2, and the UI Symphony will also perform two of the most exuberant and popular works of the classical repertory -- Brahms' "Academic Festival" Overture and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.

In addition to his concert and recording career, O'Riley is the fun-loving host of "From the Top," the weekly public radio program that showcases the finest young classical musicians, and a Feb. 14 edition of the program -- including 13-year-old pianist Lisa Ye of Coralville and 13-year-old cellist Bridget Pasker from Dubuque -- will be taped at 2 p.m. in the UI Clapp Recital Hall under the auspices of UI radio station KSUI-FM.

One of the most versatile pianists on the international concert scene, Christopher O'Riley performs a broad and eclectic repertoire that ranges from music of the English Renaissance and French Baroque periods to recent CDs featuring his own arrangements of music by the pop group Radiohead and the PDQ Bach send-up "The Short-Tempered Clavier."

His many honors include top prizes at the Van Cliburn, Leeds, Busoni and Montreal competitions, as well as an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Andrew Wolf Memorial Chamber Music Prize. As an emerging young pianist, he enjoyed the sponsorship of Young Concert Artists -- including a residency at the UI through Hancher Auditorium -- the Xerox/Affiliate Artists Program and the Pro Musicis Foundation.

Among his highly acclaimed solo releases are a Scriabin disc for Image Recordings and an all-Stravinsky disc on Elektra Nonesuch, featuring "Three Movements from Petrouchka" and O'Riley's transcriptions of "Apollo" and "Histoire du Soldat."

He is also featured on a recent RCA Victor Red Seal release of French repertoire for flute and piano with James Galway. His discography also includes a Busoni album, a disc of Ravel's solo works, a recording of Beethoven Piano Sonatas and a collaboration with cellist Carter Brey entitled "Le Grand Tango."

In addition to his regular touring, O'Riley recently established "Los Tangueros," a partnership with Argentine pianist Pablo Ziegler that has been touring with a program of two-piano arrangements of Astor Piazzolla's tangos.

In the spring of 1999 he began a collaboration with choreographer and director Martha Clarke, who has staged several stories of Anton Chekhov, danced to O'Riley's live performances of Scriabin.

And, of course, his association with the nationally broadcast "From the Top" program has made him a household name among public radio listeners. The show has been called, "Best thing to happen to music since Bernstein's Young Person's concerts."

The Feb. 14 taping will include young musicians from Iowa and the show will be previewed during the first hour of KSUI's "Know the Score," broadcast live, 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, in the UI Museum of Art.

O'Riley and some of his "From the Top" guests will be interviewed by host Joan Kjaer, and O'Riley will perform selections from his Radiohead arrangements. "Know the Score" broadcasts are free and open to the public. The Museum of Art's gallery spaces are open noon to 5 p.m. the day of the broadcast.

A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997 as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies. Prior to joining the UI faculty, Jones was the founding music director/administrator of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.

Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with a wide array of professional, festival, collegiate and student ensembles throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. He has conducted more than 70 all-state orchestras with additional festival/clinics in most of the 50 states and Canadian provinces.

He is the founding artistic director of the critically acclaimed Conductors Workshop of America. In addition to serving as guest clinician for numerous conducting seminars for professional/educational associations internationally, Jones is music director and conductor of the Oshkosh (Wisc.) Symphony.

The concert is supported by William and Marlene Stanford, through the University of Iowa Foundation. The "From the Top" broadcast is supported by the Iowa City Sheraton Hotel, West Music and the UI School of Music.

Concert and "From the Top" tickets are both available from the Hancher box office.

Tickets to the Feb. 11 concert are $25/22/20; UI student $20/12; senior citizen $20/17.60/16; youth $12.50/11/10.

"From the Top" tickets are $25; youth tickets are $15.

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:

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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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