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University of Iowa News Release

March 1, 2004

UI Guest Artist Will Sing Spanish Art Songs March 21

"Canciones de Espana: Songs of Nineteenth-Century Spain," a program by guest artists Suzanne Rhodes Draayer (left), soprano, and Deanne Mohr, piano, from Winona State University in Winona, Minn., will be presented at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 21 in Harper Hall of the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building.

The concert, presented as a guest recital of the UI School of Music, will be free and open to the public.

The program will feature art songs by Spanish composers who are largely unknown in the United States: Salvador Bartoli Soler, Ruperto Chapi, Juan Miguel Asensi, Francisco Asenjo Barbieri, Amadeo Vives and others.

"These songs are lovely," Draayer said, "vibrant with dance rhythms, sensual poetry and images of Spain! During the recital, I will present pictures of Spain via Powerpoint, introducing the history and culture of Spain to the audience.

"The song repertoire of 19th-century Spain has been neglected only because Spanish publishing companies stopped printing these songs and because musicologists have failed to promote Spanish music. The canciones are beautiful and deserve their rightful place with the art songs of other European countries."

An avid advocate of Spanish music, Draayer frequently performs Spanish songs and has written extensively on the subject. Five of her articles have appeared in the Journal of Singing, published by the National Association of Teachers of Singing, including a two-part article on "Art Song Composers of Nineteenth-Century Spain" in the November/December 2003 and January/February 2004 issues. She has studied Spanish and Ladino diction with Nico Castel, a prominent multi-lingual diction coach at the Metropolitan Opera. Additionally, she has studied Spanish at La Escuela Carmen de las Cuevas, in Granada, Spain, and, most recently, at the Berceo Institute in Salamanca, Spain.

Draayer is professor of music at Winona State University. She holds a doctorate in vocal performance, pedagogy and literature from the University of Maryland, a master's degree from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and a bachelor's from Furman University. Her book, "A Singer's Guide to the Songs of Joaquin Rodrigo," was written after extensive interviews with the Rodrigo family. The third edition, in paperback, was released in July 2003 with her compact disc, "Under a Spanish Moon: The Songs of Joaquin Rodrigo." Her latest book, an anthology of 23 19th-centry Spanish songs, was published in May, 2003.

Through Draayer's efforts, Winona State University hosted an International Rodrigo festival in November 2001. The week-long event, honoring the centennial of Rodrigo's birth, included concerts in a variety of genres -- music for choir, orchestra, guitar, voice, piano and chamber music. Other events included an art gallery exhibit on the life and music of Rodrigo, the world premiere of a play, and lectures by experts from around the world on the contributions of Rodrigo to 20th-century music.

Canadian pianist Deanne Mohr received her bachelor's degree summa cum laude from the University of Regina. She continued her graduate studies at the University of Montreal, receiving a doctorate in piano performance in 2000. Her doctoral studies included research on the philosophical doctrine of Alexander Scriabin and its manifestation in his late piano sonatas. Mohr has gained further musical experience and training through The Banff Centre for the Arts' summer programs and through numerous master classes.

An accomplished performer, Mohr has appeared as a soloist with the Regina Symphony Orchestra, was featured in the 1996-1997 Debut concert series in Montreal, and has been recorded for the Radio-Canada program "Les jeunes artistes" (Young artists), and CBC Saskatchewan's "Ambience." She has been the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards, including first prize in the Saskatchewan Music Festival Association Concerto Competition in 1994 and the piano division of the 1992 Florence Bowes Scholarship Competition.

Mohr is currently a faculty member at Winona State University, where she is very active as a teacher, chamber musician, accompanist and soloist.

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.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,