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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 5, 2004

Rhoads And Friends Will Perform 'Some of The Most Beautiful Melodies' Nov. 19

Pianist Shari Rhoads recently asked a handful of her colleagues at the University of Iowa School of Music to join her in performing some of her favorite pieces in a chamber music concert. Sharing her love for the music she chose, they all happily agreed and the concert is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, in Clapp Recital Hall.

The program, Rhoads said, features "some of the most beautiful melodies I have met in my 50 years on this planet."

Appearing with Rhoads will be Katherine Wolfe, violin; Christine Rutledge, viola; Jeffrey Agrell, Horn; and Tamara Thweatt, flute -- all from the music faculty -- and Emily Johnson, soprano, a graduate teaching assistant in the School of Music. Their concert will be free and open to the public.

"This is my fifth year at UI and I decided it would be nice to perform some of the music I love most," she said. "But even if I began today and played until I the day I die, I would not get through all of my favorite music -- not unlike all of my favorite recipes! So I thought, 'why not begin on Nov. 19?'

"These pieces are like old friends to me and I have missed them in recent years. I have so enjoyed the feeling from the Iowa City audiences and would like to give them an evening of pure musical enjoyment. And Tammy, Jeff, Chris, Katie and Emily have been kind enough to agree to perform these jewels in Clapp Hall with me."

The complete program for the Nov. 19 concert will be:

-- the Sonata in G minor for flute and obbligato keyboard, BWV 1020, by J.S. Bach, performed with Thweatt;

-- "Auf dem Strom" (On the stream) op. 119 by Franz Schubert, performed with Johnson and Agrell;

 -- the Sonata for viola  and piano, op. 11 no. 4, by Paul Hindemith, performed with Rutledge; and

-- a single piece after intermission, the Sonata in D minor for violin and piano, op. 108, by Johannes Brahms.

Rhoads commented on the program, which has great personal meaning for her: "The Bach Flute Sonata is widely attributed to C.P.E. Bach. Tamara and I have fun discussing Baroque and Romantic articulations, especially since we are playing on modern instruments. Not difficult for either of us, the Sonata gives us one of those rare moments of reflection through simplicity.

"'Auf dem Strom' must be one of the most beautiful pieces from Schubert and it gives me a wonderful opportunity to make music with my husband, Jeff Agrell, and my graduate assistant, Emily Johnson. The text is about the journey each of us take towards our future, the relentless journey to the sea that sweeps us along without rest or quiet. Schubert's amazingly simple chord structure is genius.

"Hindemith was a violist and wrote a set of variations for a simple folk melody. I love the almost romantic treatment of the phrases with a few quirky transitions that give the viola a true soloistic limelight.

"One of the greatest works for violin and piano is Brahms' D-minor Sonata. I feel that it is loosely based on the 'Zigeuner' or gypsy songs that Brahms set. It is luscious and heart-wrenching to play and listen to. Katie's sound is so beautiful that I want every note to last as long as possible."

Rhoads joined the UI School of Music faculty as opera coach and diction teacher in the fall of 2000. Before arriving at the UI she taught music history at the Music conservatory in Lucerne and the Conservatory of Lausanne in Switzerland. Rhoads has also been Kapellmeister at the Lucerne Theater, where she conducted the world premiere of Jacques Demierre's "Lachen der Schafe" and numerous repertory operas. She was conductor and coach at the opera theater in Darmstadt, Germany, and the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, Spain.

Her accompanying credentials include recitals with Jose Carreras, Luis Lima and Montserrat Caballe with whom she worked exclusively as coach/accompanist and orchestrator. She has accompanied master classes with a number of renowned artists including singer Gerard Souzay, cellist Lynn Harrell and violist William Primrose, and served as staff accompanist for the Francesco Vinas (Barcelona, Spain) and Munich International competitions. She earned her degree in accompanying and has completed post-graduate studies in opera coaching/conducting at the University of Southern California.

Agrell joined the UI faculty after a 25-year career as symphony musician. At the UI he teaches horn, directs the Horn Choir, teaches introduction to improvisation and performs with the Iowa Brass Quintet. Before coming to Iowa, he associate principal horn with the Lucerne (Switzerland) Symphony Orchestra 1975-2000, playing symphonic music, opera, operetta, ballet, musicals, choral music and chamber music.

Widely respected as performer, teacher and composer, Agrell has performed and given clinics and lectures at regional, national and international workshops. He is on the faculty of the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong and was elected to the Advisory Council of the International Horn Society. An avid writer, he was on the editorial staffs of two brass journals for decades, writes two regular columns for the Horn Call, the journal of the International Horn Society, and has some 60 published articles to his credit. He is currently working on a multi-volume method that integrates traditional technique with aspects of improvisation, jazz and contemporary music.

Rutledge joined the UI faculty in 1998. She had previously been a faculty member at the University of Notre Dame, where she also played with the Notre Dame String Trio. She is a graduate of the UI School of Music, where she studied with William Preucil.

She has appeared as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout the United States and abroad. She performs as a member of the Fontana Chamber Music Festival ensemble. Her performances and recordings with the Notre Dame String Trio have earned glowing reviews from The Strad, Fanfare and other music publications. Her solo performances have included those before her professional peers at the 23rd International Viola Congress in Bloomington, Ind., the 24th Congress in Germany, the 28th Congress in Sweden and the 31st Congress in Germany. She has performed the standard viola repertoire, her own transcriptions of Baroque works, several lesser known works for viola, and new works that were written specifically for her.

Thweatt joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in the fall of 2003. She was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 2000-2002, following the completion of her doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1999. A busy orchestral musician, she has also performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and many regional ensembles.

Prior to coming to Iowa, Thweatt served on the faculties of Concordia College in Ann Arbor and the Interlochen Arts Camp. She has an interest in Baroque music, especially the works of J. S. Bach. She performed the Vivaldi C Major Piccolo Concerto with the Pontiac Oakland Symphony and the C.P.E. Bach Flute Concerto in A Major with the Bach Sinfonia. She also enjoys chamber music of all styles and periods, and has performed George Crumb's "Vox Balaenae" (The voice of the whale) at Interlochen.

Johnson is a UI graduate student majoring in vocal performance. She recently sang the role of Donna Elvira in Mozart's "Don Giovanni" in the international master class "Szenische Gestaltung mit Mozart Szenen" (Scenic settings with Mozart scenes) in Montepulicano, Italy.

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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