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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 1, 2004

Michael Kimber Appears Alone As Composer, Solo Violist Oct. 16

Michael Kimber, who once was a member of the adventurous Kronos Quartet, will now take matters into his own hands. Filling the roles of both composer and performer, he will play a program of his own works for unaccompanied viola at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 in Harper Hall of the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building.

The performance, "KIMBER plays KIMBER," is presented as a UI School of Music guest recital and will be free and open to the public.

"It's just me and my viola," Kimber said.

"As a violist who also composes, I'm naturally inclined to write music that I enjoy playing. Sounding 'contemporary' is not my goal; my 'style' depends upon the kind of music I'm writing. I find particular inspiration in writing music evocative of other times and places, and every time and place suggests its own unique style.

"Most importantly, I want my music to communicate -- or enable the performer to enjoy communicating and the listener to take pleasure in experiencing -- a broad range of emotions. Music is not only to be heard; it is also to be felt."

The program will comprise five works of varying styles: Sonata, "Monolog i Krakowiak" (Soliloquy and Krakoviak, a Polish dance type); "Comet: Reflections on a Celestial Voyager"; "Yereg Haikakan Patkeratsum" (Three Armenian Impressions); and Selections from Twelve Caprices.

Acting as composer, Kimber provided program notes for the concert:

"Sonata, composed in 1997 for violist Kathryn Plummer, begins with a dramatic 'Prelude' in 5/4 meter inspired by the prelude of J. S. Bach's third cello suite. A jazz-like Fugue follows. The 'Nocturne' ranges in feeling from mysterious to passionate. The perpetual-motion 'Presto gioioso' owes its dizzying effect in part to an unusual, 'ear-bending' scale.

"'Monolog i Krakowiak,' composed in 2000 for saxophonist Lawrence Gwozdz and premiered by him in the U.S. and in Poland, is equally effective on viola. A contemplative 'Soliloquy' is followed by a vigorous 'Krakovian Dance' in the spirit of Polish folk music, with a contemporary twist.

"'Comet: Reflections on a Celestial Voyager' was composed in 1985, during the most recent approach of Halley's Comet to the vicinity of Earth. This evocative 12-tone work portrays the long journey of the comet from the dark, cold regions at the outer edge of our solar system, past the planets, to the fiery sun and back. In December 1997 the well-known violist Patricia McCarty performed the Boston premiere of this work.

"'Yereg Haikakan Patkeratsum," composed in 2002 and dedicated to the Armenian-American violist Kim Kashkashian, attempts to capture the exotic colors of music of Armenia. 'Night Music' begins and ends peacefully, with a lively dance at its center. 'Supplication' is intended to reflect the hardships and sacrifices of the Armenian people, while 'Celebration' portrays spirited exuberance.

"Twelve Caprices, from the year 1996, reflect the romantic, virtuosic style of the 19th century and also fill a gap in the viola solo repertoire. Renowned violist and artist/teacher Donald McInnes has said of these brilliant works, 'They're very stimulating, wonderfully spontaneous, and beautifully written for the viola'."

A former violist of the Kronos Quartet, the Atlanta Virtuosi and other chamber music ensembles, Kimber has performed extensively in North America, Europe and Australia and has been heard as viola soloist on National Public Radio's "Performance Today." His performing experience has ranged from Baroque music on period instruments to premieres of commissioned works.

While teaching at the University of Kansas he was principal violist of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra for 12 seasons. He has also served as principal violist of the Kansas City Camerata, the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra and the Meridian Symphony Orchestra. He has performed in Kansas City's Summerfest chamber music series for 10 seasons and has also served as its composer-in-residence.

Kimber taught at the University of Southern Mississippi 1999-2004. In 2002 he received the music composition award of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. During that same year three of his compositions were heard in international premieres. A work of his for viola and saxophone was premiered at the 2004 International Viola Congress in Minneapolis. His compositions, his pedagogical works and his very popular POLY-PAD shoulder rest for violin and viola have extended his international reputation among string teachers, students and performers.

This fall, Kimber moved to Iowa City with his wife, Marian Wilson Kimber, who has joined the UI School of Music faculty in musicology. He is a member of the Cedar Rapids and Quad Cities symphonies and continues to be active as a solo and chamber music performer, teacher and composer.

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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