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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 8, 2004

UI Brass Choir Will Play Music For Brass, Percussion Oct. 21

The Iowa Brass Choir from the University of Iowa School of Music will present a free concert of original and transcribed music for brass instruments and percussion at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The Iowa Brass Choir is composed of 13 brass players on trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium and tuba, plus three percussionists, under the direction of UI graduate assistant Casey Thomas.

Works on the program will be:

-- "I am the Resurrection and the Life" from the 1985 "Requiem" of John Rutter, transcribed by Thomas;

-- "Canzona for Eight Trombones" by Walter Hartley, in a performance with horns, tuba and euphonium;

-- "What Birds See" by John Berners, an adjunct faculty member at the UI School of Music;

-- "Fanfares Liturgiques" (Liturgical fanfares) by French composer Henri Tomasi; and

-- the "Russian Litany for Brass," a transcription by Bill Holcombe of two chorales by the Russian composer Pavel Tschesnokoff. 

"Berners wrote 'What Birds See' in 1980-81, while he was a trombone student at Northwestern University," Thomas explained. "At the time, Evanston was a mecca for brass students and this piece was written for a pick-up group, just to get together and play the kind of passages brass players like to play. It was later performed and recorded by the Millar Brass Ensemble and conductor Bruce Briney on Koss Classics and by Larry Isaacson and Boston's Old South Brass on the Denouement label.

"Hartley's 'Canzona for Eight Trombones' was written in 1969 for a performance by the Eastman School of Music Trombone Choir. While using contemporary harmony, Hartley wrote an antiphonal work highly reminiscent of Renaissance styles.

"In his four 'Fanfares Liturgiques,' Tomasi illustrates his knack for coloristic orchestration, straightforward technique and clear expression. No doubt his practical experience in conducting and composing opera contributed to the theatrical effectiveness of the fanfares, each of which represents an occasion in the Catholic Church year or a belief that merits the musical gesture. They include the 'Annunciation,' the 'Gospel,' the 'Apocalypse' and a 'Procession on Holy Thursday.'"

Thomas graduated from Jacksonville State University in Alabama, receiving a bachelor's degree in music education. While at JSU he conducted the brass choir for two years as an undergraduate. At the UI he is pursuing his master's and doctorate in bass trombone performance. He is also the instructor of low brass at the Cedar Rapids Symphony School and the adjunct instructor of low brass at Cornell College in Mount Vernon and St. Ambrose University in Davenport.

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,