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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 15, 2004

Ida Beam Professor Will Be Featured On 'Know The Score' Oct. 29

Walter Thompson, the inventor of the Soundpainting method of collective ensemble improvisation, will be a featured guest when UI radio station KSUI, 91.7 FM (101.7 FM in Dubuque) broadcasts "Know the Score LIVE!" from the Lasansky Gallery and the Nancy and Craig Willis Atrium of the University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) 5-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29.

The program, part of the weekly arts and humanities series hosted by Joan Kjaer on KSUI, will take place before a live audience in the Museum of Art and will be broadcast over KSUI at that time as well as 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, and 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3. Listen on the internet at

Joining Thompson on the radio broadcast will be Jeffrey Agrell, who teaches horn at the UI School of Music, and musician Evan Mazunik, both of whom use Thompson's Soundpainting techniques.

Stephen Bloom, journalist and author of "Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America," will also be a guest on the program. He will discuss his book as well as his play "Shoedog."

Providing musical entertainment for the program, Elsie Parker of St. Louis will perform a variety of French popular songs, including songs of Edith Piaf, with members of her musical group, the Poor People of Paris. Parker, a former student of UI emeritus faculty member Himie Voxman, will sing and perform on flute, clarinet and saxophone.

An Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at the UI, Thompson was invited to campus by the School of Music, in cooperation with the departments of theatre arts, dance and interdisciplinary studies. During a two-week residency, Thompson will present interactive lectures, discussions and workshops to demonstrate and discuss applications of Soundpainting.

His visit to the UI will be headlined by the first-ever performances of "Columbus: A Soundpainting Opera," at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 29 and 30, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, in Space/Place Theatre of UI North Hall. The performances will be free and open to the public.

"Soundpainting" is a system of conducting/composing developed by Thompson for musicians, dancers, poets, actors and visual artists working in the medium of structured improvisation. The system includes a vocabulary of gestures made by the conductor/composer indicating the type of improvisation to be made by the performers.

M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art, Inc. of Iowa City is the corporate sponsor of "Know the Score" broadcasts at the UI Museum of Art.

A native of Vinton, Iowa, Beam willed her farm to the UI in 1977. Her only university connection was a relative who graduated from the College of Medicine. Proceeds from the sale of the farm were used to establish the visiting professorships program in her name. Since 1977, hundreds of eminent scholars and scientists have visited the UI campus to give public lectures and to meet with students and faculty.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 9 p.m. Fridays. Admission is free to the museum and to the "Know the Score LIVE!" broadcast. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web. Information on other UI arts events is available at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

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,