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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 27, 2004

UI Symphony Band Puts Spotlight On Trombones In Nov. 8 Concert

The University of Iowa Symphony Band will feature music for trombone among other works on a free concert at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, under the direction of Myron Welch, will feature David Gier as guest soloist along with members of the band's trombone section. Gier will play "Downtown Diversions" for solo trombone and wind ensemble by Adam Gorb and join with the trombone section for a performance of Henry Fillmore's "Teddy Trombone."

Other works on the program will include "Sparkle" by Shafer Mahoney, "Variants on a Mediaeval Tune" by Norman Dello Joio, "Profanation" by Leonard Bernstein and "Kentucky Harmony" by Donald Grantham. To close the program, the Symphony Band will join a worldwide celebration of the 150th anniversary of John Philip Sousa's birth with a performance of his march "The Royal Welch Fusiliers."

Christopher Nicholas, a doctoral fellow in band conducting at the UI, will be the guest conductor for "Profanation." He is on leave from his position as associate director of bands and director of the marching band at the University of Wyoming.

The UI was part of a consortium of 14 schools that commissioned "Downtown Diversions." The premiere was given in 2001 by the Texas Tech University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. The composer has written, "The character of this 15-minute work is that of a serenade or divertimento, but with jazz and Latin influences.

"I have attempted to explore the mercurial aspects of the solo trombone, avoiding the more commonplace characteristics of the instruments (there is not a single glissando for the soloist!). The piece is in three movements that alternate dance-like and more lyrical passages."

Henry Fillmore was one of the most colorful bandsmen during the height of great bands in the United States, the first half of the 20th century. Fillmore's professional band, which flourished from 1927-38, was the last in a long line of great professional concert bands in this country. And Fillmore was so prolific as a composer and arranger that a list of his works covers 96 pages!

"Teddy Trombone" was one of the so-called "trombone smears" published as "The Trombone Family -- A Collection of 15 Original and Humorous Trombone Novelties." In addition to Teddy and the better known "Lassus Trombone," the collection also included "Miss Trombone," "Sally Trombone," "Slim Trombone," "Hot Trombone," "Lucky Trombone" and others.

Gier is currently associate professor at the UI, where he teaches trombone and brass chamber music, performs with the Iowa Brass Quintet and serves as associate director of graduate studies. Before moving to Iowa, Gier served for six years on the faculty of Baylor University in Waco, Tex.

An active soloist, clinician and adjudicator, Gier has performed and presented at numerous colleges, universities and professional conferences, including the International Trombone Festival, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, the Texas Trombone Symposium, and the Illinois State Trombone Workshop. In the fall of 2002 Gier presented recitals at the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and taught trombonists at Yale University and Boston University during a week-long residency.

Gier began his professional career in New England as a member of the Springfield (MA) Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra New England. He was also instructor of trombone and low brass at Choate-Rosemary Hall and Central Connecticut State University, and performed with numerous professional ensembles, including the New Haven and Hartford Symphony Orchestras, the New Orchestra of Westchester, and Keith Brion's Peerless Sousa Band. Gier is currently principal trombonist of the Quad City Symphony and the Cedar Rapids Opera Theater.

As a chamber musician, Gier performed throughout the northeast as a member of the Slide Chamber Players, a trombone quartet. The ensemble was a quarter-finalist in the Concert Artists Guild International Competition and prize-winners in the Shoreline Alliance for the Arts Chamber Music Competition. The SCP actively promoted new music, and premiered works at the Manhattan Brass Symposium, the New York Brass Conference, and the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art.

Gier spends summers with his family in Colorado, where he recently completed his twelfth season as principal trombone of the Breckenridge Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmermann. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Yale University, where he completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1992.

Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980. In addition to conducting the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, Welch teaches courses in instrumental methods and conducting, and is coordinator of the Iowa Honor Band. He was named a Collegiate Fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts in recognition of years of distinguished teaching, research and service to the college.

Prior to joining the UI faculty Welch was director of bands and coordinator of music education at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Michigan State University and a doctorate in music education from the University of Illinois.

Welch is past president of the American Bandmasters Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters Association. He is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with bands throughout the United States.

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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