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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 24, 2004

Conference On Early Italian Keyboard Music Will Be At UI Oct. 7-9

The organ area of the University of Iowa School of Music and the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society will sponsor "Timbre, Temperament, and Personality in Early Italian Keyboard Music," a series of workshops and performances focusing on the keyboard instruments and music of 16th- and 17th-century Italy, Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 7-9, in the UI Voxman Music Building.

Guest recitals will be given by Christopher Stembridge and John Chappell Stowe, and lectures will be presented by Stembridge, Stowe and harpsichord builder Willard Martin, who will provide specialized instruments for the conference.

A variety of instruments with various tunings will be available for concerts and participants' use, including Martin's "cembalo cromatico" -- a rare type of harpsichord with 19 keys to the octave that was common in Italy up to the 1640s. The conference lectures will pertain to the instruments, the Italian keyboard repertoire in general and the works of composer Girolamo Frescobaldi in particular.

"Timbre, Temperament, and Personality" will include two performances that will be open to the public, free of charge:

-- at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, in the Krapf Organ Studio of the Voxman Music Building, Christopher Stembridge will perform a recital on organ and harpsichords in various tunings, including a cembalo cromatico; and

-- at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, organist John Chappell Stowe and mezzo-soprano Consuela Sanudo will perform keyboard and vocal works by Italian composers whose names are familiar to specialists -- including Claudio Merulo, Luzzascho Luzzaschi and Michelangelo Rossi -- as well as several pieces by Frescobaldi, the most important Italian composer of keyboard music from the early 17th century.

Stembridge studied languages at Cambridge and musicology at Oxford. After many years as a lecturer in music at University College Cork (Ireland), he now lives in Italy, where he gives regular master-classes on historic organs. He travels widely giving lectures, recitals and seminars in European and North American universities and conservatoires. He was professor for organ at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena 1994-6 and at the Montreal Summer Academy for Organ in 2003. He has recorded numerous CDs on music performed on historic organs and harpsichords, including an anthology of Neapolitan keyboard music of c.1600 played on the cembalo cromatico.

Stowe is professor of organ at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, where he also teaches harpsichord, directs the Early Music Ensemble and is chair of the keyboard area. During the 1993-94 school year he was visiting faculty at the UI. Stowe holds a doctorate and performer's certificate from the Eastman School of Music and was the first-place winner in 1978 of the National Open Organ Playing Competition of the American Guild of Organists. He travels throughout the United States as a harpsichordist, organ recitalist, adjudicator and presenter of workshops and master classes. His latest recording on the 1863 Wadsworth organ in Madison was released in 2001 on the Ethereal label.

Martin graduated from Moravian College in 1969 and then worked as an apprentice with the distinguished instrument builder William Dowd in Boston for two years, graduating to work three more years as a founding member of the Wm Dowd-PARIS workshop in France. He returned to Bethlehem, Penn., in 1974 and has since made 600 harpsichords. Martin has built copies of popular historic prototypes from France and Flanders, including the reconstructed cembalo cromatico. He has appeared twice on National Public Radio with Martin Goldsmith of "Performance Today."

Sanudo was a freelance soloist in Germany for nine years and traveled to France, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Russia, where she has given Lieder recitals and sung oratorio roles. She has performed with several professional early-music ensembles, including Sequentia, Super Librum, Las Huelgas Ensemble and Kartaeuser Kantorei, directed by Peter Neumann. She sang the title role of Alexander Goehr's "Arianna" for its German premiere, as well as the Young Singer/Octavian in "Liebe Tod Kaiserwalzer," a theater piece for two singers, an actor and a video camera, at the Kunstschule in Wiesbaden, Germany. In 2002 she sang the alto solos in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Santa Fe Community Orchestra. She has lived in Madison since 2001.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

For more information on "Timbre, Temperament, and Personality in Early Italian Keyboard Music," contact Delbert Disselhorst at the UI School of Music, 319-335-1630, or

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Complete Schedule for "Timbre, Temperament, and Personality in Early Italian Keyboard Music"

All events in or adjacent to the Krapf Organ Studio of the Voxman Music Building


1-1:30 p.m. Registration

1:30 p.m. Lecture by Willard Martin

3 p.m. Lecture/Demonstration on just intonation harpsichord by Willard Martin and Christopher Stembridge

8 p.m. Organ and harpsichord recital by Christopher Stembridge


9-10:15 a.m. Lecture/Demonstration on cembalo cromatico by Willard Martin

10:30-11:45 a.m. Lecture on "The origins of the cembalo cromatico in 16th-century Italy" by Christopher Stembridge; "Open keyboard," informal hands-on session for participants to try the cembalo cromatico

1-2:30 p.m. Lecture: "Il nuovo, il disusato, l'inaspetto, l'ammirabile: Towards an Understanding of Personality in Italian Keyboard Music," by John Chappell Stowe

2:45-4:15 p.m. Lecture: "The existence of the arpitarone mentioned by Banchieri suggests the possible relevance of such an instrument to Italian keyboard music of the period," by Christopher Stembridge

8 p.m. Recital by John Chappell Stowe, organ, with Consuela Sanudo, mezzo-soprano

SATURDAY, OCT. 9, 2004

9:30 a.m. Lecture Recital: "Performance Practice in Frescobaldi," by Christopher Stembridge

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,

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