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University of Iowa News Release

April 8, 2005

Arnone Solos With Iowa City Chamber Orchestra April 23

The Iowa City Chamber Orchestra and conductor Bernard Amrani will present a concert of music by Mozart, Dvorak and Prokofiev at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 23 in Harper Hall of the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building.

The concert, featuring UI music faculty member Anthony Arnone as cello soloist, will be free and open to the public.

The Iowa City Chamber Orchestra was organized by Arnone, "with the help of friends to have some fun," he said. "The musicians are giving their time and all are here just to play some fun music." Members include UI faculty, local music teachers, UI music students and other musicians from the local community.

The three works on the program will be Mozart's Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K183 (known as the "Little G minor Symphony"); "Waldesruhe" (Silent woods) op. 68 for cello and orchestra by Antonin Dvorak; and the Symphony No. 1 op. 25 ("Classical") by Serge Prokofiev.

"Waldesruhe" occupies a special place in Dvorak's output as a predecessor of his popular Cello Concerto. It was originally written as part of a set of six pieces four piano four-hands, "From the Bohemian Forest," composed in late 1883 and early 1884.

In December 1891, Dvorak signed the contract to come to the United States to teach at the National Conservatory in New York -- a trip that would eventually bring him to Spillville, Ia., for the summer of 1893. When he decided to make a farewell tour of his Czech homeland, performing as pianist along with violinist Ferdinand Lachner and cellist Hanus Wihan, Dvorak found he needed music for cello and piano. He quickly wrote music for the tour, including an arrangement of the "Waldesruhe," which was duly premiered by Dvroak and Wihan Jan. 3, 1982.

In October, 1893 -- shortly after returning to New York from his summer's stay in Iowa -- Dvorak received a letter from Wihan asking the composer to orchestrate "Waldesruhe." Dvorak did so, completing the scoring Oct. 28 -- shortly before the premiere of the "New World" Symphony. His next work for cello and orchestra would be the Concerto in B minor, written during his second stay in the United States, over the winter of 1894-95.

"It seemed to me that had Haydn lived in our day he would have retained his own style while accepting something of the new at the same time," Prokofiev wrote after completing his First Symphony. "That was the kind of symphony I wanted to write: a symphony in the classical style. And when I saw that my idea was beginning to work, I called it the Classical Symphony: in the first place because it was simpler, and secondly, for the fun of it, to 'tease the geese,' and in the secret hope that I would prove to be right if the symphony really did turn out to be a piece of classical music."

This popular score was completed in 1917, a chaotic year that in Russia saw the Czar's abdication, the October Revolution and Lenin's rise to power. Written in four short movements and calling for a classical-sized orchestra -- in striking contrast to the lengthy, heavily-scored works that had become the norm in the late 19th century -- the "Classical Symphony" was the predecessor of a restrained modernist style that came to be known as Neoclassicism.

The "Classical Symphony" was first performed on April 21, 1918, in St. Petersburg, Russia, with the composer conducting the Court Orchestra. Soon after, Prokofiev left Russia on the last train to make the trans-Siberian crossing, leading to a long period of exile in the United States and Western Europe.

Amrani was born in Marseille, France. He started studied piano at the Marseille Conservatory from the age of seven and later switched to the cello when he was 12. He also studied composition, orchestration, music theory and conducting at the conservatory, where he received Gold Medals in chamber music and orchestration, a First Prize in cello performance and a First Prize in music theory.

He has had a successful career both as performer and conductor. In France, he played with the Franco-Allemand Symphony Orchestra, the Camerata de Provence and l'Orchestre des Bouches du Rhone. He is a founding member of the Via Musica chamber ensemble, which has performed numerous concerts in Southern France.

A dedicated teacher, Amrani has been professor of cello and orchestra conductor of the Cite de la Musique de Marseille and professor of cello and chamber music at l'Ecole de Musique de Cabries, where he is currently on leave of absence from a tenured position. Since coming to the United States he has received Suzuki training from the Suzuki Institute at Steven's Point, Wis., and from David Evenchick at the Preucil School in Iowa City.

Amrani is a permanent member of the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra.

Arnone is a founding member of the Meriden Trio and the Sedgwick String Quartet, which regularly performs at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C. He was principal cellist of the Madison Symphony in Wisconsin 1996-2001, was a member of the Orchestra Philharmonique de Nice and the Wichita Symphony, and was principal cellist of the Spoleto Festival in Italy 1992-1997.

Arnone has taught master classes and performed across the country and currently teaches summers at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina and the Stonybrook Music Festival in New York. Before coming to the UI, he held a faculty position at Ripon College in Wisconsin, where he taught cello and bass, music theory and chamber music and conducted the orchestra.

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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