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University of Iowa News Release

April 8, 2005

UI Composers Workshop Presents Five New Works April 17

The Composers Workshop from the University of Iowa School of Music will present five new works by UI student composers on a free concert at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 17 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The Composers Workshop is a collaborative project between composers and performers in the UI School of Music. It is devoted to the performance of music written at the UI and aims to foster greater co-operation and interplay between composers and performers in the Iowa City area. The workshop is directed by David Gompper, professor of music in the Theory and Composition Department of the School of Music and director of the Center for New Music.

Works on the April 17 program will be:

-- "Cipher, Number 1" for solo viola by Quentin Oliver, an undergraduate viola major and composition student;

-- "Homage to A.M" for flute, clarinet, cello and percussion by Brian Vlasak, a doctoral composition student;

-- "Franken-Spacial-Temporal Cognitive Inter-Dimensional Meta-Awareness," an electro-acoustic piece by Andrew Struck-Marcel, a senior majoring in composition;

-- "Release" for cello and piano by Evan Kuchar, a graduate student in composition; and

-- "Bridge" for chamber orchestra by Oliver.

"Cipher, Number 1" is the first of a planned series of caprices for viola solo each of which is intended to highlight the performer's command of various technical aspects. The first caprice features rapid bariolage passages, a technique of string playing that involves playing the same note on adjacent strings.

"Homage to A.M." was written in reaction to the recent death the great American playwright Arthur Miller. The composer explained that the score uses only two basic sets of pitches. He wrote: "Rather than approach these in a contrapuntal way... I chose to create individual sound objects... creating a more translucent texture allowing the listener to grasp onto and appreciate them fully,."

Struck-Marcell said that his "Franken-Spacial-Temporal Cognitive Inter-Dimensional Meta-Awareness" was inspired by two imaginary scenarios. "For one, imagine two parallel universes 'intersecting,' with the reality of one switching with the reality of the other. Alternately, think of one section of a person's brain being removed and replaced with the corresponding section of someone else's brain, altering that person's cognitive make-up. In both situations think that the people involved somehow have an awareness of their circumstance. The piece attempts to present a real, conscious awareness of two existences occurring at once: someone existing in both reality and in a false reality."

"Release" was written for performance at the funeral service of the composer's grandfather, George Kuchar.

"The Bridge" is in five brief movements, played without pause. Each section independently develops its own motivic idea as well as exposing upcoming themes.  The cycle is completed in the final measures when the piano and chimes restate the opening phrase.

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,