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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 11, 2005

Distinguished Artist-Teachers Play Piano Recitals At UI Feb. 22, 24 And 27

Three distinguished artist/teachers will present free public recitals within a period of five days at the University of Iowa -- Feb. 22-27 -- as part of the School of Music's annual Piano Festival.

The performers, all playing at 8 p.m. in Clapp Recital Hall, will be:

-- James Giles from Northwestern University, Tuesday, Feb. 22;

-- David Korevaar from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Thursday, Feb. 24; and

-- John Ellis from the University of Michigan, Sunday, Feb. 27.

An annual event, the Piano Festival is a celebration of piano performance and teaching. It typically includes master classes for UI students and free public performances from outstanding visiting artist-teachers from around the world. The final performance of the 2005 Piano Festival will be given by Jason Sifford at 8 p.m. Monday, April 18, in Clapp Recital Hall.

For his recital Feb. 22, Giles will play an eclectic program ranging from Mozart and Schubert to little known Russian composer Nicolai Medtner and contemporary pianist Earl Wild's etudes based on Gershwin songs. The complete program will be:

-- selections from "Forgotten Melodies" by Medtner;

-- "Drei Klavierstucke" (Three piano pieces) Schubert;

-- Sonata No. 3, written in 2002 by Lowell Liebermann;

-- Sonata in E-flat, K282 by Mozart;

-- Ballade No. 2 in B minor by Franz Liszt; and

-- Wild's "Virtuoso Etudes on Gershwin Songs," based on "Embraceable You," "Fascinatin' Rhythm" and "I Got Rhythm."

On Feb. 24, Korevaar will also play a mix of newer works with pieces from the classical piano repertoire: Beethoven's Variations on an Original Theme, op. 34; "Lunar Rhapsody," composed in 2003 by Mike Barnett; "Sillages," a piece from the early 20th century by Louis Aubert; and two pieces by Chopin -- the Sonata in B-flat minor, op. 35, and the Polonaise in A-flat major, op. 53.

And on Feb. 27, Ellis will play an all-Liszt program comprising "Annees de pelerinage: Deuxieme annee -- Italie" (Years of pilgrimage: second year -- Italy) plus  "Venezia e Napoli," subtitled the supplement to the second year.

The visitors will all present master classes or workshops during their visits to the UI campus. Master classes with UI piano students by Giles, at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 21, and by Korevaar, at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, will be held in Harper Hall of the Voxman Music Building, and will be open to the public free of charge.

With sponsorship by the UI collegiate chapter of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Ellis will present a piano pedagogy workshop on Monday, Feb. 28 at West Music in Coralville. The workshop for area music teachers and UI piano students will include sessions on "Motivating Teens" at 9 a.m. and "Integrated Piano Teaching" at 10:45 a.m. He will hold a master class with local high school students from 2 to 4 p.m. Further information on the workshop is available from Alan Huckleberry of the UI School of Music faculty, at 319-335-1650, or

Giles has a reputation as one of the most versatile pianists of his generation. This season, in addition to recitals in Seattle, Chicago, Tucson, Birmingham and Champaign-Urbana, he will embark on his first tour of China, perform and teach at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, and release recordings of Schubert and new American music. He will also collaborate with members of the Chicago Symphony, with the Rembrandt Chamber Players, and in duo-recital with pianist Ursula Oppens.

Giles performs equally works from the standard repertoire and music of our time. He has commissioned and premiered works by William Bolcom, C. Curtis-Smith, Stephen Hough, Lowell Liebermann, Ned Rorem, Augusta Read Thomas, Earl Wild and James Wintle.

The critic for Helsinki's main newspaper wrote, "Giles is a technically polished, elegant pianist." And a London critic called his recent Wigmore Hall recital "one of the most sheerly inspired piano recitals I can remember hearing for some time," adding that "with a riveting intelligence given to everything he played, it was the kind of recital you never really forget."

Korevaar has performed across the United States, from Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., to Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Dallas and San Diego, and he plays frequently in his home state of Colorado with orchestras, in chamber ensembles and in solo recitals. International performances have included appearances in Australia, Japan, Korea and Europe. Korevaar has performed as soloist with orchestras throughout the United States.

Currently a member of the Prometheus Piano Quartet and the Dallas-based Clavier Trio, Korevaar has performed as guest artist with the Takaçs, Manhattan and Colorado quartets, among other groups. He was a founding member of the Young Concert Artists Award-winning piano and wind ensemble Hexagon, with which he toured for many years.

Korevaar's broad musical interests are reflected in his recordings, ranging from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier to the brand new piano music of Lowell Liebermann. He has recorded the romantic virtuoso compositions of Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnanyi and transcriptions of orchestral music by Franz Liszt. His performances of such a large and varied repertoire are enhanced by his work with living composers: Last year he gave several performances of the "Lunar Rhapsody" by Mike Barnett, a young composer currently completing his doctorate at the University of Colorado. In addition to his continuing association with Lowell Liebermann, Korevaar has performed and recorded music by George Rochberg, Aaron Copland, Ned Rorem, Stephen Jaffe and Libby Larson.

Ellis appears around the country as a recitalist, master class clinician, contest judge and lecturer on piano pedagogy. He presented a lecture demonstration on Liszt to the MTNA National Conference in Kansas City in 2004. He has recently given master classes at the University of South Florida and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, where he also gave a three-day seminar.

As a pianist, he has performed as soloist, lecture-recitalist and collaborative artist in New York City, Rutgers University, SUNY Purchase, Notre Dame University, Montclair Museum of Art, the University of Helsinki and the Sibelius Academy and Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. His 2003 recording of the piano music of African-American composer Arthur Cunningham was praised by the American Record Guide for its "loving warmth and impeccable technique." In addition to his formal teaching and performing career, Ellis performed for three years as the pianist for an improvisational comedy group in New York City headed by Kathy Kinney, now featured on the Drew Carey Show.

As a scholar in the field of pedagogy, Ellis combines music theory, musicology and the humanities with the more traditional pedagogical methods. He has worked with the Musical Signification Project of the International Congress on Musical Signification since 1996, presenting papers on musical meaning and pedagogy at the University of Bologna, the Universite de Provence, the University of Helsinki and the New England Conference of Music Theorists at Wellesley College.

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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