The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 25, 2005

No Quintets When Huckleberry Performs With Iowa Woodwind Quintet March 10

Members of the Iowa Woodwind Quintet from the University of Iowa School of Music will join forces with pianist Alan Huckleberry to present a concert that features trios, a quartet and a sextet -- but no quintet -- at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 10 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The Iowa Woodwind Quintet has been in existence at the UI School of Music since about 1932. Its current members -- Tamara Thweatt, flute; Mark Weiger, oboe; Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet; Kristin Thelander, horn; and Benjamin Coelho, bassoon -- are all members of the UI School of Music faculty. The ensemble performs annually on campus and on tour in Iowa and the Midwest.

For the March 10 concert, the full quintet will be joined by Huckleberry for a performance of the Sextet for winds and piano by Francis Poulenc. For the remainder of the concert, members of the ensemble will appear in different combinations, both with and without Huckleberry, in order to perform:

-- the "Concert Champetre" (Country scenes) by Henri Tomasi for oboe, clarinet and bassoon;

-- "Trio Bourgeoise" for flute, oboe and piano by Malcolm Arnold; and

-- the Divertimento for oboe, horn, bassoon and piano by Josef Rheinberger.

Weiger explained the source of the unusual program: "In searching for quintets over the past several years we came up with some others works that intrigued us by the same composers whose quintets we've played. In our past two concerts we played quintets by Tomasi and Arnold, and in the process we discovered these trios that are little known but well worth the time.

"The Arnold trio will be particularly entertaining as it involves some hilarious story-telling and may be accompanied with some gyrations.

"Huckleberry has plans to record all the works of Poulenc so we thought now was a good time to get our feet wet again with his works. As for the Rheinberger, that's a personal indulgence for me -- I just like playing with Thelander and always keep an eye out for chamber works with oboe and horn."

Poulenc was associated with "Les Six" (The six), a group of modernist composers in Paris in the early years of the 20th century that included Arthur Honneger and Darius Milhaud. Although associated with this group, Poulenc personally favored a neo-classical style and avoided the more radical forms of musical experimentation. Consequently his music has always been considered highly accessible.

A Parisian by birth, Poulenc always preferred the city to the country. The sextet is a programmatic work, portraying life in Paris in the 1930s. This was the age of industry: cars were popular, roads were crowded and noisy, workdays were full but nights were free for the delights of places such as the Moulin Rouge. The sextet, describing this Parisian lifestyle, is considered by wind players and pianists to rank among Poulenc's very finest.

Born in 1901, Tomasi received musical training at the Marseilles Conservatory and the Paris Conservatory. Remembered primarily as a composer, he attained early renown as a conductor at the Monte Carlo Opera, Radio-Paris, Casino de Vichy and the Radio-Colonial. He won the Second Prix de Rome in 1927, the prize in orchestral conducting from the Paris Conservatory the same year, the Prix des Beaux-Arts in 1929, the Grand Prix de la Musique Francaise in 1952, and in 1960, the Grand Prix Musical de la Ville de Paris. At the time of his death in 1971 Tomasi had produced a great quantity of music in all genres.

The "Concert Champetre" was written in 1937 for members of the Paris Conservatory faculty. Based on the Baroque dance suite, it evokes an early music consort by employing only reed instruments (clarinet, oboe, and bassoon).

Arnold, often identified as England's most irascible composer, has been active from the Second World War onwards. Fiercely anti-war, he is said to have shot himself in the foot to avoid service. He completed the trio on Dec. 20, 1942, at the height of World War II, for the principal wind players of the London Philharmonic, in which he was principal trumpet, although it was not published until 2002.

Arnold's music is distinguished by its sound: rhythmically vital, sometimes melodically brutally sparse and colored by a flair for orchestration. Known for his use of popular music styles, the composer is also capable of riotous humor.

Rheinberger is considered a minor master of the 19th century in Germany. He was born in 1839 in Lichtenstein but spent nearly his entire life in Munich. He was admitted to the Academy of Music in Munich at the age of 12, and by the age of 15 he was gainfully employed as an organist. For his final 33 years he served as professor of counterpoint and organ at the Royal School of Music where his notable students included many eminent German and American musicians of the early 20th century.

Rheinberger had many of the same musical influences and a similar aesthetic sense as Brahms. This similarity is evident in the Divertimento, which makes use of Brahmsian melodic and harmonic language while exploiting its unusual instrument combination.

Thweatt came to the UI in 2003. She was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 2000-2002 and has also performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and many regional ensembles. She has studied the Baroque flute and has performed the solo flute part in Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with the Michigan Chamber Players. She also enjoys chamber music of all styles and periods, and has performed George Crumb's "Vox Balaenae" (The voice of the whale) at Interlochen, Mich.

Since coming to Iowa in 1988 Weiger has performed as a soloist throughout the United States, Canada, England, Mexico, Austria, France and Italy, presented two recitals in Carnegie Hall in New York, been a finalist in nine international competitions and won First Prize in the Queens Philharmonic Concerto Competition (NY). The first oboist to serve as an Artistic Ambassador through the U.S. Information Agency, Weiger performed recitals in Nepal, Pakistan, Israel, Jordan and Sri Lanka. He has recorded for the CRS, Crystal, Chandos and Centaur CD labels.

Mead has performed by invitation at International Clarinet Association conferences, the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the Southeastern Clarinet Workshop and the conference of the College Band Directors National Association. She has been principal clarinet of several Midwestern orchestras, including the Cedar Rapids Symphony. As a chamber musician she has appeared with the Cleveland Quartet and other ensembles. She had made several recordings, including two CDs of Brazilian choros with pianist Rafael Dos Santos, a UI alumnus.

Thelander joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1989 and was elected director of the School of Music in 2000. Active as soloist and chamber musician, she has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, South Korea and the People's Republic of China. As a guest artist she performed a solo with the Chinese National Opera Orchestra for the opening concert of the International Horn Symposium held in Beijing in July, 2000. During the summer she performs with the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Ore.

Benjamin Coelho has worked extensively as performer and teacher of bassoon, in both the United States and his native Brazil. He was a founding member of the Manhattan Wind Quintet, with whom he played a sold-out concert in Carnegie Recital Hall in New York. He has played with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro and the Grupo de Musica Contemporanea of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He taught bassoon at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte in Brazil, where he served as the elected vice-dean of the School of Music.

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

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,