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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 21, 2005

Organist Bruce Bengston Will Perform Free Recital At UI Jan. 28

Bruce A. Bengtson, the music director and organist at Luther Memorial Church in Madison, Wis., will play a recital of organ music at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus.

Bengtson's recital will be presented as part of the UI Institute for Sacred Music, Jan. 27-29 on the UI campus, which includes lectures and workshops for registered participants. Bengtson's recital is open to the general public free of charge.

The recital program will span a variety of styles of organ music, from the 18th to the 20th centuries, including several works by J.S. Bach, The complete program will be:

-- Sonata III in A minor by August Gottfried Ritter;

-- Trio Sonata No. 1 in E flat Major, S525, by J.S. Bach;

-- "Toccata alla Rumba" from the Sonata No. 1 by Czech composer/organist Jiri Strejc;

-- "In Festo Corporis Christi" (Four Pieces for the Festival of Corpus Christi) by Anton Heiller;

-- four chorale settings by Bach; and

-- "Te Deum," op. 11, by Jeanne Demessieux.

A.G. Ritter, native of Erfurt, Germany, was well known for his improvisatory skills. He crowned his career as organist at the Magdeburg Cathedral in Germany. The Third Sonata is dedicated to Franz Liszt, who was best known as a virtuoso pianist but was also an organist and composer of organ music.

Starting with Heiller's piece, the second half of the program draws upon melodies of the church that are known as canticles, the Latin word for song. Heiller has faithfully used the appropriate Gregorian chant melodies for Corpus Christi in his work. The concluding movement makes use of the Sequence Hymn for the Day, the text attributed to Thomas Aquinas, "Lauda Sion salvatorem."

The Bach chorale settings come from four different sources. There are two settings of "Meine Seele erhebt den Herren" (My soul doth magnify the Lord), the German version of the Latin "Magnificat," one from the "Schuebler Chorales," S. 648, and one from the so-called "Miscellaneous Chorales," S733. The other two are chorales are "Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin" (With peace and joy) S. 616 from the "Orgelbuechlein (Little organ book) and "Allein Gott in der Hoeh sei Her" (Glory to God in the highest), S.663, from the Leipzig Chorales.

The program closes with what can be considered the epitome of the canticle, "Te Deum laudamus" (You are God, we praise you), as set by French organist Jeanne Demessieux.

Since 1978 Bengtson has been the full-time director of music at Luther Memorial Church in Madison, where he plays the organ and directs the choir and instrumental ensembles, including an adult handbell choir. He regularly presents free organ recitals at the church.

Besides concerts in the United State, he has been featured in concerts in Mexico, Canada and Europe, where he appeared at the Lahti Organ Festival in Finland, the Gaevle Organ week in Sweden and in the cathedrals of Paris, Salzburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki. A distinguished church musician as well as recitalist, Bengtson has led hymn festivals across the country. He has published anthems with Augsburg Fortress Publishing.

Bengtson began organ study at the age of 11 in Salem, Ore. He has an undergraduate degree in organ performance from Southern Methodist University and a graduate degree in organ and church music from Valparaiso University.

An annual event on the UI campus, the Institute for Sacred Music runs from Thursday, Jan. 27, through Saturday, Jan. 29, and includes lectures and workshops for registered participants. For more information and registration information, contact Delbert Disselhrost at 319-335-1630, or Information is also available on the World Wide Web, at

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,