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University of Iowa News Release

May 5, 2005

Chinese Musician Will Join Manning And Rhoads For May 15 Concert

John Manning from the University of Iowa School of Music will present "Tuba Music from Around the World" -- including music from China, Costa Rica and Australia -- on a faculty recital at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 15 in Harper Hall of the UI Voxman Music Building.

The performance, which is free and open to the public, is a preview of Manning's solo recording debut, which will be recorded later this year and released under the title "Four Corners: Tuba Music from Around the World."

Appearing with Manning for both the recital and the recording will be pianist Shari Rhoads from the UI School of Music and guest artist Shin-Yi Yang, playing a Chinese zither known as the guzheng.

One of the most ancient Chinese musical instruments, the guzheng is the forerunner of the Japanese koto and similar instruments found in Korea, Mongolia and Vietnam. It has been a popular instrument since ancient times and is considered one of the main chamber and solo instruments of Chinese traditional music.

Yang will be featured in a performance of the "Guzheng Suite," arranged by Chi-Sun Chan, a former student of Manning who is from Hong Kong.

Other works on the program will be:

--"Retratos" for tuba and piano by Vinicio Meza from Costa Rica.

--The Tuba Concerto of Barry McKimm from Australia.

--"Fantasy on a Lakota Theme" by Kenton Bales from the United States.

--"Silhouette" by John Harmon of the Unites States.

"This program represents a cross-section of music from around the world written or arranged for tuba" Manning said. "This repertoire will be recorded for release on the Summit Records label."

The CD will represent the premiere recording for the Meza, Chan, Bales and Harmon pieces. The McKimm concerto has been previously recorded, but the recording is not easily available in the United States.

Manning has personal connections with several works on the program. He commissioned Meza to write "Retratos," which Manning considers to be "the musical capstone of the recording project." In 2002, Manning was featured artist at the International Brass Festival in San Jose, Costa Rica. He commissioned the score form Meza, who is one of Costa Rica's leading composers, at the time.

"Retratos" has a wide spectrum of musical sources, including Spanish "Cante Hondo" -- which is related to the flamenco tradition -- and American blues. Manning premiered "Retratos" at the Southeastern Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference at the University of Alabama in 2003, and has given several additional performances.

The "Guzheng Suite" was first arranged and performed by Chan, who is married to Yang. Chan and Yang premiered the "Guzheng Suite" at a regional tuba-euphonium conference hosted by Manning in 2003 at the University of Massachusetts.

"Silhouette" was written and dedicated to Sam Pilafian, founder of the Empire Brass and Manning's principal teacher. By incorporating elements of both jazz and romanticism, the score follows the American tradition of blending art music with popular elements in order to produce an artistically significant work that is also accessible to the audience.

Manning said he included "Silhouette" on the CD as a tribute to Pilafian, who is both his mentor and a consultant on the recording.

"Fantasy on a Lakota Theme" is based on a traditional melody from the repertory of the Elk Dreamer Society, one of the warrior societies among the Lakota people. Manning commented, "Inspired by a cedar flute love song, 'Flash of the Mirror,' Bales places the tuba in a lyrical landscape inspired by the contour and aesthetics of the original melody.

"Since Bales serves on the faculty of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and this piece is inspired by sources closely tied with the Midwest, the inclusion of this work on the program is essential to help represent a uniquely American influence."

Manning wrote of his recording project, "As a veteran recording artist of brass chamber music, I have long appreciated the significance and value of recording for both posterity and to propagate the future of brass quintet repertoire. Equally crucial is to the future health of the tuba as an instrument is the continued cycle of commissioning, performance and recording of new works.

"As a performer and music educator, I have the responsibility to promote and advocate for the tuba as a solo instrument. This challenge is heightened by the fact that the tuba has been reluctantly, and only recently, accepted for its soloistic potential. Although the tuba has existed since 1835, the first concerto for the instrument was not published until 1955. Some ground has been gained in the past fifty years, but if that progress is to continue, it is up to modern tubists to accept this charge."

A founding member of the award-winning Atlantic Brass Quintet, Manning joined the UI faculty in 2004. He has toured across the United States and around the world with the Atlantic Brass Quintet, including performances in Korea, Japan, Costa Rica, France, Kuwait, India, Pakistan, England, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The quintet has won six international chamber music competitions and performed at the White House, Tanglewood, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Savannah Onstage, the Sacramento Festival for New American Music, and other festivals and concert series around the country.

An active freelance musician, Manning has performed with the Boston Symphony, the Empire Brass and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. He has also served as principal tubist with the Vermont Symphony and Albany (N.Y.) Symphony. Outside the realm of classical music, he has performed with the Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, Naftule's Dream, Brass Planet, the Pee Wee Fist, the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra, Arlo Guthrie and John Lithgow.

As a Yamaha solo artist he has appeared at Louisiana State University Octubafest, the International Tuba Euphonium Conferences 2000 and 2002, and Music Educators Conferences in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Rhoads joined the UI School of Music faculty as opera coach and diction teacher in the fall of 2000. Before arriving at the UI, she taught music history at the Music conservatory in Lucerne and the Conservatory of Lausanne in Switzerland. Rhoads earned the title of Kapellmeister at the Lucerne (Switzerland) Theater. She was conductor and coach at the opera theater in Darmstadt, Germany, the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, Spain, and the Teatro de las Zarzuela in Madrid.

Her accompanying credentials include recitals with Jose Carreras, Luis Lima and Montserrat Caballe with whom she worked exclusively as coach/accompanist and orchestrator. She has appeared at numerous international festivals including Aix-en-Provence, Luzern International Festwoche and the Beethovenhaus Chamber Music series. Rhoads continues to perform internationally and conducts master class world-wide on Mozart operas with collaborator Georges Delnon. She earned her degree in accompanying and has completed post-graduate studies in opera coaching/conducting at the University of Southern California.

Shin-Yi Yang, a native of Taiwan, studied guzheng with masters in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Yang graduated from the National Taiwan Academy of Arts (now known as National Taiwan University of Arts), and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (APA).

After she graduated from the APA, Yang held a guzheng position in the Keelung Municipal Chinese Orchestra in Keelung City. In 1995, she went to Boston with her husband and was given the opportunity to perform throughout the area. Since then, she has been invited to give performances and lectures throughout the Northeast.

She recently received the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for her promotion of gu-qin, another traditional Chinese instrument. Currently she is a guzheng instructor at Lexington Chinese School and Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association.

Manning's recording project will be fully funded by an Old Gold Summer Fellowship and an Arts and Humanities Initiative grant awarded by the UI.

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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