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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 3, 2005

Six New Works By UI Graduate Students Will Be Performed Nov. 13

The University of Iowa Composers Workshop will present a free concert of new works by graduate student composers at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, 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 cooperation 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.

The program for the concert will feature six new works by UI graduate students:

--"Forwards Regression" for flute, oboe, viola and cello by Rachel Foote, a UI graduate student in oboe performance and composition.

--Suite for Solo Saxophone by John Griffin, a doctoral student in composition and electronic music.

--"In a Yellow Wood" for violin, clarinet, cello and piano by Scott Shoemaker, a doctoral candidate in composition.

--"Prolepsis" for unaccompanied clarinet by composition doctoral student Luke Dahn.

--"Metamorfa I" for solo bassoon by composition doctoral student Katerina Stamatelos, which will be performed by UI music faculty member Benjamin Coelho.

--"La Joie de Sax" for saxophone quartet by Brian Vlasak, a doctoral student in composition.

The composer wrote that "Forward Regression" "gazes into the past through the lens of 21st-century ideas and language." Each section of the work draws from a historical musical tradition, from the ancient through the romantic, while the musical language looks to the present and immediate past through the use of 12-tone techniques.

Two out of four movements will be played of the Suite for Solo Saxophone. Movement two, "Restless," contains a relentlessly repeating 16th-note figure occasionally broken up by a phrase comprised of longer durations, and movement four, "Perpetuum Mobile," features nearly continuous staccato 16th notes and frequent registral leaps, creating a feeling of relentlessness throughout.

"In a Yellow Wood" refers to the first line of Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" in which the poet is forced to choose between two alternative routes. The division suggested by the poem is reflected in this music, which is based on both a "tonal" or triadic element and an "atonal" or cluster element. The piece unfolds in a three-part form, with sparse, metrically free music forming the first and last sections and faster, metrically regular music occupying the middle of the work.

By definition, a prolepsis is "the representation of a thing as existing before it actually does . . . as in 'If you tell the cops, you're a dead man!'" In the first half of "Prolepsis," musical ideas are likewise anticipated, foreshadowed     and interrupted by other musical events. In the second half of the piece, something of a synthesis occurs, but it is a synthesis against the will of the individual ideas, the result being an internal struggle that never truly reaches an acceptance of synthesis.

Stamatelos is a native of Greece. Her "Metamorfa I" is the first of a collection of solo compositions using a personal approach to the Byzantine musical system. It makes use of quarter tones, which are smaller divisions of the chromatic scale, derived from a way of structuring the scale known as the Greek tetrachord.

The central idea that is key to "La Joie de Sax" is the juxtaposition of seemingly disparate perceptions of time; that is to say, still moments immediately followed by short outbursts of rhythmic, metric, and harmonic activity.

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. The quintet won various chamber music competitions including Artists International, Coleman and Monterey Peninsula chamber music competitions. As a soloist, Coelho has played recitals and concertos in Brazil, the United States, Canada and Portugal.

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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