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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 5, 2005

Martin To Discuss Wagner's 'Contamination' Approach Oct. 14 At UI

James Martin, a professor of music at Cornell College, will present "Götterdämmerung and Themes of Contamination" Friday, Oct. 14, at 4:30 p.m. in the Gerber Lounge of the English-Philosophy Building. The presentation, part of the ongoing lecture series sponsored by the UI Opera Studies Group and UI International Programs, is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, Martin will discuss Wagner's use of a compositional approach that he identifies as "contamination." He will discuss the idea in general within "Götterdämmerung" and will isolate numerous specific examples, explaining their origins and what the dramatic function of the contamination might be. "Götterdämmerung" (Twilight of the Gods) is the last of the four operas that comprise Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" (The Ring of the Nibelung).

Martin has his undergraduate degree from Butler University and graduate degrees from University of Illinois and Northwestern University. Of the 12 articles he has published, six are on subjects related to Wagner. Martin was a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) faculty fellow at Columbia University in 1994 and at Princeton University in 2002.

The UI Opera Studies Group, established in 1999 and co-directed by Roberta Marvin and Robert Ketterer, is an interdisciplinary forum for the study of opera and related genres. From its inception, the Opera Studies Group has drawn faculty and advanced graduate students from several departments across campus to both formal and informal gatherings addressing myriad topics ranging from aesthetics to performance practices.

The Opera Studies Group is affiliated with UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean of international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and the community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

For more information or for special accommodations to attend the event, contact Robert Ketterer at 319-335-2327 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Robert Ketterer, 319-335-2327,; Writer: JoAnn Seeman