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

Sept. 1, 2005

Two New Works Will Be Featured By Center For New Music Sept. 16

The University of Iowa Center for New Music (CNM) will present two world premieres as part of the program for its first concert of the 2005-06 season, at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert will be free and open to the public.

A flexible organization devoted to the presentation of the music of the past 100 years, the Center for New Music is part of the UI Division of Performing Arts. The center supports its own performing ensemble, including both faculty and students of the School of Music, and presents concerts of recent music by guest artists.

Featured performers for the Sept. 16 concert will be David Gompper, director of the CNM and a faculty member in the theory and composition area of the UI School of Music, piano; and guest artist Wolfgang David, violin. They will perform together one of the world premieres, Gompper's "Star of the Country Down."

The concert's other premiere will be "The Waves Roll On, Thundering and Shimmering" for chamber orchestra by UI alumnus Joseph Dangerfield, who is now teaching at McNeese State University.

Other works on the concert will be "Piccolos and Plungers" for flute/piccolo, soprano saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano and two percussionists by John Berners, a visiting faculty member in composition and theory at the UI School of Music; and "Crazed for the Flames" for chamber orchestra by Evan Chambers, who teaches at the University of Michigan and is resident composer with the new-music ensemble Quorum.

"Star of the Country Down" is the third piece for violin and piano based on Irish tunes that Gompper has written, but the composer says it is likely to end up the first in a grouping of the three works, together with "Music in the Glen," written in 2004, and "Finnegan's Wake" from 1997. The single movement work, beginning and ending with simple statements of the tune, is made up of a series of perpetual-motion variations with a climax that finds the tune continually being fragmented, torn and warped.

"The Waves Roll On, Thundering and Shimmering," completed this year, is Dangerfield's dissertation for his UI doctorate in composition. He explained that the title is a particularly vivid line from the poem "The Last Love" by 19th-century poet Fedor Tychev. In the poem, Tychev equates the sea to the "boundless and free" afterlife, "bathed in dim radiance . . . in the solitude of night." The composer wrote, "Using that image as my impetus, I created a motive with a very simple contour that reflected the ebb and tide motion of the sea, as suggested by Tyuchev."

The score is scheduled to be performed and professionally recorded by the Moscow Ensemble of Soloists in April 2006 and distributed on CD by Albany Records the following autumn.

Gompper has lived and worked professionally as a pianist, conductor and composer in New York, San Diego, London, Nigeria, Michigan and Texas. He studied at the Royal College of Music in London. After teaching in Nigeria, he received his doctorate at the University of Michigan, taught at the University of Texas, Arlington, and since 1991 has been professor of composition at the UI and director of the CNM. In 2002-03, he was in Russia as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching, performing and conducting at the Moscow Conservatory.

Gompper's compositions have been performed throughout the United States and Europe. In 1999, his "Transitus" for wind ensemble was premiered at Carnegie Hall, and a number of his works have been premiered in London's Wigmore Hall. Gompper completed a number of works this past summer for premieres this fall, including "Star of the Country Down." His new compositions for organ will be premiered at the Moscow Autumn Concert Series in Moscow this November along with works for violin and piano. Gompper is completing his violin concerto, which will be premiered and recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic next February 2006.

David has performed on the international stage, both as a recitalist and as a guest soloist with leading orchestras, including a 1999 performance of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" with the New York Virtuosi Chamber Symphony in the Great Assembly Hall at the United Nations. Thomas Frost, senior executive producer at SONY Classical, predicted "a significant international concert and recording career" for David, and the Washington Post reports that he has "scaled the heights of music making."

David concertizes widely in Europe, the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea, India, Egypt, Israel, Turkey and South Africa. He is the winner of competitions and prizes including the University of Vienna's "Foundation Stefanie Hohl" award, top prize in the Kulenkampff International Competition (Cologne) and the International Music Competition of Pretoria, South Africa.

David performs on a violin built in 1731 by Joseph Guarneri del Gesu, Cremona, on exclusive loan to him from the Austrian National Bank.

Dangerfield holds a bachelor's degree in music theory and composition from Marshall University and a masters in composition from Bowling Green State University, in addition to a doctorate in composition from the UI, where he studied with Gompper. He also studied Electroacoustic music with Lawrence Fritts of the UI Electronic Music Studio. His music has been performed at festivals in the United States, England, Italy and Cairo.

Berners holds bachelors degrees in both trombone and mathematics from Northwestern University. He received a master's degree in composition and a doctorate in composition and music theory from the University of Michigan, where Chambers was among his teachers.

His works have been performed by the Detroit Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, Boston Symphony brass section, Tanglewood Festival Brass, Brave New Works and many university ensembles. His music has been recorded by the Millar Brass Ensemble, Brave New Works and UI faculty pianist Alan Huckleberry, among others. He has taught at Interlochen, Kalamazoo College, the Colburn School in Los Angeles, Cal State Fullerton and American University in Washington, D.C. His composition dissertation, a concerto for trumpet and orchestra entitled A Walk in Heavenly Grass, was completed in 2004 and premiered with piano by trumpeter David Greenhoe from the UI faculty.

The Center for New Music was founded in 1966 with a seed grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The center promotes the performance of new music by providing a core group of specialists in contemporary performance techniques. Its programming has included world premieres as well as acknowledged contemporary masterworks.

In November, 1998, an east-coast tour by the Center included a performance at Merkin Hall in New York City and by invitation at the final performance of the Region I Conference of Society of Composers, Inc., at Connecticut College in New London. Critic Paul Griffiths opened his New York Times review of the Merkin Hall concert by observing that "an ensemble of faculty and graduate students from the University of Iowa performed strongly Tuesday night," and he praised Gompper for "the concert's clarity and directness."

In 1986, the center received the Commendation of Excellence from Broadcast Music, Inc., the world's largest performing rights organization, and it recently received grants from the Aaron Copland Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts. Today, the Center for New Music is supported by the UI Division of Performing Arts.

The CNM and the UI School of Music are units 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,