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University of Iowa News Release

April 6, 2006

UI Composers Workshop Presents New Works By Students April 16

The Composers Workshop of the University of Iowa School of Music will present a concert of new works by student composers, at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 16, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, featuring UI faculty and student performers, will be free and open to the public.

One of the main showcases for students in the composition program, the Composers Workshop presents concerts of new works each semester. The program is open to any composition student at the UI, from the undergraduate through the doctoral level. Performances typically feature faculty, student and guest performers in a wide variety of performance media.

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.

There will be seven works on the April 16 program:

-- "Broken" for piano by Quentin Oliver, an undergraduate viola major in the School of Music, performed by UI faculty member Alan Huckleberry.

-- "For The Day" for flute, horn, bassoon and cello by Oliver, performed by a student ensemble.

-- "Metamorfa I" for solo bassoon by doctoral composition student Katerina Stamatelos, performed by UI faculty member Benjamin Coelho, who commissioned the work.

 -- Piano Quartet: "Echoes" by doctoral composition student Brian Vlasak, performed by a student ensemble.

-- "Nexus-1" for solo oboe by Rachel Foote, a master's student in composition and oboe, performed by the composer.

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

-- "Self Portrait" for two-channel playback by Paul Alan Brenner, a doctoral student in composition.

Stamatelos wrote, "'Metamorfa I' is the first in a collection of solo compositions adapting my personal approach to the Byzantine musical system. The quarter notes in use are part of the internal division of the Greek tetrachords -- four frequencies whose outer parts are fixed and form the interval of a perfect fourth. 'Metamorfa I' (after-forms) is based on three independent structures, each utilizing different 'shiftings' of the inside frequencies of the tetrachords; the interactions of these three structures with each other produce the 'after-forms'."

Vlasak wrote that "Echoes" "is structured in three movements: an energetic opening sonata allegro that focuses on pitches as objects to be manipulated, a much more expressive and lyrical second movement, and the third movement, which serves as an echo of the first movement as seen through some wildly distorting mirror. Throughout the work, there is a gesture that starts quite strongly and then fades into nothingness. At first it is buried, but as the work progresses, it comes closer and closer to the foreground until the final movement, when it is all that remains."

Foote's written program note explains that "Nexus-1" "explores extended techniques for the oboe in a limited pitch space. The piece works with timbres as an equal counterpart to melody and rhythm. Techniques used include flutter tongue, multiphonics, harmonics, double harmonics, and timbre trills."

The title of "In a Yellow Wood" refers to the first line of Robert Frost's famous poem "The Road Not Taken." The music uses two different harmonic elements to represent the two different roads in Frost's poem. Shoemaker wrote, "The piece is primarily built upon a recurring pattern of four six-note sonorities, each of which contains 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 section of the work."

Brenner developed the concept for "Self Portrait" while living in downtown Chicago. He began constructing the piece there and finished it in Iowa City. He wonders if it is possible to "create a musical portrait of oneself." He writes that the piece "attempts to introduce the listener to the composer's view of himself. The sound source for this experiment -- a rather cynical statement -- is a laugh track taken from a sound effect CD."

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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