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University of Iowa News Release

April 7, 2006

Orchestras From UI School Of Music Present Joint Concert April 23

The Philharmonia chamber orchestra and the All-University String Orchestra from the University of Iowa School of Music will present a joint concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 23, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, featuring student conductors, will be free and open to the public.

The conductors -- Jason Hooper, Alec Mariani, Jeremy Starr and Sam Stapleton -- are graduate students working with William LaRue Jones, the director of orchestral studies at the UI School of Music.

The All University String Orchestra will play four works: "Capriol Suite" by Peter Warlock with Hooper conducting; "Festliche Musik" for strings and piano by Hermann Schroeder with Stapleton conducting; the well known Canon of Johann Pachelbel with Mariani conducting; and "Quatro Momentos Musicais" No. 3 (Four musical moments) by Brazilian composer Ernani Aguiar with Starr conducting.

Philharmonia will play the Overture to "Preciosa" by Carl Maria von Weber with Starr conducting, and the Ballet Suite No. 1 by Dmitri Shostakovich with Hooper conducting.

Peter Warlock was actually the penname of English composer Phillip Heseltine. His "Capriol Suite" was composed for full orchestra in 1925, and the popular edition for strings was published a year later. The six dance movements are based on music from a Renaissance dance instruction booklet that is today well known to dance historians, "L'Orchesographie" by Jehan Tabourot.

Aguiar, well known in Brazil as conductor, musicologist, and composer, was born in 1949 and remains active in the music world today. He currently holds the position of director of the Villa-Lobos Institute and professor of conducting, both at the University of Rio de Janeiro. His compositions range from opera to instrumental music, but it is choral music that has earned him his reputation. Like much of his music, the four brief movements of his "Quatro Momentos Musicais" No. 3. feature percussive effects and sharp dissonance, focusing on simple forms and rhythms.

"Preciosa" is a melodramatic play by Pius Alexander Wolff for which Weber wrote incidental music. The play's Spanish gypsy setting is reflected in Weber's music, which supposedly includes an "authentic gypsy melody." The overture begins with the orchestral imitation of Spanish castanets. The second section introduces the gypsy melody set in the style of a march. The same melody soon returns in a much faster tempo to begin the main part of the overture, a sonata form with a contrasting second theme.

Shostakovich's First Ballet Suite is a collection of movements from "The Limpid Stream," a ballet premiered in Leningrad in 1935, plus the "Lyric Waltz" from his Suite for Jazz Orchestra, written in 1934.

"The Limpid Stream" ran into a series of political problems. In 1935, the Soviet government was engaged in a military conflict with Cossacks, who are portrayed in the ballet stripped of their defining cultural attributes -- not dancing to their own folk tunes. But by 1936, the official Soviet policy, worried by the coming conflicts with Nazi Germany, ended the argument and brought the Cossacks into the Soviet military. Now their culture could once again be celebrated. A few years later, the tone of the ballet was perceived to be comical and it completely lost its original meaning.

Mariani has a bachelor's degree in music education from the State University of New York College at Potsdam and a master's degree in double bass performance from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He was a member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra, the Nevada Chamber Symphony, the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, the Saginaw Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Northern New York. Mariani taught orchestra in the Las Vegas Metropolitan area at both the High School and Middle School level for eight years between 1997-2005. He currently plays in the Cedar Rapids Symphony while studying at the UI School of Music with Volkan Orhon for a doctorate in double bass performance and with William LaRue Jones for a master's degree in orchestral conducting.

Stapleton received his bachelor's degree in violin performance from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He has spent the past two years teaching private and group Suzuki violin lessons in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids and playing with the Cedar Rapids and Dubuque Symphonies. Samuel has performed with orchestras in Italy, Germany and Austria. He was concertmaster of a world youth symphony in Matsumoto, Japan. This fall marks his first semester studying with Jones for a master's in orchestral conducting.

Starr received his bachelor of music degree from Brigham Young University, where he served as concertmaster of the Philharmonic Orchestra. While in Utah, he played in the first violin section of the Orchestra on Temple Square, the performing and recording volunteer orchestra for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. During the summers of 2002 and 2003, he led the Idyllwild Festival Orchestra as concertmaster and has played in the Wichita Symphony. This is his second year studying with Jones in the master's degree orchestral conducting program.

Hooper transferred to the UI School of Music from Oklahoma State University. There, he studied conducting with Richard Prior while teaching lessons in the horn studio, teaching undergraduate music theory and serving as the associate conductor of the Oklahoma State University Symphony Orchestra. Hooper also headed the student chamber recitals and conducted ensembles in the student composers' concert. He received a bachelor's degree in horn performance from Oklahoma State in 2003. At the UI he is studying orchestral conducting with Jones in the master's degree program.

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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