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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 3, 2006

North American Saxophone Conference Has Many UI Concerts Feb. 15-18

Major ensembles of the University of Iowa School of Music will present a series of concerts as part of the Biennial Conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) -- a professional organization for performers, teachers and students of the saxophone -- during its meeting on the UI campus Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 15-18.

The four-day event, which will attract hundreds of saxophone enthusiasts from around the country and overseas and transform Iowa City into the world saxophone capitol, will include lectures, workshops, master classes, recitals and competitions for the participants. Kenneth Tse, the UI saxophone professor, is the host of the conference.

Many of the performances that are part of the conference will be open to the public free of charge. Among them will be:

-- Thursday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. in Clapp Recital Hall: the UI Center for New Music and conductor David Gompper with saxophone soloists Steven Jordheim and Jonathan Helton playing works that were written for them;

-- Thursday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. in Clapp Recital Hall: the UI Saxophone Ensemble, directed by Tse, with saxophone soloists Jean-Yves Fourmeau, who is an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at the UI, and Debra Richtmeyer;

-- Friday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. in the UI Museum of Art: NASA Jazz Competition finalists, accompanied by a rhythm section of UI jazz faculty members Nik Gruber, guitar; Anthony Cox, bass; and Jim Dreier, drums;

-- Friday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. in Clapp Recital Hall: Johnson County Landmark jazz band, directed by John Rapson, with saxophone soloists Bennie Wallace, Matt Olson, William Ford and Thomas Walsh; and

-- Saturday, Feb. 18, in Hancher Auditorium: the UI Symphony Band directed by Myron Welch, with saxophone soloists Kenneth Tse, Timothy Roberts and William Street.

Also associated with the conference will be "Classical Brazil," a concert on the Signature Series of subscription concerts by the University Symphony, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in Hancher Auditorium. The concert will feature conductor William LaRue Jones and saxophone soloists Eugene Rousseau -- a UI alumnus who is one of the world's leading classical saxophonists -- and Clifford Leaman.

A complete schedule of events, including all performances, is available on the conference Web site, at .

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On their Thursday afternoon concert, the CNM will present two works: "Dialogue Symphonique" by Lucie Robert-Diessel, with Jordheim as soloist; and Rhapsody for saxophone and wind ensemble by Yehuda Yannay with Helton as soloist. Both works will feature an instrumental ensemble directed by Gompper, a professor of composition in the School of Music and director of the CNM.

Based in Paris, Robert-Diessel has performed as a piano soloist throughout France, the United States, Canada, and Japan. She has recorded for the radio stations across Europe: BBC in England, RAI in Italy, DRS in Switzerland and WDR in Germany. She has written more than 80 pieces for keyboard, voice, chamber ensemble, and orchestra, including more than 20 pieces for saxophone. "Dialogue Symphonique" is a single movement chamber concerto that was composed for Steven in 2002.

A native of Romania by way of Israel, Yannay is now teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. A prolific and versatile composer, conductor, film maker and performance artist, Yannay has composed more than a 120 works including chamber music, music for orchestra, electronic, live electronic and synthesized pieces, environmental compositions, film and music theater. Commissioned by Helton, the Rhapsody for saxophone and wind ensemble showcases what the composer calls "an exuberant, virtuosic saxophone part."

Jordheim teaches at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wis. The winner of the Geneva Competition (1983) and the Concert Artists Guild International Competition (1984), he has performed and taught at music festivals around the world. He has performed as soloist with orchestras in China, Italy, Switzerland, France and the United States, and his recordings of music of David Maslanka and Rodney Rogers are available through Albany Records.

Helton is an active solo recitalist and chamber musician who has performed in Chicago, Montreal, London, Paris, Taipei, Singapore, Washington, D.C. and New York City's Lincoln Center. His performances have been heard on North Carolina Public Radio, on WFMT in Chicago and in national syndication. He is featured in solo and chamber music performances on compact discs from Elf/Ludwig, Innova and Mark Records. He is currently on the faculty of the School of Music of the University of Florida.

A member of the UI faculty since 1991, Gompper has received numerous awards for his academic and musical achievements, including the Charles E. Ives Prize for composition from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a Composers Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His works are performed throughout the United States and Europe, and he has traveled to Russia, Greece, New Zealand and South Korea to lecture and present his music.

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The Thursday evening concert by the UI Saxophone Ensemble will include arrangements of classical repertoire and other works, as well as original works for saxophone ensemble. Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor Fourmeau will be soloist in an arrangement of the Concertino de Camera (Chamber concertino) by the 20th-century French composer Jacques Ibert. Other works on the program will be:

-- an arrangement of two marches for military band by Beethoven;

-- J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, arranged by John C. Worley;

-- the Octet for saxophones by Walter S. Hartley;

-- "Meditation" for saxophones by Guy Lacour;

-- "Carmen Medley," based on Bizet's opera and arranged for saxophones by Mark Walton; and

-- two circus marches by Iowan Karl King -- "Barnum and Bailey's Favorite" and "The Melody Shop" -- as arranged by UI Assistant Director of Bands Kevin Kastens.

Tse joined the UI faculty in the fall of 2002. As a Yamaha performing artist and Vandoren-endorsed artist, he is an active international performer and clinician. Tse has given performances and master classes in many parts of Asia, Europe and the United States. Many composers have written pieces for him, including saxophone sonatas, saxophone concertos, solo and chamber works by David DeBoor Canfield, John Cheetham, Ketty Nez and Leonard Mark Lewis.

Upon his 1996 Carnegie Hall debut, the New York Times heralded Tse as "a young virtuoso" and the Herald Times described his playing as "virtuosic brilliance" with a "beauteous, ever-so-smooth voice." He has appeared as a soloist with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Hong Kong Wind Philharmonia, Indiana University Wind Ensemble, Baylor University Wind Ensemble, Emory University Wind Ensemble, Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony and the Des Moines Symphony, among others. He has released four commercial solo recordings.

More information about Tse is available on his web page, at http://

Considered an heir to the French saxophone tradition, Fourmeau is active as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player and a teacher. An exceptional player as a student, he won the first prize at the Paris Conservatory at the age of 17. He is the founder of the internationally recognized Jean-Yves Fourmeau Saxophone Quartet. He teaches at the Academy of Cergy-Pontoise, France, and was guest faculty at the Indiana University School of Music. An artist consultant for Yamaha and a director of collection to the publisher Billaudot, he has recorded 11 CDs and is the only saxophonist in the world distributed under the Philips Classic label.

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Bennie Wallace, hailed as a "new saxophone giant" and "the most important reed player" since Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman, will be the featured guest on the Friday evening concert by Johnson County Landmark (JCL). Playing music by a variety of jazz greats -- from Fats Waller and Freddie Hubbard to Charles Mingus, Jimmy Giuffre and Coleman Hawkins -- JCL will also feature solos by NASA guest artists Ford, Olsen and Walsh, and UI jazz faculty members.

One highlight will be a performance of Giuffre's "Four Brothers" -- originally written for Woody Hermann's powerful saxophone section of Giuffre, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn and Stan Getz -- with Wallace, Walsh, Ford and Tse as the soloists. UI jazz faculty members Steve Grismore, Anthony Cox, Brent Sandy and Jim Dreier will be featured in a performance of Mingus' "Gunslingin' Bird."

The closing two sets of the concert will feature Wallace, in combination with UI faculty and other soloists. Pieces in this part of the concert will include Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," the traditional "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho," Coleman Hawkins' "Queer Notions" and Mingus' "Ecclusiasticus."

Wallace took up the tenor sax at age 12. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1968, and after several years in New York he burst onto the international jazz scene with his award-winning first release, "The Fourteen Bar Blues." He later made recordings as a leader with diverse jazz greats including Tommy Flanagan, Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Dave Holland, John Scofield, Elvin Jones, Harold Ashby, Yosuke Yamashita and Jimmy Knepper. An emphasis on his Southern roots led to collaborations with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dr. John and other blues and gospel artists. After several successful years as film music composer in Hollywood, Wallace recently returned to the East Coast.

A UI alumnus, Ford is director of the instrumental program at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn. He began his music career as a member of the United States Army Band, serving first in the 81st Army Band in Chicago and later in the 3rd Infantry Division Band in Wurtzburg, Germany. In addition, Ford toured China in 1980 as a member of the University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble. He has performed with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra and Quad City Symphony Orchestra

Olson is Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Furman University, in Greenville, SC. He has performed with Randy Brecker, Chris Vadala, Manhattan Transfer, Lou Rawls, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Johnny Mathis and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. With the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and director William Russo he has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Chicago's Orchestra Hall and the Jazz Showcase, as well as with Benny Carter and Kurt Elling. His debut CD will be released in early 2006.

Walsh teaches saxophone and jazz studies at Indiana University in Bloomington and is a Yamaha Performing Artist. An active performer of jazz and classical music, he performs regularly with the Louisville Orchestra and he has appeared as a solo recitalist, in chamber groups, jazz small groups, big bands and Broadway shows. He has presented concerts and workshops across the United States, as well as in Japan, Germany, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Azerbaijan and Costa Rica. He has recorded both jazz and classical CDs.

Rapson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music as director of jazz studies in August 1993. A recording artist for the Sound Aspects and Nine Winds labels, he is a composer and trombonist whose work mixes ethnic and experimental elements with more conventional jazz forms. His recent experimental jazz recording "Dances and Orations" has been hailed as "one of the most vital CDs to come around in a long time" in Jazziz and as "a conceptual and musical triumph" by Josef Woodard in the Independent. The CD scored 10 out of 10 for artistic merit in Grammophone magazine's "Good CD Guide" for jazz recordings, which also called it "beautiful and unique."

Previous albums under Rapson's direction are "Bing" for Sound Aspects, and "Buwah" and "Deeba dah bwee" for Nine Winds. He has also recorded "A Mingus Among Us" and "Been There, Done That" with Johnson County Landmark.

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The Saturday concert by Welch and the UI Symphony Band is part of both the NASA Conference and the band's annual Honor Band Weekend, which brings outstanding high school band students to campus for workshops and a concert. Consequently, the Symphony Band program includes both original concert band repertoire and works that feature saxophone soloists:

-- Overture for Band by John Heins;

-- "Tre Vie" (Three highways), Concerto for alto saxophone and concert band by Malcolm Forsyth, with Street, who commissioned and premiered the work, as saxophone soloist;

-- "Fantasy and Dance" by Andreas Makris, with Roberts as saxophone soloist;

-- "Dance of Uzume" by Piet Swerts with Tse as saxophone soloist; and

-- "Bells for Stokowski" by Cedar Rapids native Michael Daugherty.

Heins wrote that his Overture for Band "was written to provide audiences with an exciting concert opener featuring contemporary harmonies and rhythmic interest for each section of the band. Driving rhythms in the brass and flourishing passages in the woodwinds appear throughout the composition."

Street commissioned Forsyth's concerto, with funding from the Canada Council and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Originally scored for symphony orchestra, it was transcribed by the composer for concert band. The title was added when the first performance of the concerto was given in Pesaro, Italy. It refers to three of the ancient roads leading out of Rome: Via Appia, Via Flaminia and Via Salaria, the last-named of which leads directly to Pesaro itself, and was so named because it was along this route that supplies of salt were brought to Rome.

A member of a younger generation of Belgian composers, Swerts works in many musical fields: piano performance, conducting and composition. He composed "Dance of Uzume" at the request of the Japanese saxophonist Nobuya Sugawa. The piece is a concertino based on a Japanese myth: Out of anger toward her brother the storm god, the sun goddess hides in a cave. However, the goddess of joy -- Uzume -- entices the sun goddess out of the cave by dancing wildly. The joy and laughter of the other gods are they watch Uzume rouses the curiosity of the sun goddess, and with her appearance, light returns to earth.

Daugherty has created a niche in the music world that is uniquely his own, composing concert music inspired by contemporary American popular culture. For example, his "Metropolis Symphony" is a tribute to the Superman comics. His string quartets include "Sing Sing: J. Edgar Hoover" and "Elvis Everywhere," both performed on tour and recorded by the Kronos Quartet. His opera "Jackie O" has been produced in America, Canada, France and Sweden.

Daugherty wrote, "'Bells for Stokowski' as a tribute to one of the most influential and controversial conductors of the 20th century. As maestro of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski became famous for interpreting classical music in brilliant new ways, and expanding his audience's expectations of what they might hear in a concert hall.

"In 'Bells for Stokowski,' I imagine Stokowski in Philadelphia visiting the Liberty Bell at sunrise, and listening to all the bells of the city resonate. . . . In keeping with Stokowski's musical vision, I look simultaneously to the past and the future of American concert music."

Roberts is principal saxophonist and a national tour soloist with the United States Navy Band in Washington, DC. Having performed for four U.S. presidents and throughout 48 states since joining the ensemble in 1987, Roberts is a regularly featured soloist throughout the Washington, D.C. area and around the world. He has often performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, on European festival tours and on numerous recordings on the Dorian and Delos labels. He has had more 10 pieces composed especially for him.

Street teaches saxophone and chamber music and directs the Symphonic Wind Ensemble at the University of Alberta. He has appeared as soloist with the Edmonton and Milwaukee Symphonies, the Orchestra Filharmonica Marchigiani, the Orchestra de Camara del Nuevo Mundo, the Chicago Festival Orchestra, the United States Navy Band and the Royal Air Force Band of Belgium. During the 2004-05 season he performed and taught in France and toured the United States with pianist Roger Admiral and saxophonist Jean-Marie Londeix giving a series of concerts, master classes and lectures.

Welch has been director of bands at the UI since 1980. In addition to conducting the Symphony Band and Chamber Wind Ensemble, Welch coordinates the graduate program in band conducting, and he teaches courses in instrumental methods, conducting and band literature. He was named a collegiate fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts in recognition of years of distinguished teaching, research and service to the college.

Welch is past president of the American Bandmasters Association, the Big 10 Band Directors Association and the Iowa Bandmasters Association. He is a frequent guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician with bands throughout the United States..

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Tickets for the Feb. 15 University Symphony Concert are $8 (UI student and youth $3; senior citizen $6) and are available from the Hancher Auditorium box office. All other concerts listed in this release are open to the public free of charge.

Hancher box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to 319-353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets also may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hancher box office website: .

Hancher box office orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

A native of Vinton, Iowa, Beam willed her farm to the UI in 1977. Her only university connection was a relative who graduated from the College of Medicine. Proceeds from the sale of the farm were used to establish the visiting professorships program in her name. Since 1977, hundreds of eminent scholars and scientists have visited the UI campus to give public lectures and to meet with students and faculty.

For more information on NASA, visit the organization's Web page at, or the conference Web page, .

The School of Music and the Center for New Music are part 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 The Center for New Music has a Web page at, and the Band Department Web page is .

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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,