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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 8, 2006

For Mozart's 250th, UI Philharmonia Performs Salieri, Haydn And Two Mozarts

The University of Iowa Philharmonia Orchestra will present a free concert with graduate student conductors, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Conductors for the concert will be Alec Mariani, Jason Hooper, Samuel Stapleton and Jeremy Starr.

The Philharmonia Orchestra is part of the orchestra program of the UI School of Music, which includes the University Symphony and three chamber orchestras. William LaRue Jones is director of orchestral studies at the UI School of Music.

This program of the Feb. 26 concert celebrates the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth. It features works by two composers that preceded Mozart -- his father and Antonio Salieri -- as well as the first numbered symphonies by Haydn and Mozart.

The complete program will be:

-- Symphony in D major, "Sinfonia Veneziana" (Venetian symphony), by Antonio Salieri, Alec Mariani, conductor;

-- Symphony No. 1 in D major by Franz Joseph Haydn, Jason Hooper, conductor;

-- "Toy" Symphony by Leopold Mozart, Samuel Stapleton, conductor; and

-- Symphony No. 1 in E-flat major, K16, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jeremy Starr, conductor.

Made famous in the play and movie "Amadeus" for something he didn't do -- murder Mozart -- Salieri was one of the most prominent musicians in Viennese society during the late 18th century. He rose to the highest musical post in the Viennese court, and both Beethoven and Schubert studied with him. He primarily composed operas and sacred music.

The Symphony in D major was created by combining two of Salieri's operas. The first movement is the complete overture "La Scuola de Gelosi" (The school of jealousy), one of Salieri's most popular comic operas. Premiered in Venice in 1778, it later played throughout Italy and Germany and even in London, Lisbon, Warsaw, Prague and St. Petersburg. The second and third movements are borrowed from "La Partenza inaspettata," which premiered in Rome in 1779.

Symphony No. 1 was not actually the first symphony Haydn wrote, although it was the first symphony in the Breitkopf and Haertel publishing catalog. Like Haydn's earliest symphonies, it has only three movements: a fast opening movement, a slow movement for strings only and a lively finale.

Mozart's first symphony, written when he was only eight, was written in London during one of his childhood concert tours arranged and managed by his father, Leopold Mozart. Leopold wrote in a letter that the performance of the symphony "was not so well attended as I had hoped," but nevertheless profitable.

All of Mozart's early symphonies were modeled after Italian theater symphonies, in three movements like Haydn's Symphony No. 1. Also noteworthy in this work is the influence of Johann Christian Bach, the youngest surviving son of J.S. Bach, known as "the London Bach." The most popular musician in England for more than 20 years, J.C. Bach was music master to the queen and producer of an important series of public concerts.

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. He has also performed with orchestras in Italy, Germany and Austria, and 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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