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University of Iowa News Release

Feb 22, 2006

Composer/Pianist Nez Returns To UI For Duo Recital With Violinist Wolfe

The violin-piano duo of Katie Wolfe from the University of Iowa music faculty and Ketty Nez, a composer and former UI faculty member, will present the world premiere of a piece Nez wrote for the two of them, as part of a free recital at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, in Harper Hall of the UI Voxman Music Building.

Wolfe and Nez began performing together when Nez taught at the UI, 2003-05. Their previous campus performance was last May, when Nez gave her Iowa City farewell recital, and since then they have formed a partnership that now includes recital programs and touring performances together.

On the March 8 program, four works written in the past three years -- including the premiere of Nez's new piece -- will be played between two of the major violin works of the 20th century. The recital will open with the Sonata for violin and piano by Claude Debussy and close with the Sonata for violin and piano No. 2 by Bela Bartok.

Between these 20th-century bookends, Wolfe and Nez will perform the premiere of "wrestless," composed in the summer of 2005; the Sonata for Violin and Piano by David Liptak, composed in 2004; "Lament for John" from 2003 by Richard Cornell; and "Star of the Country Down" by David Gompper, head of the composition area at the UI and director of the UI Center for New Music.

Nez said that "wrestless," "explores various algorithms of chordal and rhythmic development. . . . (P)layful and jazzy rhythms restlessly leap between violin and piano. The violin repeatedly tries to claim center stage by heroic virtuosic gestures, while occasional samba and Balinese gamelan kotekan -- interlocking patterns -- are heard in the piano, whose mind wanders elsewhere -- to other music briefly wafted in by the summer breeze."

Liptak, a successful and widely performed composer who teaches at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., wrote the Sonata for violin and piano "for Pia Terndrup Liptak and for performance by the duo she has with pianist Sylvie Beaudette. . . . 'Idyll' is a 'summer' piece, and it is the most leisurely of the three.  Contrasting to this is 'Ice,' which is slow and still, as if 'frozen.' The third movement, 'Restless,' moves quickly and darts from one idea to another."

Cornell is one of Nez's colleagues at Boston University, where he directs BU's Electroacoustic Music Studios. He directs Boston University Tanglewood Institute's Young Artists Composition Program and was recently composer in residence with the New England Philharmonic. The Muir Quartet premiered his String Quartet in 2000, the New England Philharmonic premiered his "Tidal Light" in May 2001, and in February 2002 premiered his Third Symphony.

In collaboration with visual artist Deborah Cornell, he has created sound works for the installation "The Sleep of Reason" and for the virtual reality works "Linea Australis" and "Tracer" at BU's computer graphics lab.

Completed in 2005, "Star of the Country Down" is the third piece Gompper has written for violin and piano based on Irish tunes, but the composer says it is "likely to become the first in a series of three pieces, together with 'Music in the Glen' from 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 variations moto perpetuo with a climax that finds the tune continually being fragmented, torn and warped."

Gompper's compositions are performed throughout the United States and Europe. He 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.

Gompper has traveled to Thessaloniki, Greece and the University of Auckland in New Zealand to lecture on current American musical trends in composition. In May, 1999, he performed a concert of his works and lectured at the Moscow Conservatory of Music in Russia. He has also served as a cultural specialist for the United States Information Agency in Kwangju, South Korea.

Nez is currently on the faculty of Boston University. In 2003, she completed a residency at the Ecole Nationale de Musique (National School of Music) in Montbeliard, France, where she worked with faculty and students on projects of live electronics and improvisation. In 2001, she was a visiting composer at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), and in 1998, she participated in the computer music course at the Institute de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris. Prior to her studies at IRCAM, she worked for two years with the composer Louis Andriessen in Amsterdam, where she co-founded the international contemporary music series Concerten Tot and Met.

Her music has been played at festivals in the US as well as abroad, including Bulgaria, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland and Japan. She entered the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 14 and received a bachelor's degree in piano performance from Curtis, as well as a bachelor's degree in psychology from Bryn Mawr College and a master's degree in composition from the Eastman School of Music and a doctorate in composition from the University of California, Berkeley.

Originally from Minnesota, Wolfe joined the string faculty of the UI School of Music in August 2004. She has had a diverse career as a soloist, teacher, chamber and orchestral musician on the national and international stage. She has performed in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, the Soviet Union, Spain and the Netherlands.

Wolfe received a bachelor's from Indiana University and a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music. After graduation, she received a Fulbright Lecture Award to teach and perform in Bolivia. She formed a string quartet that performed educational and public concerts throughout the country, taught at the National Conservatory, and served as Associate Concertmaster of the National Symphony of Bolivia.

Prior to teaching in Iowa, Wolfe taught violin, viola and chamber music at Oklahoma State University for five years. During that time she was associate concertmaster of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and performed frequent solo and chamber music concerts throughout the state.

As a chamber musician, she has performed with many noted musicians. Broadening her experiences and musical career as a freelance artist in New York City, she has performed and toured with the Jupiter Symphony, Philharmonia Virtuosi, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the S.E.M. Ensemble, City Island Baroque Ensemble, in Broadway pit orchestras, and with many other ensembles.

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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