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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 24, 2006

Organist Verkade Will Honor Late UI Faculty Member On March 9 Recital

Organist Gary Verkade will present a memorial recital for Robert Paredes, a member of the University of Iowa music faculty who died last August, including the premiere of a piece by Paredes, at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 9 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The recital will be free and open to the public.

Verkade, who teaches organ in Pitea, Sweden, said he built the program around Paredes' new work for organ, "Fleeting Ecologies in an Ontology of Halting," which was written for Verkade and finished shortly before Paredes' death.

The complete program will comprise five works from different periods and styles. The complete program, in order, will be:

-- "Do Not Go Gentle" (After a Poem by Dylan Thomas) for organ (pedals alone) by the 20th-century American composer Vincent Persichetti;

-- "Dolorosa Pavan" and "Dolorosa Galliard" by the 16th- 17th-century English composer Peter Philips;

-- six pieces from "L'Orgue Mystique" (The mystical organ), op. 57, by the 20th-century French composer Charles Tournemire

-- Fugue with Three Subjects (unfinished) from J.S. Bach's "Art of Fugue"; and

-- Paredes' "Fleeting Ecologies in an Ontology of Halting."

"Robert Paredes thought a lot about writing a piece for me long before he began work on 'Fleeting Ecologies'," Verkade wrote recently. "I remember talking to him about it in the late 1980's when I was finishing my doctorate at the University of Iowa and Bob was studying with Kenneth Gaburo.

"He let the idea and the work gestate. Last August I visited Bob and we talked about the score he had produced. He had doubts as to whether he could consider the work finished. He was able to answer several important questions and, having those answers, we were able to declare the work finished. Bob died not one week later.

"'Fleeting Ecologies in an Ontology of Halting' avoids typical organ textures by eschewing almost completely any contrapuntal writing. It is a continuous variation of different musical cells, celebrates the short phrase, the single tone and the single chord as well as bringing the concept of aspiration between events into the compositional fabric -- perhaps just as Bob himself, the fabulous performer, played his clarinet."

Paredes received a doctorate in composition from the UI after studies with the experimental composer Kenneth Gaburo. A performer of eclectic talents, he was an experienced jazz and studio musician, an accomplished Klezmer clarinetist and a former member of the Harry Partch Ensemble, and was once described as "one of the hidden greats of the American experimental tradition."

He served on the jazz and composition faculties at the UI and was artist-in-residence at several schools and other organizations.

Verkade has won critical praise during performance and lecture tours of the United States and Europe. An accomplished and versatile organist, he performs a varied repertoire, from the earliest extant keyboard music of the 14th century to the avant-garde music of today.

His compositions include works for solo instruments, chamber groups and electronic media. The recipient of many grants and awards, he has founded performing groups, initiated concert series and taught and lectured at universities throughout Germany, Sweden and the United States. He is a member of the improvisation group SYNTHESE, which he co-founded with Essen organist Matthias Geuting and included American cellist/composer Scott Roller.

Verkade earned his masters and doctorate in organ performance and pedagogy from the UI and the organ performance and concert exam diplomas from the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany. He taught at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., from 1995-2000 and is currently professor of organ at the Musikhogskolan in Pitea, Sweden.

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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