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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 11, 2006

UI School of Music Will Host the 'Latin Jazz Festival' Jan. 20-21

The jazz area of the University of Iowa School of Music will present "Latin Jazz Festival" Jan. 20-21 in the UI Voxman Music Building. The festival will culminate in a free public performance featuring the UI Latin/jazz Ensemble, the UI Afro-Cuban Drum and Dance Ensemble, UI jazz faculty, percussion area head Dan Moore and guest artist Victor Mendoza at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21 in Clapp Recital Hall.

The two days of the festival will focus on different student groups. Friday, Jan. 20 will be "High School Day" at the festival, and Saturday, Jan. 21 will be "College Day." Both days area student musicians will have an opportunity for intensive study of Latin jazz. Internationally acclaimed vibraphonist Victor Mendoza from the Berklee College of Music in Boston will present clinics and master classes, and he will perform throughout the festival. The UI Jazz faculty will provide instruction, along with UI students from both the jazz and percussion areas. 

Four area high school jazz bands will participate in High School Day. The four participating groups are the bands from Iowa City High, directed by Bill Pringle; West High, directed by Rich Medd; Cedar Rapids Washington, directed by Steve Shanley; and North Scott High School, directed by Mike McMann.

Students from these groups will spend the full day and evening at the UI studying a variety of subjects in Latin jazz. UI jazz faculty including jazz area head John Rapson, Steve Grismore, Brent Sandy, James Dreier and Anthony Cox will provide instruction for the day, and members of the UI Latin/jazz Ensemble will assist in the day-long activities.

High School Day will culminate in a master-class with Mendoza at 7 p.m., followed by an informal performance by all participating schools of their Latin/jazz repertoire. Both events will be in Harper Hall of the Voxman Music Building.

College Day will feature a day of clinics and workshops with Mendoza and selected UI faculty. Students from UI and University of Northern Iowa are scheduled to participate. College Day will culminate in the 8 p.m. concert in Clapp Recital Hall, featuring original compositions by Mendoza along with classic Latin jazz pieces.

All clinics and concerts are free and open to the public.

For more information on he UI Latin Jazz Fest, contact James Dreier at

Considered by critics around the world to be one of today's finest Latin jazz artists, Mexican-born vibraphonist and composer Victor Mendoza has performed with his own group and as guest soloist around the globe. Presentations include guest appearances with the World Festival Orchestra under the direction of Paquito D'Rivera, the Milan Svoboda Orchestra in Prague, sold-out shows at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and in Tel Aviv, and as soloist with the Carlos Chavez Symphony Orchestra in Mexico City.

Jazziz Magazine called Mendoza "the genre's leading vibraphone practitioner" and "one of today's most resourceful composers." The Smithsonian Institute has included "Black Bean Blues" in "Latin Jazz: The Perfect Combination," its first major exhibition about this genre.

Recordings and performances with his own group and with D'Rivera, Danilo Perez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez and other Latin jazz artists have earned him the respect of critics and jazz fans around the globe. "This is Why," one of his previous recordings, earned him Latin Beat Magazine's designation as one of the Outstanding Latin Jazz Artists of the Year. "Black Bean Blues," his most recent recording, was named one of the best Latin jazz recordings of the year by Modern Drummer Magazine.

As a professor at the Berklee College of Music, Mendoza has earned an international reputation as a jazz educator, regularly conducting master classes at major music schools and universities around the world. His educational DVD,  "Latin Jazz Grooves" which focuses on Afro-Cuban performance and improvisation rhythmic concepts, is being released by Berklee Press/Hal Leonard.

The School of Music is 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 To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact

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,