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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 21, 2006

UI Orchestras Will Give Joint Concert Dec. 3

The All-University String Orchestra and University of Iowa Philharmonia chamber orchestra will present a joint concert, conducted by graduate students in the conducting program in the UI School of Music, at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus

Conductors Lucas Darger, Alec Mariani, Kevin Pearce and Samuel Stapleton are all students of William LaRue Jones, UI director of orchestral studies. The concert will be free and open to the public.

The All-University String Orchestra will play four pieces:

-- Short Overture for Strings by Jean Berger with Pearce conducting;

-- the Adagio for Organ and Strings by Tomaso Albinoni, adapted by Remo Giazotto, with Stapleton conducting;

-- Overture for String Orchestra by Gordon Jacob with Darger conducting; and

-- the Suite for Strings by John Rutter with Mariani conducting.

The Philharmonia Orchestra will also play four pieces:

-- the Overture to "King Stephen" by Beethoven with Stapleton conducting;

-- Aaron Copland' "Quiet City," featuring Brian Umlah, trumpet and Stuart Breczinski, English horn, with Darger, conducting.

-- the chorale "So Gehst Du Nun, Mein Jesu, Hin" ("Thus do you fare, my Jesus,") by J.S. Bach, transcribed for orchestra by Alfred Reed, with Pearce conducting; and

-- the Suite No. 1 from "Carmen" by Georges Bizet with Mariani conducting.

Gordon Jacob was a British composer who is best known for his works for wind and brass ensembles, as well as books on orchestration and score reading. The Overture for Strings was finished Jan. 24, 1964, and is one of only a handful of pieces Jacob wrote for Strings. It was commissioned by the Phoenix String Orchestra, who premiered the work with Jacob conducting on May 19, 1964.

Best known for his choral music, John Rutter studied at Clare College in Cambridge, where he composed his first published works, made his first recording as a conductor, and later became music director. Rutter has been named an Honorary Fellow of the Westminister Choir College, a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians, and honored with a Lambeth Doctorate of Music from the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Suite for Strings is a four-movement work based upon British folk songs.

"Quiet City" was originally written in 1939 for Irwin Shaw's play of the same name. Although the play closed after only three performances, in 1940 Copland arranged the music into a short suite for English horn, trumpet, and string orchestra, and in this form it has been a popular piece for orchestral programs.

Bizet is best known for "Carmen," today one of the best known and most performed operas in the world. Bizet unfortunately died only three months after the opera's premiere, and so never knew of its world-wide success. The Suite No. 1 draws all of its musical material directly from the opera, including some of the opera's most familiar music: the "Seguedille," with its Flamenco dance music taken from the scene in which Carmen first seduces Don Jose and convinces him to allow her escape' " The Dragoons of Alcala," a march played by bassoon and other members of the woodwinds that is associated with Don Jose; and. the famous Toreador Song associated with Carmen's new love, Escamillo.

Mariani has a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York College at Potsdam and a master's degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He currently plays double bass 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 Jones for a master's degree in orchestral conducting.

Pearce was assistant director of bands and orchestras at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Ill., where he conducted orchestras, concert bands, and jazz ensembles, as well as the school's annual musical theater production. He received his bachelor's degree in music education from Indiana University. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in orchestral conducting with William LaRue Jones.

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 He was concertmaster of a world youth symphony in Matsumoto, Japan.

Darger received a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah. He has performed on orchestra tours internationally, including a month-long tour through the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany. He was assistant conductor with the All City Children's Orchestra in Utah from 1998, eventually becoming conductor of the ensemble. In 2004 he became Associate Conductor of the Lincoln Youth Symphony, leading them through the end of the '05-'06 season.  He was invited in both 2005 and 2006 to conduct the Lake Bonneville Community Symphony for their pre-fireworks Independence Day concert, amplified to a crowd of about 8000 people.  He has also substituted for various High Schools and Middle Schools in the Salt Lake Valley, leading one Junior High School to their first Superior rating at a festival after their teacher was called to active military duty.  He is currently pursuing a Master of the Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting with Dr. William LaRue Jones at The University of Iowa.

One of four major orchestral ensembles in the UI School of Music, the Philharmonia, features an expandable instrumentation that allows for a variety of repertoire from Classical to contemporary composers. Designed for undergraduate students, Philharmonia presents two or more concerts each semester and is conducted by graduate conducting majors in the School of Music.

The All-University String Orchestra (AUSO) is designed specifically for non-music majors who wish to continue playing their string instrument while studying at the UI and includes students from diverse academic pursuits throughout the university. The AUSO performs one concert per semester as well as various community service performances.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at You may visit the UI School of Music web site at

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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; cell: 319-541-2846;