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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 5, 2006

Wolfe-Nez Duo Will Play Contemporary Music At Oct. 21 Recital

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 a free recital of contemporary music at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

This is the third program of mostly contemporary music the duo has given. They began their collaboration when Nez was a faculty member at UI, and they continue working together even though Nez now teaches at Boston University.

"Ketty has introduced me to the music of some wonderful composers," Wolfe commented. "We try to program at least one standard work from the 20th or 21st century on each concert. In this case, all but one of the works on the program are by living composers, and we will be performing several of them for the composers themselves, at Boston University and the Eastman School of Music in addition to Iowa."

The complete program comprises five works:

--Theme and Variations by Olivier Messiaen.

--"Wrestless" by Nez, which the duo premiered at the UI in 2005.

--"Those Infernal Exsanguinators" by Tom Schnauber.

--"In Variations" by Robert Morris.

--"Capriccio" by David Dzubay.

Messiaen composed the Theme and Variations in 1932 as a wedding gift for his first wife, the violinist and composer Claire Delbos, and gave the premiere with her in Paris the same year. One of the composer's few chamber works, the score offers four variations that elaborate the theme with ongoing increases in speed of figuration and various forms of counterpoint. The work culminates in the fifth variation with a slow reharmonization of the theme.

Written for Wolfe in the summer of 2005, "wrestless" was premiered by the duo last February. Nez said that "wrestless" "explores various algorithms of chordal and rhythmic development. ... Playful and jazzy rhythms restlessly leap between the two performers' parts. The violin repeatedly tries to claim center stage by heroic virtuosic gestures while occasional samba rhythms and interlocking patterns from Balinese gamelan music are heard in the piano, whose mind wanders elsewhere -- to other music briefly wafted in by the summer breeze."

Originally for flute and piano, "Those Infernal Exsanguinators" was written in 2004. The version for violin and piano was composed earlier this year. The composer, who is currently a doctoral student at the University of Michigan has written of the score:

"Summer in Minnesota. The sun is setting, the broad sky is clear, and the cool light of dusk promises a welcome respite from the day's heat and humidity. You step out into the stillness and stand, gazing at the orange-red horizon, thankful for the dimming light and approaching night. And then they come. Those insidious little creatures, those vile insects that define and destroy the season: the mosquitoes. ... then more come, and more, and even more. ... Angry and itching, you run back inside and slam the door shut."

Composer and music theorist Robert Morris is on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music. "In Variations" was written in 1981. The composer wrote that the score "represents my interest at that time to compose a work without tonality that nevertheless has many of the features of traditional tonality. ... (T)he work has features of the rondo, variations and character suite, developing continually from the clear statement of its materials at the beginning to the complexities of the ending."

David Dzubay is a professor of music at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, where he teaches composition and is director of the IU New Music Ensemble. He explains that the "Capriccio" "has many of the standard attributes of other capriccios -- contrasting textures and moods, unexpected chromatic twists, repeated sections, and just a certain capricious flow. Alternating between three cadenzas and three allegros, 'Capriccio' is built out of a rather simple theme, which is based on pitches derived from the letters in (violinist) Corey Cerovsek's name."

Due to several events happening simultaneously on the UI Arts Campus October 21 and 22, audience members are advised to allow extra time for heavy traffic and parking. The UI Department of Parking and Transportation has announced that the North Campus Ramp and Lot 18 near North Hall will be available for free parking during the evening performances October 21 and the afternoon performances October 22. Patrons are also urged to use Lot 42 near the new Art Building West.

Nez is currently on the faculty of Boston University. Her music has been played at festivals in the United States as well as abroad, including Bulgaria, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland and Japan. For more information, see her Web page at

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. For more information, see .

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

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

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;

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