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University of Iowa News Release

 

Sept. 28, 2006

UI Chamber Orchestra Plays Vivaldi, Bach, Rossini And Stravinsky Oct. 8

The University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra will feature a pair of oboe soloists playing music by Vivaldi and the little known Federigo Fiorillo on their next concert, at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct 8, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, under the direction of William LaRue Jones, will be free and open to the public. Soloists will be UI School of Music faculty member Mark Weiger and UI alumna Andrea Gullickson, both members of the double reed consort, WiZARDS!

In addition to the works for oboes and orchestra, the program will also feature music by Rossini, J.S. Bach and Igor Stravinsky. The complete program is:

--Overture to "La Scala di Seta" (The silken ladder) by Rossini.

--The Concerto in D minor for two oboes by Vivaldi.

--Fugue in Six Voices from the "Musical Offering" by J.S. Bach, as orchestrated by Anton Webern.

--Suite No. 1 by Igor Stravinsky.

--The Sinfonia Concertante in F major for two oboes and orchestra by Fiorillo.

"The upcoming Chamber Orchestra Concert will feature a pair of experienced collaborators in Mark Weiger and Andrea Gullickson," Jones noted. "The little known Fiorillo Sinfonia Concertante especially delights in the duet oboe setting, while the remainder of the program provides contrast and balance with the agile Rossini, a unique instrumentation of J. S. Bach's 'Musical Offering' by Anton Webern, and the refreshingly light-hearted Suite No. 1 of Stravinsky."

During the course of 1812, Rossini composed no fewer than four one-act comic operas for the Teatro San Moise in Venice. One of these was "La Scala di Seta" (The silken ladder), a typical comic opera with unlikely but hilarious dilemmas and a plot that is brought to fruition by a series of overheard conversations, whispered meetings and the elaborate use of closets, screens and, of course, a silken ladder.

Vivaldi is remembered chiefly for his many concertos for different combinations of instruments. For many years he was violin teacher and director of music at an orphanage for girls in Venice, the Seminario Musicale dell'Ospedale della Pieta, where he wrote more than 400 different concertos for his students. Although the bassoon seemed to be his favored wind instrument with 37 solo works, the oboe follows with 20 solo concertos and many in which it is joined by other instruments.

Bach wrote his "Musical Offering" for King Frederick II of Prussia, who was himself an accomplished flutist and composer. During a visit to the court, Bach asked the king to give him a musical subject to use as the basis for a fugue, which he improvised immediately. Bach later published a collection consisting of one six-part fugue, one three-part fugue, a trio sonata and 10 canons based on the "Royal Theme."

Webern is best known as the composer of the most strict 12-tone works, but he had wide-ranging musical interests. His orchestral version of the six-voice fugue combines contemporary ideas and techniques to Bach's abstract work. Most strikingly, he has taken the fugue subject and fragmented it between many instruments, creating a melody of constantly changing sound colors with a result that has been described as "pointillistic."

Stravinsky began work on a set of five easy pieces for piano duet in 1916. The pieces were originally intended for his two eldest children and were designed to develop the left hand. They were written so as to avoid accidentals, with the music for the right hand carrying a simple melody. In style, they seem to playfully mock various musical stereotypes, making light of popular forms and styles.

Stravinsky himself made the orchestral arrangement of the pieces, known as Suite No. 1, between 1917 and 1925. The score was later used in several ballets derived from Stravinsky's music.

Federigo Fiorillo, the son of an Italian opera composer, was born in Germany in 1755 and died some time after 1823, most likely in London. A virtuoso violinist and violist, he traveled extensively, gaining positions in Paris, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam and Riga, Latvia. By 1788 he had arrived in London and served as violist in the celebrated Salomon quartet through 1794, when he appears to have retired from performance. He worked with Haydn during his visits to London, and he also established a reputation as a composer, with nearly 300 works to his credit.

The Sinfonia Concertante is his only work for oboes. Composed early in his London years, it was first published through Europe's most distinguished house, Sieber of Paris, in 1790.

One of four major orchestral ensembles in the UI School of Music, the Chamber Orchestra is based around the ensemble format established during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Its repertoire covers a broad range, from Classical and early Romantic composers to the 21st century. The Chamber Orchestra presents two or more concerts each semester.

An alumna of the UI School of Music, Gullickson is professor of music and chair of the Department of Music at Butler University in Indianapolis. Prior to joining the faculty at Butler she served in the same capacity at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where she held the Oshkosh Northwestern Endowed Professorship and received the University's most prestigious award, the John McNaughton Rosebush Professorship, granted for excellence in teaching, professional achievement, and public service. She has performed extensively around the world, with solo recital and concerto appearances throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. For more, see: www.butler.edu/music/mu_bio_gullickson.html

Since coming to Iowa in 1988 Weiger has performed as a soloist throughout the United States, Canada, England, Mexico, Austria, France and Italy, presented two recitals in Carnegie Hall in New York, been a finalist in nine international competitions, won First Prize in the Queens Philharmonic Concerto Competition (NY), performed double concertos with the Chicago Symphony's former principal oboist, Ray Still, and presented solo recitals with many other notable oboists. For more information, see www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/WINDweiger.htm .

A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997 as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies. The founding director of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with professional, festival, collegiate and student ensembles throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. See: www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/CONDjones.htm

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 http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.

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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; peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.