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University of Iowa News Release


April 11, 2007

Wisconsin's Contemporary Chamber Ensemble On Tour At UI April 27

The University of Wisconsin Contemporary Chamber Ensemble will visit the University of Iowa for a free concert at 8 p.m. Friday, April 27, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, presented by the UI School of Music and Center for New Music, will also feature violinist Katie Wolfe, a member of the UI faculty.

The concert is part of a rotating tour that will take contemporary music ensembles from the UI, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of Minnesota to all three campuses. The UI Center for New Music (CNM) has already appeared in Minneapolis and Madison. The series will be completed when the CNM makes its home appearance in Clapp Recital Hall at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 29.

David Gompper, the director of the CNM, noted that this is the second year that the tour has taken place. "We hope that this will be an annual event," he said. "The tour represents an exciting opportunity for students in all three schools to make performance connections within the Midwest region and take part in a series of collaborations and exchanges among new music ensembles at peer institutions."

The program for the April 27 concert will be:

-- Premiére Sonata (First sonata) for piano, composed in1946 by Pierre Boulez;

-- Wolfe playing the Sonata for solo Violin, composed in 1995 by Laura Schwendinger, a faculty member and director of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble at the UW;

-- "Private Game" for cello and clarinet, composed in 197) by Shulamit Ran; and

-- "Notturno" (Nocturne) for chamber ensemble, composed in 1973 by Donald Martino.

Boulez was 21 when he wrote his First Sonata. He originally dedicated the score to his teacher, Rene Leibowitz, but when Leibowitz tried to make "corrections" their friendship ended. When the publisher asked Boulez if the dedication should remain, the composer shouted "Non!," tore the score to shreds with a letter opener. Afterwards, both sat on the floor and glued it back together.

Along with the Sonatine for flute and piano, the First Sonata is Boulez's first serial work. Boulez took inspiration from the piano music of Schoenberg, saying that they introduced me to a style of piano writing that was different from anything I had known. There is a great density of texture and a violence of expression that conveys a kind of delirium."

The Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor of Music at the University of Chicago, Israeli-born Shulamit Ran received her training in Tel Aviv and later at the Mannes College of Music in New York. In addition to being a world renowned composer she has also been a concert pianist. Her music is performed by orchestras and ensembles internationally as well as in her native Israel. Ran's Symphony earned the 1991 Pulitzer Prize in Music and the 1992 Kennedy Center Friedheim Award.

Martino's "Notturno" was composed in 1973 on a commission from the Naumburg Foundation for the new music ensemble Speculum Musicae and awarded the Pulitzer Prize the following year. The score is composed in 19 parts that are grouped into three larger sections that can be regarded as movements, acts in a play, or chapters in a book. But Martino envisioned the work as an uninterrupted continuity, descriptive of the moments before sleep reviewing the day's "miseries and the beauties" which come together in a "chaotic swirl without pattern."

More extensive program notes for the concert are available on the Web at

Schwendinger teaches composition at the UW, Madison, School of Music. Her music has been performed on tour by Dawn Upshaw and Gilbert Kalish, at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Theatre Chatelet in Paris, National Arts Center in Canada and at the Tanglewood and Ojai Music Festivals. Her honors include commissions from the Koussevitzky (2001) and Fromm Music Foundations (1999), Harvard Musical Association (1999), an American Academy in Berlin Prize Fellowship (1999), and many more. More information is available on the Web, 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 UI Center for New Music was founded in 1966 with a seed grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The center promotes the performance of new music by providing a core group of specialists in contemporary performance techniques. Its programming has included world premieres as well as acknowledged contemporary masterworks.

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

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit 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;