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University of Iowa News Release


April 13, 2007

Year's Work For Composers Culminates In April 22 Concert

University of Iowa student composers will unveil their newest works when the UI Composers Workshop presents its final concert of the 2006-07 academic year at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 22 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The free concert will feature 11 works, including one written for, and premiered by, visiting UI flute professor Gro Sandvik.

One of the main showcases for students in the composition program, the Composers Workshop presents concerts of new works each semester. The program is open to any composition student at the UI, from the undergraduate through the doctoral level. Performance typically feature faculty, student and guest performers in a wide variety of performance media.

The April 22 concert represents the culmination of the academic year's work for most of the composers on the program. Many divergent styles are embraced, from jazz-inflected works to those that are more modernist in style. The number of people involved in the concert -- 28 performers and 10 composers -- far surpasses any concert that the Workshop has presented before.

The complete program features both solo and chamber pieces, all completed in 2006 or 2007:

-- "Hjerte" ("Heart" in Norwegian) for solo flute by Kirsten Wallace, a third-year undergraduate in the composition department. "Hjerte" was written for Sandvik, who is visiting the UI from the Grieg Academy at the University of Bergen, Norway.

-- "Noche de la Tierra" ("Night of the earth") for soprano, clarinet, viola, double bass and percussion by UI doctoral candidate Brian Vlasak. Based on a text by Spanish modernist poet Federico García Lorca, "Noche de la Tierra" was inspired in part by powerful natural phenomena including last year's Iowa City tornado.

-- "The Consequences of Choice" for woodwind quintet by George Marie, a master's student in composition. "'The Consequences of Choice' is dedicated to the memory of Curt Jensen, my junior high basketball coach," Marie wrote.

-- "High Pressure," a three-movement work for brass quintet by doctoral composition student John C. Griffin. Making use of weather terms, the three movements are titled "Flurry," "Drizzle" and "High Pressure (Passacaglia)."

-- "Still Life: Iteration for Wind Quintet" by master's degree student Patrick Fitzgibbon. Originally part of a multi-movement work, "Still Life" has been given "a life entirely its own, short though it may be," Fitzgibbon wrote. "I would like you to feel this music's incompleteness."

-- "Monologue" for solo violin by doctoral student Peter Juffernbruch. The composer says the score "was written to express a dramatic episode through a concise form. Contrasts in themes, motives, and character work separately, but also influence each other to produce a climax and denouement."

-- "Chanson" for flute and piano and "Sonata Vitae" for solo flute by doctoral student Christopher Gainey. "Chanson" and "Sonata Vitae" were written as a pair for a friend of the composer, flutist Anastasia Petanova. The first piece fulfilled the flutist's request for something "slow and pretty," and the second gave the composer "the freedom I had been craving."

-- Sonata for Oboe and Piano by doctoral student Seth Custer. The sonata was inspired by "Wonder," a poem by Thomas Traherne, parts of which served as a programmatic basis for the three movements.

-- "Prairie Spring," a song for soprano and piano on a text by Willa Cather, written by master's student George Hufnagl. In his first text setting, the composer wanted to "create a musical environment with which the imagery and meaning of the words could be expressed. I chose this poem by Willa Cather due to its simplicity in language and the clear imagery presented by the text."

-- "Wash Me Whiter Than Snow" for viola and piano by doctoral student David DeVasto, who explains that his compositions often reflect his interests in Christian theology, jazz and symbols of love. "Wash Me Whiter Than Snow" is based on Psalm 51:6-7, in which David, the ancient king of Israel, wrote, "wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

A visiting faculty member in the UI School of Music, Sandvik has served as solo flutist in the Bergen Philharmonic since 1967. She has an active career as soloist and chamber music performer and teaches on the faculty of the Grieg Academy at the University of Bergen. See:

A collaborative project between composers and performers in the UI School of Music, the workshop is devoted to the performance of music written at the UI and aims to foster greater co-operation and interplay between composers and performers in the Iowa City area. It is directed by David Gompper, professor of music in the Theory and Composition Department of the School of Music and director of the Center for New Music.

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 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;