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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 26, 2007

'An Evening With Britten' Kicks Off 'Music At The Museum' Feb. 9

The University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA) will kick off its "Music at the Museum" performance series for 2007 with "An Evening with Britten" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb 9, in the museum's Lasansky Room and Nancy and Craig Willis Atrium.

"An Evening with Britten" is free and open to the public.

The evening celebrates the 20th-century English composer Benjamin Britten with two performances of his seminal works for orchestra and voice, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings and "Les Illuminations." Both works will be performed by students in the UI School of Music under the direction of music faculty member Shari Rhoads.

"I am thrilled to be collaborating with these wonderful young students, who are able to interpret these difficult and not often heard pieces," Rhoads said.

The 1943 song cycle Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings is a setting of a selection of six poems by British poets on the subject of night. Rhoads will conduct the performance by UI music students -- tenor Dennis Willhoit, horn player Patrick Creel and a student string ensemble.

"Les Illuminations" is a setting of a series of poems by French poet Arthur Rimbaud. It will be performed by soprano Heather Youngquist with Rhoads accompanying.

"The texts of these celebrated poets offer a profound experience that I think marries well with the current UIMA exhibitions," Rhoads said.

One of the most important English composers of the past century Britten was born in Suffolk in 1913. He is best known for his skill in writing for the human voice, and particularly his ability in setting English texts. Several of his operas have been performed by the UI Opera Theater, including "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Albert Herring" and "The Rape of Lucretia."

Rhoads joined the UI School of Music faculty as opera coach in the fall of 2000. Before arriving at the UI she taught music history at the Music conservatory in Lucerne and the Conservatory of Lausanne in Switzerland and served as conductor and coach at the opera theater in Darmstadt, Germany, the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, Spain, and the Teatro de las Zarzuela in Madrid. 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

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web.

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; Writer: Emily Grosvenor