March 20, 2007
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Iowa Woodwind Quintet Performs April 7
The Iowa Woodwind Quintet has been in existence at the UI School of Music since about 1932. Its current members -- Gro Sandvik, flute; Mark Weiger, oboe; Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet; Kristin Thelander, horn; and Benjamin Coelho, bassoon -- are all members of the UI School of Music faculty.
The program for the April 7 concert will feature four works representing different times, styles and musical traditions:
-- the Quintet by Radamés Gnattali, a 20th-century Brazilian composer renowned in his native country for the ability to move easily between classical and popular music;
-- Quintet No. 3 by the 19th-century German composer Johann Peter Muller, a music teacher and pastor who wrote music for children's choirs, male choruses and organ as well as chamber music;
-- the Quintet by Johan Kvandal, one of the leading Norwegian musicians of the 20th century; and
-- "Circus Etudes" by innovative composer, horn teacher and UI School of Music faculty member Jeffery Agrell.
Gnattali (1906-1988) was one of the most successful Brazilian musicians of his generation. In the 1930s he focused primarily on popular music. Hired by an orchestra that played at balls, parties and radio shows, he worked as a pianist, soloist, conductor, composer and arranger, making use of his classical training to perform popular music for nearly 30 years. But while working on radio he continued to pursue a classical career as pianist and composer. In 1983 Gnatalli won the Shell Music award for lifetime achievement as a classical musician.
His woodwind quintet serves well as an example of his ability to blend the popular and folk styles of Brazil within a more traditional ensemble medium.
Kvendal was active as composer, organist and conductor in Oslo. His training was cosmopolitan, with studies with the leading teachers in Stockholm, Vienna, Berlin and Paris. As well as performing and composing, Kvandal was a respected critic for leading newspapers in Oslo and formed an anthology of recorded and printed classical Norwegian music for the Norwegian Cultural Council.
From his earliest works he made use of the melodic and rhythmic elements of Norwegian folk music. In the later 1960s, these elements were transformed and combined with experiments in serial techniques and freer forms. The Quintet, while a later work, ultimately evolved from his earliest works in which he made use of the melodic and rhythmic elements of Norwegian folk music.
Agrell wrote the "Circus Etudes" in 1996. It has received numerous performances around throughout Europe and the United States. Just as the title suggests, more than a little levity is involved in each of the suite's four movements: "Dancing Elephants," "Clowns," "Trapeze Artists" and "Acrobats." It was most recently played by the Iowa Woodwind Quintet in 2002.
Agrell joined the UI School of Music faculty in 2000 after a 25-year career in the Lucerne (Switzerland) Symphony. Besides teaching horn, he currently directs the UI Horn Choir, teaches Introduction to Improvisation, and performs with the Iowa Brass Quintet and the contemporary classical improvising ensemble Cerberus. Agrell is an award-winning writer and composer. For more information, see: http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/BRASSagrell.htm.
Biographies of the individual members of the Iowa Woodwind Quintet may be found on the School of Music Web page, at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/ensembles/faculty.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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