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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 15, 2007

UI student conductors will lead 'A Seasonal Serenade' Dec. 2

The Philharmonia chamber orchestra and the All-University String Orchestra from the University of Iowa School of Music will present "A Seasonal Serenade," a joint concert with graduate student conductors, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The performance will be free and open to the public.

Jeremy Starr, orchestra manager for the School of Music and one of the conductors for the concert, commented, "The All-University String Orchestra will open the program playing multi-movement string orchestral literature, and the Philharmonia will follow with some familiar holiday strains from the classical repertoire."

Each group will play five pieces -- one with each of the conductors. The All-University String Orchestra program will be:

--The Divertimento in D major, K138 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Kevin Pearce, conductor.

--Serenade for String Orchestra by Norman Leyden, with Andrea Molina, conductor.

--"Kleine Serenade" (Little serenade), op. 12, by Lars-Erik Larsson, with Brandon K. Brown, conductor.

--"Choreography" by Norman Dello Joio, with Lucas Darger, conductor.

--"Psalm and Fugue," op. 40a, by Alan Hovhaness, conducted by Starr.

After Intermission, Philharmonia will present their five pieces:

--Brown will conduct the Overture from "Messiah" by Georg Frideric Handel.

--Pearce will conduct a suite of the character dances from "The Nutcracker" by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, including "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" and the "Waltz of the Flowers."

--Starr will conduct the first and last movements of the Concerto Grosso No. 1 by Ernest Bloch.

--Molina will conduct the "Fantasia on 'Greensleeves'" by Ralph Vaughan Williams, arranged by Ralph Greaves.

--Darger will conduct Leroy Anderson's "Christmas Festival Overture."

A graduate student in orchestral conducting at the UI, Andrea Molina is the pianist for the Peoria Symphony. She has served as music director and opera coach for OPERA ON WHEELS and University Opera Theatre productions for Western Illinois University. She has also directed opera productions for St. Martin's Chamber Players and opera education and outreach programs for Opera New England, Opera Illinois and the Muddy River Opera Company.

Darger received a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah. As a violinist he has performed on orchestra tours internationally, including a month-long tour through the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. He was assistant conductor with the All City Children's Orchestra in Utah from 1998, eventually becoming conductor of the ensemble. In 2004 he became associate conductor of the Lincoln Youth Symphony, leading them through the end of the 2005-06 season.

Pearce is beginning his second year as a master's student in orchestral conducting. He served for two years on the faculty of Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Ill., as assistant director of orchestras and assistant director of bands. He has also served as a clinician and adjudicator at orchestra festivals, concerto competitions and at Illinois Music Educators Association district orchestra auditions.

At 14, Brown had a full scholarship at the North Carolina School of the Arts with a concentration in violin. He also studied at the Oberlin Conservatory and Northwestern University. He taught at the Wausau (Wis.) Conservatory of Music, and was music director of the Wausau Youth Orchestra and concertmaster of the Wausau Symphony. He also taught violin and chamber music at Beloit College.

Starr received a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University and a master's in orchestral conducting from the UI. In Utah he played in the first violin section of the Orchestra on Temple Square, the performing and recording volunteer orchestra for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He was concertmaster of the Idyllwild Festival Orchestra and has played in the Wichita Symphony.

One of four major orchestral ensembles in the UI School of Music, the Philharmonia, features an expandable instrumentation that allows for a variety of repertoire from Classical to contemporary composers. Designed for undergraduate students, Philharmonia presents two or more concerts each semester and is conducted by graduate conducting majors in the School of Music.

The All-University String Orchestra (AUSO) is designed specifically for nonmusic majors who wish to continue playing their string instrument while studying at the UI and includes students from diverse academic pursuits throughout the university. The AUSO performs one concert per semester as well as various community service performances.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 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 CONTACTS: Jeremy Starr, UI Department of Music, 319-335-1631,; Peter Alexander, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),