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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 20, 2007

Iowa Woodwind Quintet offers 'Fire Flies' and other unusual works Dec. 4

The creator of the "New Tango" and the first successful American woman composer are just two of the composers represented on a free concert by the Iowa Woodwind Quintet at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus.

The woodwind quintet has been in residence at the UI School of Music since around 1932. Its current members -- Nicole Esposito, 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.

Every piece on the program is accessible to the audience, and yet none of the composers are from the mainstream of classical music. The concert will open with the "Tanzsuite" (Dance suite) op. 53 by Theodore Blumer, a collection of dances that range from the Renaissance types rigaudon and sarabande to a "Valse Boston" and a one-step.

A younger contemporary of Richard Strauss, Blumer composed in a similar late Romantic style. He was a teacher, pianist and director of the Dresden Radio Orchestra and later the Middle German Radio Orchestra in Leipzig. The Iowa Woodwind Quintet has previously performed his Quintet, op. 56, and his Serenade, op. 37.

Next on the program will be "Primavera Portena" (Doorway to springtime) by Astor Piazzolla, the classically trained Argentine composer who created the "Nuevo Tango" (New tango) in the middle of the 20th century, as arranged by Brazilian bassoonist Mariano Frogioni.

As a student of Nadia Boulanger in Paris, Piazzolla tried to hide his past playing tangos on the bandoneon (a traditional accordion-like instrument). Boulanger recognized his true talents, however, and encouraged Piazzolla to write what was most natural to him. Consequently, what was once a choice between sophisticated concert music and the tango turned into the creation of sophisticated tangos, leading to 50 years of monumental success around the world.

After intermission, the woodwind quintet will play "Fire-Flies" from Sketches, op. 15, by Mrs. H.H.A. Beach, the first American woman who was a successful composer of large-scale art music. "Fire Flies" was arranged for woodwind quintet by bassoonist Trevor Kramer from the "Sketches," op. 15, for solo piano.

Beach was born in New Hampshire as Amy Marcy Cheney. After she married Dr. Henry Harris Aubrey Beach, she agreed to limit her performances to one public recital a year. She devoted herself primarily to composition, but after her husband's death in 1910 she jumped back into concert tours and used her status to further the careers of young musicians. Following her husband's wishes, she published most of her works under the name Mrs. H.H.A. Beach.

The concert will close with the Quintet No. 3 by David Maslanka. Currently living in Montana, Maslanka has served on the faculties of the State University of New York at Geneseo, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University and Kingsborough College of the City University of New York.

The Iowa Woodwind Quintet has previously performed Maslanka's Quintet No. 1 and Quintet No. 2, the latter of which was commissioned and premiered by Coelho as a member of the Manhattan Woodwind Quintet. The Third Quintet, which is new to the group, was premiered and commissioned at the University of Missouri at Columbia by the Missouri Quintet in 2000.

Biographies and photos of the individual members of the Iowa Woodwind Quintet may be found on the School of Music Web site. The woodwind area is listed at, and Thelander's Web page is

TThe 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 CONTACTS: Mark Weiger, Iowa Woodwind Quintet,; Peter Alexander, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),