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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 3, 2007

Oct. 17 tuba recital will be bizarre, entertaining, dramatic and more

John Manning will embrace both the dramatic and the bizarre in his University of Iowa faculty tuba recital at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Appearing with Manning will be pianist Liang-Fang Chang, a graduate student in the School of Music; soprano Kelsey Williams, an undergraduate German major at the UI; and the Odd Tones Brass Band, made up of UI jazz faculty. The recital will be free and open to the public.

The program, with a wide stylistic and expressive range, will feature five works featuring solo tuba in different settings, plus a jazz set with the brass band. Here is the complete program with Manning's commentary:

--"Studies in American Folk Idiom" for tuba and piano by Gregory D. Caroll: "This work showcases the simple poetic beauty of the 'American Folk Song' sound. Like Copland at times, like a fiddle reel at others, I chose this delightful work to set the mood of the recital."

--"Monolog 9" for solo tuba by Erland Von Koch: "For a 20th-century unaccompanied work, this is surprisingly tonal and lyrical. It is frequently required for international tuba competitions, and provides a nice textural change of pace from the rest of the recital."

-- Three Songs for Soprano and Tuba by Rodger Vaughan, with poems by John Updike: "Kelsey Williams and I just performed this at the UI Museum of Art as part of the 'Odd Couples' concert in September -- tuba and soprano being the oddest pair of the day! In three movements, set to intriguing poems by John Updike, this work is very entertaining. Each song has a distinct character, from bizarre and celebratory, to grieving the cooling of hot chocolate!"

Updike is known for his whimsical poetry. This set includes a lament for cold cocoa -- "the scum, once come, is come for good" -- and a poem inspired by a New York Times article headlines "Roger Bobo gives recital on tuba."

-- Concertino for tuba and piano by Jan Koetsier: "The Concertino is a very dramatic and virtuosic piece, illustrating the range and versatility of the tuba. It is one of a handful of pieces I learned in preparation for an international competition in France."

-- Suite No. 4 "Thomas" for tuba and piano by Alec Wilder: "This year marks the anniversary of the birth of composer Alec Wilder. As a tribute, I have selected a short charming suite nicknamed the 'Thomas' Suite after the composers son."

-- The final portion of the concert will be a jazz set featuring Manning and the Odd Tones Brass Band: Brent Sandy, trumpet; Rich Medd, trombone; Steve Grismore, guitar; and Jim Dreier, drums. They will play selections from pieces by Sandy, Grismore, Eddie Harris, Duke Ellington and Ray Anderson.

"The Odd Tones Brass Band formed this year, but Brent Sandy says that he's had the idea of the sound of this band in his head for years," Manning explained. Although trained as a classical musician, Manning has also performed and recorded with a wide variety of groups from the popular, klezmer, rock and jazz music worlds. He has fond memories of performing with the "Hot Tamale Brass Band" in Boston, and has great respect for his colleagues in the jazz department.

"This is not quite a typical brass band, not quite a jazz combo, not quite a blues band, not really a little big band." What Odd Tones is, Manning says, is "a funky, groove-oriented group of talented musicians who love making music together. I am totally blown away by these guys. They compose, arrange, play their instruments masterfully, and are as interested as I am in avoiding categorization. Music is music, and we all love making it together".

Manning is a founding member of the award-winning Yamaha performing ensemble, the Atlantic Brass Quintet, with whom he has toured across the United States and around the world, including performances at the White House, Tanglewood, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and June in Buffalo. An active freelance musician, he has performed with the Boston Symphony, the Empire Brass and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. He joined the UI faculty in 2004. For more information see

Chang, from Taiwan, is a doctoral piano student at the UI. She received her bachelor's degree with the highest honors from the Fu-Jen University (Taiwan) and a master's degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. At the UI she was a recipient of the UI Graduate College Performance Fellowship.

As a pianist for the Taipei Success Children's Choir, Chang has appeared in concerts throughout Asia; in Linz, Austria; and Los Angeles. In 2005 she played in Bach Recital Hall of Taipei as winner of the Yinqi Culture & Arts Foundation's competition. Winner of the 2006 UI Concerto/Aria Competition, Chang performed Schumann's Piano Concerto in A Minor with the UI Chamber Orchestra in May 2006.

In 2006-07 Chang was a research assistant for the UI Center for New Music. She recorded several works for a CD released earlier this year for the center's 40th anniversary. In 2007 she will present recitals and concerts in Iowa City, Fort Dodge, Cedar Falls and Decorah, Iowa, as well as Minnesota, Wisconsin and in Taipei.

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 CONTACTS: John Manning, School of Music,; Peter Alexander, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),