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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 3, 2007

Philharmonia Orchestra will perform with student conductors Oct. 21

The University of Iowa Philharmonia Orchestra will present a free concert under the direction of UI graduate conducting students, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Jeremy Starr, the manager of UI orchestras and one of the five conductors, commented: "From love themes to Waltzes to meditative arias, the UI Philharmonia will present what should be a delightful program full of singing melody and full orchestral splendor."

The five pieces on the program and their conductors will be:

-- the Toccata of Girolamo Frescobaldi, and organ piece arranged by Hans Kindler and conducted by Andrea Molina;

-- selection from Leonard Bernstein's hit musical "West Side Story, arranged by Jack Mason and conducted by Lucas Darger;

-- Kaiser-Walzer (Emperor waltzes) by Johann Strauss, Jr., conducted by Kevin Pearce; -- "Sheep May Safely Graze" from Cantata No. 208 by J.S. Bach, arranged by Lucien Cailliet and conducted by Brandon K. Brown; and

-- "Romeo and Juliet Overture-fantasy" by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, conducted by Starr.

The conductors are all students of William LaRue Jones, UI director of orchestral studies.

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. She has been an official accompanist for the International Double Reed Society's convention and the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and principal pianist for the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra.

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. He was invited in both 2005 and 2006 to conduct the Lake Bonneville Community Symphony for their pre-fireworks Independence Day concert, amplified to a crowd of nearly 8000 people.

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, Illinois, 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. He received a bachelor's degree in music education from Indiana University.

Brown began composing at age nine, violin study at age 10, and joined the North Carolina All-State Orchestra at age 11. At 14 he was a studying on 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 (Wisc.) Conservatory of Music, was music director of the Wausau Youth Orchestra and concertmaster of the Wausau Symphony. He also taught violin and chamber music at Beloit (Wisc.) 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. While studying in Iowa he has played principal second violin in the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. The past two summers he taught violin and directed both the Chamber and Symphony orchestras at the Music, Arts and Technology Camp in Evanston, Wyo.

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 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 CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),