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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 13, 2007

Russian program will open UI Symphony Orchestra season Sept. 26

The University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra will launch its 2007-08 Concert Series in Hancher Auditorium at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, with a virtual smorgasbord of late 19th- and 20th-century Russian music.

The concert, under the direction of William LaRue Jones, will feature pianist Ksenia Nosikova from the UI School of Music faculty.

Nosikova will perform the rarely heard Piano Concerto of Russian Romantic composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, as well as the powerful First Piano Concerto of Sergei Prokofiev. The orchestra will complete the program with Leopold Stokowski's arrangement of Dmitri Shostakovich's Prelude in E-flat for piano, op. 34 no. 14, and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10.

Other concerts in the series of ticketed concerts by the UI Symphony Orchestra (UISO), presented in Hancher Auditorium will be:

--Oct. 24: The UISO under conductor David Nelson will share the program with the UI Symphony Band, under conductor Myron Welch.
--Nov. 28: The UISO and combined University Choirs will perform under conductor Timothy Stalter.
--Feb. 20: William LaRue Jones will return to lead the UISO with UI faculty soloists Katie Wolfe, violin, and Volkan Orhon, double bass.
--March 26: New UI flute faculty member Nicole Esposito will make her UISO debut with Jones conducting the orchestra.
--May 7: Timothy Hankewich, music director and conductor of the Cedar Rapids Symphony, will be the guest conductor.

The two piano concertos on the Sept. 26 program are both performed without interruption, though they both contain internal divisions representing separate movements. Composed 1882-83, Rimsky's concerto is based on a Russian folk melody that colors the entire score.

Prokofiev wrote his First Piano Concert for his own performance while still a student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Its performance won him the Rubinstein Prize from the conservatory, but the concerto's modernist style did not please the critics -- or Prokofiev's teacher Glazunov, who said the prize would only encourage his "pernicious tendencies."

Remembered today for his 24-year tenure as sole conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra (1912-36) and his star turn in Walt Disney's 1939 animated masterpiece "Fantasia," the flamboyant conductor Leopold Stokowksi had no qualms about arranging music to show off the orchestra -- or his own arranging and conducting skills. Shostakovich's Prelude in E-flat major is one of many keyboard works that he arranged for orchestra.

The intersection of art and politics was never more dangerous -- nor more poignant -- than in the relationship between Shostakovich and the Soviet regime during the Stalinist era. Having gone in and out of favor several times, Shostakovich knew that his position was particularly precarious in the years after World War II, when he had failed to provide the joyous celebration of "Stalin's victory" that the Soviet authorities required.

This may be why Shostakovich withheld his Symphony No. 10, a brooding meditation on the tragic loss of the war that supposedly includes a brutal musical portrait of Stalin, until after the dictator's death in March 1953. It is not known just when he composed the symphony, which was first performed in December 1953, but it apparently includes material that was written in 1951 and some that had been sketched as early as 1946.

A UI music alumnus, Jones joined the faculty of the School of Music in 1997 as director of the University Symphony and director of orchestral studies. The founding director of the internationally recognized Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., Jones has appeared as a guest conductor with professional, festival, collegiate and student ensembles throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. See:

Nosikova, who joined the UI faculty in 1998, has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe and South America. She has been invited to perform at international festivals in Munster, France; Rimini, Italy; and Rovin, Yugoslavia; as well as the Aspen and Sarasota Music Festivals in the United States. In 2006 she was named a Steinway artist. For more, see:

Individual tickets to University Symphony concerts are $10; UI student and youth $5; senior citizen $7. Tickets are also eligible for a discount as part f the UI Division of Performing Arts 2007-08 series.

If purchased together with other tickets for events presented by the UI Division of Performing Arts -- the Mainstage season of University Theatres, the annual Dance Gala performances, ticketed School of Music concerts in Hancher Auditorium and a production by the UI Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater -- tickets to the concert may be eligible for a series discount.

The events are detailed in a Division of Performing Arts brochure that is available at the Hancher Auditorium Box Office, in the UI Theatre Building and from the division's marketing office at 319-335-3213. As explained in the brochure, patrons who purchase tickets to four, five or six events will receive a 20-percent discount; purchasing tickets for seven or more events earns a 25-percent discount.

Hancher Auditorium box office school-year business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets also may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hancher box office website:

Hancher box office orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

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, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072 (office) 319-541-2846 (cell),

PHOTOS are available at