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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 28, 2007

Harpsichordist Weiss performs at UI Oct. 14

Barbara Weiss, a harpsichordist who performs and teaches at early music festivals and courses around the country, will give a free recital as a guest of the University of Iowa School of Music and the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, in Harper Hall of the UI Voxman Music Building.

Weiss' program will range from the 16th century to her own composition. The complete program will be:

-- "More palatino" by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck;

-- Toccata in D minor by Jacob Froberger;

-- Toccata in D major by J.S. Bach;

-- Pieces in A minor by Louis Couperin;

-- "la Eynaud" by Antoine Forqueroy 1671-1745;

-- "Fortune My Foe" by Weiss;

-- "My Lady Nevells Ground" by William Byrd;

-- two sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti;

-- "la Felix" by Jacques Duphly; and

-- "Follia" by Bernardo Storace.

Concerning her own composition on the program, Weiss wrote: "I wrote this piece as a way to give organists and pianists a way to practice a technique often used on harpsichord that doesn't sound so good on piano or organ -- the technique of keeping your fingers on the keys after you have struck them. Some of us call this overholding. I have instructed the performer to use two keyboards and to leave each finger down as long as possible. It helps build up resonance in the harpsichord, and makes a special sound that can be quite addicting.

"'Fortune my Foe' is a tune that has had many names throughout its long life [and] appears in many collections. The melody was often used to tell long stories: about lucky and unlucky lovers, criminal misdeeds, violent deaths, dying speeches and legends like Faust. Some titles of these ballads include 'For the Murthering of her Husband in a Cowlane Field,' 'Farewell Fair Amelia,' 'Youth's Warning Piece,' 'The penitent Traytor: the humble petition of a Devonshire gentleman, who was condemned for treason, and executed for the same, anno 1641' and 'The Lamentable Burning of the City of Cork by Lightning.'"

Weiss has an unusually diverse musical background, from performing classical Cambodian music to coordinating a university early music program and directing an opera company.

As harpsichordist, she has performed at the Boston, San Antonio and Berkeley early music festivals. She teaches at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, the Madison Early Music Festival and at both the Indiana University Recorder Performers Seminar and the Indiana University Recorder Academy. She has served on the faculties of the University of Minnesota and Concordia College, and as visiting professor of harpsichord at Oberlin Conservatory.

Weiss has directed recorder societies in Michigan and Minnesota, and in opera she has been music director of Ex-Machina and served on the staff at the Chicago Opera Theater. She has performed with the Newberry Consort, the New International Trio, King's Noyse, Apollo's Fire, the Washington Bach Consort, Piffaro and Tempesta di Mare. She has recorded on Dorian, Flying Fish and Harmonia Mundi USA labels.

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

The Iowa City Early Keyboard Society has a Web page 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),