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University of Iowa News Release


April 10, 2008

Iowa Woodwind Quintet will take a musical look at 1951 with April 24 concert

The Iowa Woodwind Quintet will perform three works written in 1951 and one piece from just 30 years before when they present a University of Iowa School of Music faculty ensemble concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The quintet has been part of the UI School of Music since about 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. Admission to their campus concerts is free.

Works on the program April 24 will be:

--Dix-Sept Variations" (Seventeen variations), op. 22, composed in 1951 by Jean-Michel Damase.
--Kleine Kammermusik" (Little chamber music), op. 24 no. 2, composed in 1921 by Paul Hindemith.
--Pastoral," op. 21, composed in 1951 by Vincent Persichetti.
--Quintet No. 1, composed in 1951 by Jean Francaix.

Weiger commented on the coincidence of having three pieces from the same year on the program. "A lot happened in 1951," he said.

"Nuclear testing started that year in Nevada, the U.N. headquarters opened in New York, the cartoon strip 'Dennis the Menace' came out, 'A Streetcar Named Desire' by Iowa alum Tennessee Williams premiered to amazing success, 'I Love Lucy' debuted, and President Truman declared the official end of the war with Germany!

"So, you see, there was a lot of promise in the air, and composers of every nationality -- Francaix, Persichetti, and Damase among them -- jumped on the bandwagon to share in this hope.

"Although not widely known, Damase has written a great deal of music for winds," Weiger said. "His style is thoroughly melodic and approachable for any audience, while also being clever, entertaining and exuberant.

"The Hindemith is a standard work in the repertory, a favorite of woodwind players. An early work of his, listeners will find it is rich in melodic content, fabulous colors and drama within its rather disparate five movements.

"The Persichetti 'Pastoral' is also a young work, but one of charm and beauty not readily found in his more noted works. Francaix is known for his fanciful and daring-do style when writing for woodwinds. His First Quintet stands out as one of the most remarkable and exciting works in the repertory."

Biographies of the individual members of the Iowa Woodwind Quintet may be found on the School of Music Web page at:

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 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),