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University of Iowa News Release


April 24, 2008

Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra's Hankewich will lead University Symphony May 7

Timothy Hankewich, music director of the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, will be guest conductor of the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra (UISO) for the final concert of the 2007-08 season, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, in the UI Hancher Auditorium.

The concert will feature four faculty soloists from the UI School of Music in a performance of the Sinfonia concertante (Concerted symphony) for winds and orchestra, K297b, attributed to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Soloists will be Mark Weiger, oboe; Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet; Jeff Agrell, horn; and Benjamin Coelho, bassoon.

Other works on the program will be "Musica celestis" (Celestial music) by Aaron Jay Kernis and the Symphony No. 2, op. 16 ("The Four Temperaments") by Carl Nielsen.

"A year ago, William LaRue Jones (director of orchestral activities at the UI) and I sat down together to devise this program," Hankewich explained. "We had the choice of programming works from the established repertoire, which the students will encounter frequently in professional life, or providing a musical experience that is rare, unique and likely not to come their way later. We went with the latter approach as it provided a more special occasion.

"The symphonies of Carl Nielsen are not performed as much as those of his contemporaries Mahler and Sibelius. Despite his unique and valuable contribution to the symphonic repertoire, performances of his works are comparatively rare. This provided an exciting opportunity for both the UISO and me, as it represents uncharted repertoire for all of us. I am discovering this piece alongside the students, and I find the freedom to explore new repertoire exciting and refreshing.

"The program exhibits great balance in that it features a variety of styles from various periods, and in the case of Nielsen and Kernis, contrasts how a living composer and one from the post-Romantic era find inspiration from medieval philosophy."

Essentially a concerto with two or more soloists, the sinfonia concertante was a popular genre of the late 18th century, especially in Paris. In 1778 Mozart wrote to his father from Paris that he had written a Sinfonia concertante for flute, oboe, horn, bassoon and orchestra. The work was composed for a performance by a group of wind players from Mannheim -- personal friends of Mozart, as well as some of the leading players in Europe -- who were in Paris at the same time.

The score for K297b was thought to be lost until a manuscript with similar instrumentation was discovered in the 19th century in the library of a Mozart biographer. Although originally identified as Mozart's lost work, recent scholarship has questioned the authorship and authenticity of the piece. Nevertheless, the tuneful Sinfonia concertante has remained popular.

One of America's leading composers, Aaron Jay Kernis attended the San Francisco Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music and Yale University, and his composition teachers included John Adams and Morton Subotnick. In 1983, the New York Philharmonic premiered his "Dream of the Morning Sky," bringing the then 23-year-old composer to national prominence. In 1988 he became the youngest composer ever to win the Pulitzer Prize.

"Musica celestis" was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony. Kernis selected the Adagio movement of his own String Quartet No. 1 as the basis for the commission and transcribed it for string orchestra. The style of the work pays tribute to medieval music, Kernis wrote.

"'Musica Celestis' is inspired by the medieval conception of that phrase which refers to the singing of the angels in heaven in praise of God without end. I don't particularly believe in angels, but found this to be a potent image that has been reinforced by listening to a good deal of medieval music, especially the soaring work of Hildegard of Bingen."

Regarded as a major figure in Danish music, Carl Nielsen composed in all of the major vocal and instrumental genres. His symphonies have received growing attention from Leonard Bernstein, Simon Rattle and other conductors.

The Symphony No. 2 is one of numerous works Nielsen composed that reflect his intense interest in human character and personality. The composer received his initial inspiration for the symphony while on vacation in New Zealand. At a village inn, he noticed a fanciful woodcut on the wall depicting the medieval temperaments: the choleric, the phlegmatic, the melancholic and the sanguine. Upon his return to Denmark, Nielsen began work on the symphony, completing it just one week before its first performance in Copenhagen on December 1, 1902.

The 2007-08 season was Hankewich's second as music director of the Cedar Rapids Symphony. He was previously with the Kansas City Symphony for seven years. Winner of the prestigious Aspen Conducting Award, Hankewich has an active career as a guest conductor, having appeared with the Santa Rosa Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Cleveland Chamber Orchestra and Tulsa Philharmonic, among many others. He also has served as artist in residence at Park University, artistic director/conductor of the Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City and interim director of orchestra studies at the University of Kansas.

For more about Hankewich, see

For biographies of the four soloists, visit the UI School of Music Web pages and

Individual tickets to University Symphony concerts are $10; UI student and youth $5; senior citizen $7. Hancher Auditorium box office school-year business hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 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 online at http://

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. 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 and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.


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),