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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 4, 2008

Gompper and Dávid will perform works from 19th, 20th and 21st centuries Sept. 21

David Gompper -- the director of the University of Iowa Center for New Music who is also a composer and a pianist -- will present a concert with violinist Wolfgang Dávid at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber on the UI campus.

Due to the closure of the Voxman Music Building following the record floods in June, the School of Music does not have access to many of its usual performance venues during the 2008-09 season. The Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol is one of the performance spaces that will house faculty recitals and other performances through the year.

Gompper and Dávid have performed together as a duo in more than 50 concerts since 2002, including annual joint recitals on the UI campus. Their repertoire features works of the 20th and 21st centuries, including several of Gompper's compositions, as well as works from the standard violin repertoire.

The program of the Sept. 21 concert fits that pattern, with five works ranging from a Romantic sonata from 1879 to a piece that Gompper recently completed. The program will be:

--The Violin Sonata in G major, op. 78 ("Rain") by Johannes Brahms.
--Gompper's "Ikon" for violin and piano.
--"Fratres," composed 1977-1980 by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.
--"Crux Orthodoxa" (Orthodox cross) composed this year by UI alumnus Joseph Dangerfield.
--The Sonata for violin and piano of Claude Debussy, composed in 1917.

Gompper said that he and Dangerfield had not planned to write pieces that are based on Russian religious symbols. "It is just that we are both into things that have a Russian orientation," he said.

He explained the origin of "Ikon," his new work: "Last June Wolfgang and I performed at the Estonian Academy of Music in Tallinn, and in exploring the old city we found a mid-19th century Russian house icon of St. Nicholas. This past summer I made an analysis of the rendering and created a musical analogue to this beautiful image. It is both contemplative in spirit but infused with similar timbre found in and near Russian churches, including the faint echoes of bells pervasive throughout the Moscow region."

Dangerfield's piece has a similar background. He explains: "'Crux Orthodoxa' is the musical representation of a Russian Orthodox Cross. . . . I measured between five points on the cross and then translated all of measurements into temporal units that I could use as event markers. As the piece progresses, the arrival of each juncture signals the unveiling of a new part of the principle theme, revealed in full once the crux of the cross is reached."

One of the best-known living composers, Pärt often creates a kind of contemplative silence in his works, using a technique he calls "tintinnabuli" (from the Latin, "little bells"). Its guiding principle is to create two simultaneous voices as one line. "Fratres" is a prime example of this style, found in most of his works written since 1977.

The two sonatas on the program are both familiar to violinists as works from the standard recital repertoire. The G major Sonata, the first of three violin sonatas by Brahms, "is a penetratingly beautiful and tender composition," Gompper said.

One of the last of Debussy's compositions, the Sonata for violin and piano is the third -- and last completed work -- of a projected series of six sonatas for various instruments. As is also true of the Brahms G major Sonata as well as Debussy's earlier Cello Sonata (1915) and Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp (1916), the Violin Sonata is a three-movement work with "cyclic" qualities, meaning that thematic material from the first movement recurs in subsequent movements.

More information on the program, including full program notes for each piece, is available on the CNM Web site

Dangerfield received a doctorate in music composition from the UI and is currently assistant professor of music composition and theory and director of orchestral activities at Coe College in Cedar Rapids. See his Web site at

Gompper has been professor of composition and director of the Center for New Music at the UI since 1991. His compositions are performed throughout the United States and Europe, and he has taught, presented lectures, and performed around the world. For more information, see More information about the Center for New Music is available at

Dávid has performed in Europe, the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea, India, Egypt, Israel, Turkey and South Africa. He is the winner of competitions and prizes including the University of Vienna's "Foundation Stefanie Hohl" award, top prize in the Kulenkampff International Competition (Cologne) and the International Music Competition of Pretoria, South Africa. For more information, see David's Web page

The School of Music and Center for New Music are parts of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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),