Sept. 10, 2008
UI Symphony Orchestra opens season with concert at West High School
The University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra (UISO) will open its 2008-09 season of performances in the Iowa City area with a free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, in the Main Auditorium of Iowa City West High School.
The concert, under the direction of William LaRue Jones, UI director of orchestral activities, will feature pianist Uriel Tsachor in a performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto in F major, K459.
Other works on the concert, both popular works from the major orchestral repertoire, will be Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3, op. 72b, and Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 1 in C major, op. 68.
The UISO will also go on an early run-out tour, playing the same concert repertoire at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Sept. 20.
Because of the closure of the Voxman Music Building and Hancher Auditorium 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 University Symphony is currently holding rehearsals and its performances at West High School, on Melrose Avenue on the west side of Iowa City.
Later performances will be presented in other locations, but the entire 2008-09 season of local performances by UI orchestras will be free and open to the public.
"The Symphony Orchestra opens the year with a concert of masterpieces," Jones said. "We are grateful to West High School for all their assistance in lending us their performance space this year while the School of Music is being renovated."
Beethoven wrote no fewer than four overtures for his one opera, first known as "Leonore" and later as "Fidelio." The first overture, known inaccurately as "Leonore Overture No. 2," was written for the 1804 premiere. This overture was revised for an 1806 revival of the opera, a version known today as Leonore No. 3. A shorter version of the overture ("Leonore No. 1") was written in 1807, and when the opera was successfully recast in 1814, Beethoven wrote a completely new opener, the Overture to "Fidelio."
The most dramatic of the four overtures, "Leonore No. 3" is often played between the second and third acts of "Fidelio," where it powerfully serves to set up the opera's dramatic denouement, and it is played to great effect in the concert hall.
When he was only 20 years old, Brahms was singled out by Robert Schumann -- then one of the leading figures in German musical life -- as the heir to Beethoven's legacy. For the rest of his life, Brahms felt an obligation to live up to this expectation.
Because the symphony was considered Beethoven's greatest legacy, Brahms was extremely cautious about his first work in that genre. His very first orchestral piece, written in the years after Schumann's article appeared, went through several versions, first as a symphony, then a sonata for two pianos. Brahms was not completely satisfied with either version, and eventually he avoided comparison to Beethoven by completing the piece as his First Piano Concerto.
It was not until 1876, when he was 43 years old, that Brahms finally completed his First Symphony. A large-scale work in four movements, it clearly was intended to be a major work. The symphony was hailed as a success, confirming Brahms' place in the lineage of German composers. Finally relieved of the pressure to produce a worthy successor to Beethoven's masterpieces, Brahms was able to complete three more symphonies and several other orchestral works over the next 11 years.
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: www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/CONDjones.htm
Uriel Tsachor joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in the fall of 1988. A Steinway artist, he was a winner of the Bosendorfer Empire International Competition in 1986 and the Busoni Competition in 1985, and a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in 1983. Munich's Sueddeutsche Zeitung described him as "A musician who pursues piano playing as a vehicle for musical poetry." See: www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/PIANOtsachor.htm
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 www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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