Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


March 11, 2009

'Percussion Spectacular' will be performed March 29 at the UI

Iowa Percussion, the performance arm of the percussion area of the University of Iowa School of Music, will present "Percussion Spectacular" at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 29, in the second-floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The concert will be free and open to the public.

Dan Moore, head of the percussion area at the School of Music, is the director of Iowa Percussion. The concert will also feature guest conductor Michael Moehlman, a UI alumnus and the assistant band director at City High School in Iowa City.

One of the most active performing groups at the UI School of Music, Iowa Percussion presents concerts and educational programs on campus and across Iowa. Each year the group performs for hundreds of Iowa school children through the UI Arts Share program.

Formed in 1958 as the UI Percussion Ensemble, the organization performs musical styles ranging from ragtime and jazz to 20th century concert idioms and traditional musical styles from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. In addition to the standard percussion repertoire, the ensemble regularly performs the newest music written by both professional composers and students.

In addition to the principal percussion ensemble, the performance will feature the Steel Band II, directed by graduate student Lucas Bernier, and the PanAmerican Steel Band, directed by Moore.

The steel pans, or steel drums as they are variously known, are actually 55-gallon oil barrels that have been carefully crafted into tuned musical instruments. Originating on the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, these tuned drums have a remarkable timbre that is immediately recognizable as a Caribbean sound. Starting as a single volunteer group in 1994, the UI steel band has grown to the point that the percussion area of the UI School of Music now maintains two complete steel bands, both of which appear on the March 28 concert.

The concert will open with the premiere performance of "Time Screen" by Lawrence Fritts, the director of the UI Electronic Music Studios. The Graduate Percussion Ensemble will perform "Well, Maybe I Did" by Paul Elwood, and the full ensemble will perform a selection of traditional Chinese percussion pieces.

Moehlmann holds a bachelor's degree in percussion performance and teacher education certification from the UI, where he was a member of Iowa Percussion. In 2006 he traveled with Iowa Percussion to China for a two-week performance tour in Beijing and Shenyang, China. He studied Chinese percussion with Jiao Shan Lin and Wong Yi Dong of the China Conservatory in Beijing.

Moore commented, "The Percussion Spectacular is a chance to see everything that makes up Iowa Percussion under one roof: the critically acclaimed percussion ensemble, PanAmerican Steel Band, Steel Band II, and the Chinese Percussion Ensemble.

"After surviving the floods of 2008 Iowa Percussion is back in action and better then ever," he said.

An internationally known percussionist, composer and teacher, Moore has experience from concert to marching percussion, and from jazz to classical styles. Performing all aspects of percussion, including keyboard percussion, drum set, ethnic, multipercussion and electronic instruments, he is considered a "total percussionist." He joined the UI music faculty in 1996 as only the second full-time professor of percussion at the UI. For more information visit

Lawrence Fritts has been director of the Electronic Music Studios at the UI School of Music since 1995. A leading figure in electronic and acousmatic music, Fritts has composed for a wide variety of electronic and computer media, including concrete tape, instruments and tape, voltage-controlled and MIDI-controlled analog and digital synthesizers, and digitally processed instruments. His music has been performed at festivals and conferences in the U.S. and broadcast in the U.S., Canada, South America and Europe. For more information visit  or

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.

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),