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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 17, 2010

Hancher, Orchestra Iowa announce collaboration with 'Certified Lunatic'

kubinekThe University of Iowa's Hancher and Orchestra Iowa have announced a new artistic collaboration between the two organizations and artist Tomás Kubínek, who identifies himself as a "Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible."

"An Evening at The Symphony with Dr. Prof. Tomás Kubínek," created by Orchestra Iowa and Kubínek, will be presented by Hancher and will premiere November 2010 with performances in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Decorah and Mason City. Kubínek will also perform the work with the Omaha Symphony and then hopes to tour orchestras around the world.

Tickets will be available through each organization's 2010-2011 series.

The program started as a dream for Kubínek, the artist at the center of the project. Kubínek, who has worked with Hancher in the past, envisioned a collaborative project with an orchestra. When he approached Hancher Executive Director Chuck Swanson with the idea, Swanson immediately thought of Orchestra Iowa.

"We knew without a doubt that Tomás and Maestro Timothy Hankewich would hit it off and have a wonderful relationship," Swanson said. "We're thrilled to be able to facilitate this collaboration and to see the new work come to fruition. We're equally thrilled to have ensured that this project is seen in several Iowa communities before Tomás takes the performance to orchestras far and wide."

Kubínek and Orchestra Iowa music director Timothy Hankewich have been working on this project for more than a year, crafting this one-of-a-kind symphonic and comedic production.

"The amazing music we are using and the sheer power of the orchestra coupled with my own humor and love of the absurd will reach people on a very deep level and leave them elated and grinning from ear to ear," Kubínek said. "The beauty of being able to collaborate on this project with Hancher and to perform live onstage with Orchestra Iowa is very inspiring to me. I can guarantee that people will remember this performance fondly for a very long time."

Hankewich is delighted to be collaborating with both Hancher and Kubínek.

"I can't thank Chuck Swanson enough for introducing me to Tomás," he said. "We are kindred spirits with a shared love of laughter and are developing something special that will have far-reaching implications. Not only is this unique program being created right here in our area, but it is something that will be shared throughout the state and beyond. The fact that other orchestras and presenting organizations are watching closely with the intent of including this creation as part of their future offerings means that Hancher and Orchestra Iowa will be recognized for their groundbreaking work wherever Tomás performs, nationally and internationally."

Kubínek's internationally acclaimed solo performances play to packed theaters around the world. A collision of theater and old-time music hall, his exuberant one-man show is equal parts comic brilliance, virtuosic vaudeville, and irresistible charm. He has appeared in more than 30 countries on five continents and has been seen by millions of people in standing-room-only appearances at theaters, opera houses, international festivals of theater and humor, in television specials and on Broadway.

In the past year, Kubínek has been the headline performer at the First International Congress of Fools in Moscow, has played to capacity crowds on a 16-city tour of Italy, and has just returned from a sold-out run at London's prestigious Royal Festival Hall Purcell Theater as the featured solo-artist of the London International Mime Festival.

Hancher first collaborated with Kubínek in spring 2006 on a statewide residency program known as "Spot-The Hancher Family Arts Adventure," which features performances, workshops, and community outreach projects throughout Iowa and was funded by the Wallace Foundation and the UI. Because of the success of that collaboration and Hancher's commitment to the creation of new work, Kubínek sought -- and easily garnered -- Hancher's support for this new symphony project.

Founded in April 1921, Orchestra Iowa is one of the oldest symphony orchestras in continuous operation west of the Mississippi River. Its 82 professional musicians perform more than 120 public performances throughout Eastern Iowa each year, many of which can be heard on Iowa Public Radio and seen on Iowa Public Television.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Christy Frost, Orchestra Iowa, 319-366-8206,; Rob Cline, Hancher, 319-335-3827,; Steve Parrott, University Relations, 319-384-0037,