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April 7, 2000

Commissioned Composer to Celebrate UW-RF Anniversary

By Rachel Weddig
UW-RF News Bureau

Internationally recognized composer Jared Spears will perform at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for the 33rd annual Commissioned Composer Program. The program features the premiere of Spear's "Legacy" for Wind Symphonic Ensemble, as well as several other selections by the composer. The commissioned piece, written for symphonic and wind ensemble and three solo percussionists and was composed to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of UW-RF, which is being celebrated this year.

The program is free and will take place on April 20 at 8 p.m. in the William Abbottt Concert Hall in the Kleinpell Fine Arts Building.

Spears is a former professor of music at Arkansas State University and has studied with Blyth Owen, Alan Sout, and Anthony Donato. Spears has written over 250 works for band, choir, orchestra and chamber ensembles. His compositions have been perfromed and recorded worldwide and Spears is considered one of the most well-known American composers of wind and percussion music.

Groups that have commissioned his works include the United States Army Band, the Tokyo Kosei Wind Ensemble and the Atlanta Winds. His awards include the Faricy Award for Creative Music from Northwestern University, several ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ) awards, and awards from Outstanding Educators of America in 1973 and 1975.

In addition to the commisioned piece, the wind ensemble will play two other selections along with pieces for percussion ensemble, brass ensemble, and saxophone quartet.

The commisoned composer program is the longest continuously running project of its kind in the nation. It was initiated in 1967 by UW-RF retired faculty member Conrad De Jong when he commissioned Vincent Persichetti to compose "Celebrations" for chorus and wind ensemble. Other composers who have beeen part of this project over the years include John Cage, Morton Feldman, Ross Lee Finney, and Fisher Tull.

For more information, call the music department at 715/425-3183.

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