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Released September 23, 2003


HATTIESBURG —When saxophonist Lawrence Gwozdz takes the stage Oct. 6 for his next faculty recital at The University of Southern Mississippi, expect a few surprises. His concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Mannoni Performing Arts Center auditorium will include two premieres along with other works composed specifically for Gwozdz by international composers.

Collaborating with Lois Leventhal, professor of piano in the School of Music at Southern Miss, Gwozdz will open the program with two French Baroque dances by Jean-Philippe Rameau, followed by a work, "Tre Pezzi," written by colleague and composer Luigi Zaninelli.

"When I first came to Southern Miss, I asked Luigi Zaninelli for the only piece I knew he had composed for the saxophone, titled 'Misterioso,' which I heard performed by my predecessor, Kenneth Deans," Gwozdz said. "Soon afterward, we exchanged ideas to edit his collection of flute works that included the selection I'm performing in the concert. The pieces are very charming, graceful, and haunting--and work beautifully on the saxophone."

The remainder of the program will include works that were composed especially for Gwozdz. Following Zaninelli's works will be "Cadillac Mountain" from John Worley's "Coastal Sonata." Worley composed a large work that musically describes four attractions in Maine, one of which is Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the north Atlantic coast.

"The Stranger's Dance," a humorous solo work by the Greek composer Dimitri Nicolau, will receive its first American performance. Premiered at the Lutoslawski Festival in Poland, it was motivated by the Italian film, The Sky of the Moon.

Professor Joseph Brumbeloe will then join Gwozdz in the world premiere of "Dancing Ripples" by the Japanese composer Dai Fujikura.

"This very expressive work comes from a young, energetic composer now living in London," Gwozdz said. "He has already captured awards at some of the best contemporary music festivals in Europe."

The concert finale will bring together an ensemble of Gwozdz and Leventhal with violinist Stephen Redfield and cellist Alexander Russakovsky, also faculty colleagues. The group will perform the romantic "Quartet" by New Orleans composer Stephen Dankner.

Dankner is no stranger to the area, having had two of his works performed by the university's Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of musical director Jay Dean.

Gwozdz's recordings on Albany and Crystal Records, "Simply Gifts," "An American Tribute," "Rascher International" and "An American Concerto Tribute to Sigurd Rascher," have aired on National Public Radio and have received stellar reviews nationally. His latest release, "Special Hand'ling" on Romèo Records includes transcribed music of Handel.

Gwozdz is returning to Southern Miss after a sabbatical leave that included solo performances in Poland and at the World Saxophone Congress with the Congress Symphony Orchestra in Minneapolis, Minn.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call (601) 266-6934.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM