image of philip bezanson, aaron copland, himie voxman, and james dixon

Students Investigate: A Deeper Dive into the SUI concert of Copland compositions, March 5, 1958

State University of Iowa Orchestra concert of Copland compositions, March 5, 1958
Represented by original concert program and picture of Himie Voxman and Aaron Copland from the composers 1958 visit to Iowa City

by Jenna Sehmann
photograph of copland visiting the university of iowa in 1958
left to right: Philip Bezanson, Aaron Copland, Himie Voxman, and James Dixon

On March 5, 1958, Aaron Copland attended a concert by the State University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra as an honored guest. Copland’s visit, culminating in this performance, reflected as much upon Copland’s achievements as it did upon the achievements of American Music, and the musical achievements at the University of Iowa.

Copland’s visit to the University was well received by students, faculty, and local residents. Attendance was at full capacity for the Symphony Orchestra concert as well as a lecture Copland gave titled “The Emergence of American Music.” In this lecture, Copland detailed that the “Emergence School of American Music” was “in the running,” implying that American Music could stand up to its European predecessors.1 This emergence that Copland referenced in his lecture is reflected in his own compositions performed by the SUI Symphony.

At this concert, the orchestra performed three works from a wide range of Copland’s compositional style and time periods: The Suite from the Ballet Billy The Kid, Copland’s Third Symphony, and a concert version of his opera The Tender Land. In a review by Donald Justice, the orchestra was praised for their performance, noting that Billy The Kid and Third Symphony were “two excellent performances.”2 The performance of Copland’s rarely performed opera The Tender Land was especially suitable for the composer’s trip to the Midwest. The opera is set on a Midwest farm, making it particularly reflective of the lives and upbringings of many students and community members.3

University of Iowa symphony concert program march 5 1958
State University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra concert program from March 5, 1958 featuring works by visiting composer, Aaron Copland


1 “Emergence School of Music In the Running: Copland,” The Daily Iowan, March 4, 1958,
2 Justice, Donald, “Chasing Billy- Copland’s Music- Pleases Audiences,” The Daily Iowan, March 7, 1958,
3 Perlis, Vivian, “The Tender Land,” Oxford Music Online, Grove Music Online omo-9781561592630-e-5000905177. (accessed September 10, 2018).

About the Authorjenna sehmann

Oboist Jenna Sehmann is a performer and teacher currently located in Iowa City, IA. Ms. Sehmann serves as the oboe studio teacher at Cornell College (Mount Vernon, IA) and Mount Mercy University (Cedar Rapids, IA). She is also the Teaching Assistant for the oboe studio at the University of Iowa, where she is pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts in performance and pedagogy under Dr. Courtney Miller.

She holds a Master of Music degree in oboe performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree in both music performance and music industry from Eastern Kentucky University. Regionally, Jenna has performed with Orchestra Iowa, Dubuque Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Evansville Philharmonic, and the Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas. To learn more about Jenna, visit her website

STUDENT EXHIBIT: In Our Lives: The Beatles Yesterday and Today


IN OUR LIVES was designed in the Fall 2018 offering of Donna’s “World of The Beatles” course. Participating students studied her materials–donated in Donna’s name to the Rita Benton Music Library–and worked together to flesh out the different themes that now define their multimedia, multidirectional account of the enduring legacy of The Beatles that stretches across each fin. The exhibit design is a tribute to the rich learning experiences Donna created for University of Iowa students, and a preview of the valuable learning experiences her collection will support for years to come.

We invite you to journey through the World of The Beatles in the following ways.


panel 3 from the in our lives exhibitsEach of the four exhibit panels represent the combined efforts of the corresponding topic subgroups (notated as “Deeper Dives” on the front of each Exhibit Panel).

The Musicians: Band Image/Identity, Working Together, Going Solo, Songwriting

  • Who were The Beatles as Public Figures? Do details of particular songs speak to their Personal/Public experiences?

The Music: Catalog Overview, Albums Early, Albums Late 1, Albums Late 2

  • What behind-the-scenes events became factors in the production of their albums?

Beatlemania!: Tours, Magical Mysteries, Yellow Submarines, Theories

  • What was a Beatles concert tour like? How did other types of Beatles media (e.g., fan newsletters, magazines, films, etc.) sustain mass interest in The Beatles? What does the “Paul is Dead” hoax teach us about Beatles fandom?

The Beatles of Today: Managing, Symbolizing, Celebrating, Recreating?

  • Who were the “fifth Beatles”? What can we learn from classic Beatles art/imagery about how The Beatles are remembered? What does it mean to pay tribute to a group like The Beatles?

Student Collection Highlights and Blog Posts

As part of their work on the exhibit, participating students familiarized themselves with the vast array of reference books, documentaries, and Beatles memorabilia that Donna’s family donated to the library in her name. Visit the Rita Benton Music Library website throughout the semester to read blog posts by the participating students, faculty, and library staff, which will examine the objects and themes of this exhibit in greater depth.


Now Streaming from the School of Music Recording Archives, October 2017

University of Iowa School of Music concert recordings are archived by the Rita Benton Music Library. The Library maintains a streaming audio digital collection of current performance recordings that is available to current University of Iowa faculty, students, and staff.
Patrons must have a valid HawkID and password to stream recordings.
Here are just a few highlights from concerts this October in the School of Music:

Olivier Latry, organ (guest artist recital)

You may have heard about this concert from just about everyone who attended. Olivier Latry, organist at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and professor at the Paris Conservatory, delivers a masterful performance on the Concert Hall’s Klais organ. Of particular note is the 20+ minute improvisation on the Dies Irae and “In Heaven There Is No Beer.” Really, this actually happened and it was amazing.
Listen >

Oboe Music from Portugal: Courtney Miller, oboe; Minji Kwon, piano

Enjoy a mixture of old and new works from Portugal, including Os Contos do Oboé, op. 73 by Ricardo Matosinhos and composed for Iowa’s oboe professor Courtney Miller,  in this faculty recital featuring professors Conklin, Arnone, Wolfe, and Rutledge.
Listen >

vocalist stephen swansonGIRLS A-Z: A Hodgepodge of Songs: Stephen Swanson, voice; Alan Huckleberry, piano

This concert consists of 26 songs featuring the name of a woman, one for each letter of the alphabet. Broken into two long tracks (13 apiece), enjoy this recital that features many genres, styles, and languages, delivered magnificently by Iowa’s own superb interpreter of song literature, Stephen Swanson. Be sure to read the program notes by Marilyn Swanson for some background on how this curious program came to be and a detailed bibliography of all the songs.
Listen >

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Ensemble Performances in October

Chamber Orchestra >
Women’s Chorale & Camerata >
Symphony Orchestra >
University Choir and Kantorei >
Composer’s Workshop >
Concert Band and Symphony Band >