Dvorak in Iowa project
A Dvorak Sighting
project of Czech-Inspired Music.
January-April, 2010, a series of concerts celebrated Dvorak in Iowa. Conceived
by Red Cedar Chamber music directors/artists Jan Boland and John Dowdall,
the project reached traditional concert-goers, rural audiences, children
in the classroom, workers in the workplace, and eventually even went to
Caesar's Palace in Vegas.
do we call this project a Dvorak Sighting? Because Antonin Dvorak
lived in Spillville, Iowa in the summer of 1893. It was here that he wrote
his famous string quartet, now known as the American Quartet.
Composer Harvey Sollberger used Dvorak's string quartet as his inspiration
when he wrote Spillville for flute, viola and guitar. Each of
Sollberger's four movements are, in essence, a "variation" of
Dvorak's four movements. Between each movement, Sollberger arranged a
short familiar (to the Czechs) Czech folk tune.
Red Cedar Trio
(Jan Boland, flute, David Miller, viola – also Michael Kimber, viola
– and John Dowdall, guitar) premiered the work in 2006. Red Cedar
brought the project back again in 2010 and paired Sollberger's Spillville
with a performance of Dvorak's American String Quartet. Artists
performing Spillville were Jan Boland (flute), Anthony Devroye
(viola) and John Dowdall (guitar). The Avalon Quartet (Northern Illinois
University) performed Dvorak's String Quartet on the second half of the
program. Members of the Avalon Quartet are Blaise Magniere (vln), Marie
Wang (vln), Anthony Devroye (vla) and Cheng-Hou Lee (cello). Violist Lisa
Ponton also participated in January-March events.
Concert sponsor was the Iowa Arts Council. Artist sponsors were Margaret
Haupt and Max Naxera.
left: John Dowdall (guitar), Cheng-Hou Lee (cello), Marie Wang (vln),
Blaise Magniere (vln), Anthony Devroye (vla), and Jan Boland (flute),
Trio was recorded in July, 2011 on a disc titled Spillville
and Gilead: Chamber Music by Harvey Sollberger and released by Fleur-de-Son
Classics in October, 2012.
Recording artists are Tony Devroye (viola), Jan Boland (flute), and John
Dowdall (guitar). The Sollberger "Gang-of-Five" helped to fund
the compact disc recording – that "gang" included Chuck
Peters, Joanne Chadima, Grinnell College, Laird & Patricia Addis and
Clara "Peach" Moore.
Spillville Variations on a Theme by Dvorak __ a trio for flute, guitar, viola (or cello) __ was published by ALRY Publications in May, 2017.
<A HREF="http://www.chamber-music.org" target="_blank"><font size="2" face="Georgia, Times New Roman, Times, serif">Chamber
• December 14–18, 2009 • 5-day
Music for Kids. At Francis Marion Intermediate School, Marion, IA
• January 11–14, 2010 • 4-day
Music for Kids. At Johnson School for the Arts, Cedar Rapids, IA
• January 15 • 2 p.m. (Friday)
Music for Seniors. At Village Place, Marion, IA.
• January 16 • 2 p.m. (Saturday)
Music for Seniors. At Summit Pointe, Marion, IA..
• February 20 • 12 noon (Saturday)
Music in Libraries:. At Hiawatha Library, Hiawatha, IA.
• February 20 • 7 p.m. (Saturday)
Music for Seniors. In Sedlacek Hall at Cottage Grove Place, Cedar Rapids,
• March 25 • 9–12 a.m. (Thursday)
Music for Kids. At Starry or Emerson Elem. School, Marion, IA
• March 25 • 7 p.m. (Thursday)
Music for Marion. Family Concert at Lowe Park Arts & Environment Center,
• April 7 • 2 p.m. (Wednesday)
Open Rehearsal. In the Great Room at Cottage Grove Place, Cedar Rapids,
• April 7 • 7 p.m. (Wednesday)
Rural Outreach. At the United Church of Monticello, Monticello, IA. Tkt.
April 8 • 12 noon (Thursday )
Production Floor Performance. Marion City Hall, Marion, IA.
April 8 • 7 p.m. (Thursday)
Rural Outreach Concert. At Ainsworth Opera House, Ainsworth, IA. Tkt.
April 9 • 2 p.m. (Friday )
Music for Seniors. At Meth-Wick, Cedar Rapids, IA
• April 9 • 8 p.m. (Friday )
Outreach Concert. At the Sondheim Center, Fairfield, IA. Tkt.
April 10 • 8 p.m. (Saturday )
Main Stage Concert. A Dvorak Sighting. At First Presbyterian
Church, 310 5th Street SE. Tkt
from left: John Dowdall (guitar), Jan Boland (flute) Harvey Sollberger
(composer) Lisa Ponton (viola).
In August, 2012 Red Cedar Chamber Music was invited to perform Sollberger's
Spillville Trio at the national convention of the National Flute
Association. The concert was held in Las Vegas on August 9, 2012 on a
program devoted to a retrospective of the music of composer Harvey Sollberger.
Harvey Sollberger’s Spillville (2006) is a trio for flute, viola
and guitar based on Antonin Dvorak’s beloved String Quartet in F,
Op. 96 – nicknamed the American Quartet. Dvorak wrote the quartet
while living in Spillville, Iowa in the summer of 1893.
In 2003, Red Cedar Chamber Music asked Harvey to join a consortium of
Iowa composers who each wrote a one-minute variation on the opening theme
of Dvorak’s Scherzo movement of the American Quartet. The resulting
work, consisting of a theme and 15 variations, is titled Spillville Variations
on a Theme by Dvorak. That project met with great success. A series of
educational events and outreach concerts over a 12 month period culminated
in a 2004 U.S. premiere at the National Czech & Slovak Museum and
Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, followed by performances in New York City
under the auspices of the Czech Center of New York, at the Czech Embassy
in Washington D.C., at the National Gallery in Prague, and at the Brno
Conservatory of Music in Brno, The Czech Republic. The work was recorded
on a compact disc on the Fleur de Son Classics label titled Czech-Inspired.
At the conclusion of that project, Harvey was inspired to write a new
trio for Red Cedar Chamber Music, which he titled simply Spillville. The
four-movement work is based on the four movements of Dvorak’s Quartet.
The third movement of this extended work is the same as the variation
Sollberger wrote for the 2003 project described above. Between each movement
is a little serenade – Sollberger’s arrangement of a Czech
folk song – scored for two instruments. Spillville is a fascinating
reinterpretation of Dvorák’s musical language as refracted
through Sollberger’s twenty-first century prism.
Sollberger writes, “ I feel especially close - in an almost mystical
way - to Dvorak's Turkey River sojourn. Just a year before Dvorak's 1893
visit to Iowa, my 20-year-old grandfather, Fritz Dennler, emigrated from
Switzerland to Elgin, Iowa, a few miles downstream from Spillville. In
a way I can't explain, his and Dvorak's being "neighbors" brings
Dvorak closer to me: Dvorak is MY neighbor.”
The work was released on compact disc recording in 2012 by Fleur de Son
A Dvorak Sighting concerts 2010
Extraordinary! Your music is inspirational.
me want to go home and practice! Harvey’s ‘Spillville’—wonderful.”
“I just loved it! –As did the rest of the audience from 8
I’ve lived in cities all over the country and have never had the
chance to hear such
lovely music in such an intimate setting.” J.S.
“The music is beautiful beyond ordinary description.
It swells the heart and goes directly to the soul.” G.D.
“Music was played with much power and love by the players.”
“Amazing musicians—Red Cedar and Avalon.” M.P.
“Wonderful variety, superb musicianship, and a personal touch.
Fabulous concert.” C.S.