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June 23, 2010/FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / High-res photo available upon request
Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu



"Strike Up the Band" Recording Was "20 Years in the Making"


WINSTON-SALEM – A studio recording that began in 1990 under the baton of John Mauceri has just been released (June 21) by PS Classics. “A recording over 20 years in the making” is the way the label calls George and Ira Gershwin’s 1930 hit Broadway musical, Strike Up the Band.

The disc is the 100th release by PS Classics, the Grammy Award-nominated label devoted to American theatre music and popular song.

An internationally renowned conductor, John Mauceri has been Chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) since 2006.

The recording is the result of an effort begun in 1990 by the late Mrs. Ira Gershwin to preserve the great unrecorded Gershwin scores. Strike Up the Band was restored and partially recorded during a period that also yielded acclaimed studio cast albums of the Gershwins’ Girl Crazy; Lady, Be Good!; and Oh Kay!.

According to PS Classics: “An earlier version of the score as heard during the show’s pre-Broadway tryout in 1927 was released in 1991, but the final score, extensively revised by the Gershwins and received rapturously by critics and audiences during the 1929-30 Broadway season, was never fully tracked, nor put into post-production – until now.

Photo by Brent LaFever

John Mauceri

“Under the supervision of original producer Tommy Krasker, the recording – featuring Brent Barrett, Don Chastain, Rebecca Luker, Jason Graae, Beth Fowler, Charles Goff, Juliet Lambert, Jeff Lyons and James Rocco, plus a 16-member chorus, a tap-dancing ensemble, and an orchestra of 28 conducted by John Mauceri – was completed during the spring of 2011 with the support of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts and the Music Division of the Library of Congress.

“Boasting a hit score brimming with soaring melodies and infectious syncopation, and lyrics that both provoke and delight, the 1930 Strike Up the Band continues PS Classics' forgotten musicals series in high style.”

The stage production of Strike Up the Band was a satire of America’s taste for war. A 1927 version of the musical, with book by George S. Kaufman, had America declaring war on Switzerland over cheese. It closed before reaching Broadway. In the 1930 version, Morrie Ryskind revised the story, softening the political overtones, replacing cheese with chocolate, and increasing the emphasis on romance. The 1930 version ran on Broadway for 191 performances.

For more information, see: http://www.playbill.com/news/article/149503-EXCLUSIVE-Starry-Studio-Recording-of-Strike-Up-the-Band-Is-Dusted-Off-for-Release-by-PS-Classics

John Mauceri is the Chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) and the Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. His distinguished and extraordinary career has taken him not only to the world’s greatest opera companies and symphony orchestras, but also the musical stages of Broadway and Hollywood, as well as the most prestigious halls of academia.
Maestro Mauceri has served as music director of four opera companies: Washington (National), Scottish (Glasgow), the Teatro Regio (Turin, Italy), and Pittsburgh. He is the first American to have held the post of music director of an opera house in either Great Britain or Italy. He was the first music director of the American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall after its founding director, Leopold Stokowski, with whom he studied. He was Consultant for Music Theater at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for more than a decade, and, for 15 years, he served on the faculty of Yale University. For 18 years, Mauceri worked closely with Leonard Bernstein and conducted many of the composer’s premieres at Bernstein’s request.
On Broadway, he was co-producer of On Your Toes, and served as musical supervisor for Hal Prince’s production of Candide as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance. He also conducted the orchestra for the film version of Evita. Among his many awards and honors are a Tony, Grammy, Billboard, Olivier, and two Emmys. Last year, his recording of Erich Korngold’s Between Two Worlds was selected by Gramophone magazine as one of the 250 Greatest Recordings of All Time. In April, Gramophone named two of his recordings with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra among the “10 great studio re-creations” of classic movie soundtracks.

Chancellor Mauceri holds the lifetime title of Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which was created for him in 1991 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and with whom he led over 300 concerts to a total audience of over 4 million people. He has written for and appeared on radio and television and has delivered keynote speeches and papers for major artistic and educational institutions, such as Harvard University, the American Academy in Berlin, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the American Musicological Society, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He recently published articles for Cambridge University Press and Gramophone magazine.

Recent performances include an October 2010 debut in Spain at the Bilbao Opera as musical director of Susannah, with composer Carlisle Floyd present; and a November 2010 debut in Denmark with The Danish National Orchestra, conducting “Emigrés and Protégés – The Hollywood Diaspora.” He has just completed a critically acclaimed run as musical director of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, an all-UNCSA production and restoration of the original 1943 Broadway production. He will return to the Hollywood Bowl in August 2011, to conduct the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in selections from Fantasia, Walt Disney’s landmark marriage of classical music and animation.

One of the world's preeminent experts on film music, Chancellor Mauceri will appear next week, on June 29, at an event celebrating the life of film composer Bernard Herrmann, at WQXR in New York City. For more information, see: http://www.uncsa.edu/PressReleases/Releases2011/Jun11/HerrmannWQXR.htm.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.