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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI Music Department to pay tribute to retired professor

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 2, 2002 -- Dr. Geoffrey Gibbs, a recently retired professor of composition and theory at the University of Rhode Island, will be recognized for his service to the University’s Music Department, with a University Artist Series Concert performed in his honor. The event will take place Friday, April 19, at 8 p.m., in the Fine Arts Center Recital Hall at the URI Kingston Campus.

General admission is $6 and free for students with an ID. All proceeds will go toward the endowment of the Sona Aronian and Geoffrey Gibbs Scholarship in Composition. The first recipient of the scholarship will be announced at the concert.

Gibbs, a baritone soloist, will sing original songs as well as those by some of his former composition students. Gibbs will be accompanied by pianist Philip Martorella. Works by some URI graduates, who have professional careers in composition, will also be performed by various artists.

The program will include the following songs performed and written by Gibbs during his 36 years of teaching at URI: Oh, Rory Are You in Again? (poetry of Alonzo Gibbs), The Lake of Innisfree (William Butler Yeats), How do I Love Thee (Elizabeth Barrett Browning), The Orchard Lands of Long Ago (James Whitcomb), and many more. He will also sing This is Over from "Winter Songs" (Poetry by Kevin Walker) and composed by John Vasconcelos Costa, a URI music graduate.

Gibbs joined the URI staff in 1965. He earned a bachelor and master of music degree and doctor of musical arts in composition from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School where he was a student of Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers. He also studied composition privately with Elie Siegmeister. As a creator of the URI Master of Music program in 1977, he organized its revision in 1994.

Gibbs has taught and designed courses in composition, theory, form, electronic music, orchestration, and the modern era. An organizer of the Rhode Composers’ Festivals from 1984 through 1989, Gibbs presented many recitals as a composer and baritone soloist. His compositions have been performed in Russia, South America, New York, Florida, South Dakota, Wyoming, Washington D.C., and throughout New England. Among his works are A Joy in Looking Back (Rhode Island’s 350th celebration, 1986), and State House for orchestra (our capitol’s 100th anniversary celebration, 1998). Gibbs composed four symphonies, two operas, three concertos, chamber music for various instrumental combinations and electronic sounds, many choral works including an oratorio, and more than 100 songs. His ballet Triad: Nine Short Dances with choreography by Miki Ohlsen was commissioned by The Island Moving Company and performed in 1992, 93, and 95. Songs for the Fiddler’s Three, a piece for children’s chorus, soprano soloist, and orchestra was performed in New York City and the Walnut Hill School along with URI, Salve Regina University. His musical for children, Dracula’s Party was given its third production in 2000 by the South County Players Children’s Theatre.

He is a recipient of four grants awarded by the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, the New England Foundation on the Arts, Meet the Composer, Florida Delius Foundation, and Rhode Island 2000. He has participated in and helped organize a number of URI symposia, which have melded together music, other arts, and the humanities. These include the Symposium Celebrating Creativity and Discovery (1992), Rhythm and Motion in the Fine Arts (1993), and the Symposium Celebrating Silvestre Revueltas (1999).

Gibbs retired from URI in the summer of 2001 and is now devoting his full energies to composition projects.

For Information: Geoffrey Gibbs, 783-1682, Jan Wenzel, 874-2116, Stephanie Paquette, 874-2116

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