UI Tuba Euphonium Studio to play alongside performers’ art at the Stanley

The musicians prepared not only musical pieces but visual art pieces for the performance on May 4 at the UI’s Stanley Museum of Art.


Darren Chen

The Stanley Museum of Art sign is seen outside of the Stanley Museum of Art in Iowa City on Friday, December 9, 2022.

Emma Gaughan, Arts Reporter

As the music of the University of Iowa Tuba Euphonium Studio fills the Stanley Museum of Art, viewers will also be able to see original art made by the performers.

The studio will be performing at the Stanley Museum of Art on Thursday — the first in a series of end-of-year recitals for the group. The group is led by UI professor John Manning, who came up with the idea for this concert when he visited the Stanley in December 2022. Last semester, he had his students select their favorite artwork in the museum and present it. This semester, the assignment was to create their own artwork.

“This is something that goes beyond just practicing or performing, but still helps them learn to be better musicians,” Manning wrote in an email to the The Daily Iowan.

The performance will include solos, duets, and other performances in the lobby of the Stanley, where students’ artwork will be presented in a variety of mediums. Manning arranged previous performances at the UI’s old art building and wanted to get involved again with the new building.

Manning shared that this project was important to help musicians see themselves as artists and to learn how to use their creativity in other ways, not just in making music.

“I also think we have several members of our studio that also are talented artists, and some that may be about to discover their own hidden talent and appreciation for art,” Manning wrote.

The tuba studio is composed of nine UI students and two alumni, though some of the students are not currently involved in the School of Music. Throughout the year, the group performs at a variety of different concerts and events. The event will encourage students to think about the story behind the music they are playing, teaching assistant John Reyna said.

“It’s going to really be all over the place and in a good way,” Reyna said.

Reyna shared that he has never performed in the Stanley before and is hopeful that the performance will be very interactive. He said while some of the musical preparations have been typical, it has been interesting to see students getting involved and making visual artwork for the performance.

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“Professor Manning really wanted to be as open-ended as possible and allow us to create whatever we just wanted to create and whatever we felt from music that we’re playing,” Reyna said.

For student Rochelle Lopez, the project was a way to step out of her comfort zone and create stories behind the music. Lopez’s art features ink, which she felt comfortable with, and watercolor, which she was not as comfortable with.

“You make so many mistakes, but in a way, it’s like music,” Lopez said. “You either improvise it or you just go on.”

Lopez is a third-year student studying neurobiology and music. She said she regretted not continuing music and was able to reach out to Manning, who introduced her to this group. While she had been nervous to join later in her college career, she shared that the music program and the studio are great groups that she enjoys working with.

“We often try to help each other out, like, offering to listen and getting constructive feedback,” Lopez said.

After the concert, the Tuba Euphonium Studio’s artwork will be temporarily on display in the lobby of the Stanley.