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2009.02.10 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

Celtic War Horn Part of Low Brass Day at UNO

Omaha - High school students from more than 70 area schools will participate in the ninth annual Low Brass Day at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) on Tuesday, Feb 17. The day will also feature a unique musical offering – a performance that will highlight a carnyx, an Iron Age Celtic war horn that has never been performed in the United States …until now.

“Low Brass Day is, pardon the expression, a blast,” said Pete Madsen, a UNO music professor who specializes in brass instruments. Madsen also coordinates Low Brass Day. “The high school musicians who attend get to perform and spend time in clinics with great teachers and artists. And then there’s the carnyx.”

For the students (who play a variety of brass, from skinny trombones to heavy tubas) the day runs from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. A free, public concert will be the finale of the educational day at 5 p.m. in the Strauss Performing Arts Center. The concert featuring the carnyx starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Strauss.

John Kenny, a nationally known trombonist and composer, has revived the playing of the carnyx, which was first played more than two thousand years ago in the British Isles (primarily Scottland.) It was a kind of bronze trumpet, the mouth styled in the shape of a boar's head.

In 1992, Kenny joined a team of specialists at the National Museum of Scotland committed to reconstruct a carnyx. A year later, he became the first person to play the carnyx for 2,000 years, and has since lectured and performed on the instrument internationally, in the concert hall, and on radio, television, and film. There are now numerous compositions for the carnyx, and it is featured on seven recordings. The Feb. 17 concert will be Kenny’s first performance in Nebraska.

“This is completely unique, completely different,” Madsen said. “This is an extremely rare opportunity to see and hear an unbelievably rare instrument.” Tickets are $5 for the general public and $4 for student and seniors. UNO students and Low Brass Day participants will receive free admission.

Want to hear a canyx? Click on this link to listen to John Kenny play "The Voice of the Carnyx" from his album of the same name.

* *

UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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