Fairfield Classics & Improvisations is a delightful evening of classical music and improvisations featuring Fairfield musicians: Dee Sandquist, organ, Gary Roth, clarinet, Steve Hillis, piano, Werner Elmker, piano, and Iowa City musician, Jeffrey Agrell, French horn.
Dee Sandquist learned to play piano from local teachers, Mrs. (Condon) Johnson, Mrs. Sloca and Bill and Pat Medley. She studied organ from Mrs. Linder in Fairfield and from Martha Foltz, faculty at Iowa State University. She is a registered dietitian, family farmer and has been a church organist for 40 years.
Jeffrey Agrell joined the faculty of the University of Iowa as Associate Professor of Horn in 2000 after a first career as Associate Principal Horn of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. He has degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Madison-Wisconsin, with further study at the Institut de Hautes Etudes Musicales in Montreux and at the Basel Conservatory in Switzerland. Professor Agrell has won awards as both a writer and composer, with over one hundred published articles and many compositions published, recorded on CD, and performed on concerts stage, competitions, and festivals, and broadcast on radio and TV worldwide. He has published many books and CDs featuring the importance of improvisation for the classical musician and has developed great mastery in improvising with other musicians.
Steve Hillis studied classical piano at the University of Iowa under Kenneth Amada, earning B.S. and M.F.A. degrees in piano performance. He studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, and taught jazz at the University of Iowa, Cornell College and the University of Miami. He also has a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Iowa, and presently is a Research Professor in the Departments of Radiology and Biostatistics at the University of Iowa. He performs regularly in Fairfield at Revelations Book Store.
Werner Elmker: In performance of classical as well as original music, Danish concert pianist and composer Werner Elmker emphasizes the importance of improvisation as the main source of all great music. Based on his mastery in the areas of music, photography, video and graphic design, he was presented with an award from the Fairfield Entrepreneurs Association as the 2012 Fairfield Entertainer of the Year: "For an individual who's creativity in multiple art forms has not only enriched the Fairfield community but also changed the way we look at ourselves". He has a doctoral level degree in Piano Performance from the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music.
Gary Roth is a local dentist who plays clarinet with the Southeast Iowa Symphony and Southeast Iowa Band. He also performs in the pit orchestra on saxophone and clarinet with many area musical theater groups.