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Release: Immediate

Colorado Quartet fall UI residency concludes with Nov. 3 Hancher concert

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Colorado Quartet will conclude its three-week fall residency at the University of Iowa with a concert at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, in Hancher Auditorium. The event, which is part of the Group 5 Hospitality Chamber Music Series, will complete the first portion of an extensive, seven-week residency supported by a major grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund Arts Partners Program.

The quartet will perform works that were among those excerpted in their September-November appearances at churches in Iowa City and Muscatine: Haydn's String Quartet in F Minor, op. 20, no. 5; the String Quartet No. 1, "A Revival Service," by Charles Ives; and Beethoven's String Quartet in A Minor, op. 132.

To explore the connections between music and spirituality, the Colorado Quartet was integrated into the musical and educational activities of Wesley United Methodist Church in Muscatine, Sept. 30 through Oct. 5; the Unitarian Universalist Society in Iowa City, Oct. 14-19; and Zion Lutheran Church in Iowa City, Oct. 28-Nov. 2.

In each of the churches the quartet participated in two evenings of discussion and music, rehearsed with the choir and organist, and performed during the Sunday worship service. The events addressed the ways that composers and performers express their faiths through music, and also the power of music to convey spiritual feelings and ideas to listeners.

As was common in his time, Haydn saw all of his works as praising God, inscribing his scores with the Latin phrases "In nomini Domine" ("In the name of the Lord") at the beginning and "Laus Deo" ("praise God") at the end. Further, the theme of one movement of the F-minor quartet is associated by many listeners with familiar sacred choral music, so that the piece can be perceived as conveying a spiritual message.

Incorporating movements written for performance in a church service, the Ives quartet features the composer's idiosyncratic reworking of familiar tunes. In his characteristic fashion, Ives manipulated several easily identifiable hymns to create a highly evocative soundscape.

The Beethoven quartet is an example of a deeply felt personal spirituality being expressed in music. One movement of the Op. 132 quartet is a prayer of thanksgiving for Beethoven's survival of a life-threatening illness. The movement contains ethereal material, written in the Lydian mode, that is out of character with the robustness and rhythmic vitality that listeners associate with Beethoven's music. These sections alternate with sections marked "gaining new strength," which are typical Beethoven.

The Colorado Quartet -- violinists Julie Rosenfield and Deborah Redding, violist Francesca Martin Silos and cellist Diane Chaplin -- has performed in Hancher on several occasions, and the positive experiences the quartet has provided became the basis for this ambitious residency. In early 1998 the quartet will return to interact with reading groups at the Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Lisbon libraries during a four-week period, culminating with a March 12 Hancher concert.

The quartet has been at the forefront of the international music scene since winning both the Banff String Quartet Competition and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1983. The Colorado Quartet is known not only for musical integrity, impassioned playing and lyrical finesse, but also for their spontaneous, friendly rapport with audiences.

The Los Angeles Times praised the quartet for "tight, flawlessly balanced ensemble as well as strong individual presences"; the Chicago Sun-Times extolled the quartet's "resonant, impassioned sound that was extraordinary" and the Dallas Morning News concluded, "They are a magnificent, disciplined group whose resonant sound and forceful projection give their performances a generous quotient of drama leavened with lyrical grace."

The Colorado Quartet has performed in more than 20 countries, and recordings of their performances have been released on the Fidelio, Parnassus, Albany and Mode labels.

Tickets for the Nov. 3 concert of the Colorado String Quartet are $25, $23 and $21. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, and Zone 3 tickets are available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price. Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Group 5 Hospitality Management Division of Highlander, Inc., is the corporate sponsor of the Group 5 Hospitality Chamber Music Series through the University of Iowa Foundation.

The residency was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fund Arts Partners Program, which is administered by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.