CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Colorado Quartet's March 12 Hancher concert concludes adventurous
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Colorado Quartet will conclude the most adventurous
residency in the history of the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium with
a concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 12, as part of the Group 5 Hospitality
Chamber Music Series.
For the seven weeks leading up to the concert, the Colorado Quartet
has spent alternate weeks in Iowa, participating in reading groups at the
Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Lisbon public libraries. The sessions, moderated
by Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City, have examined how
personal, ethnic, national, racial and religious identities are expressed
in literature and music. Particular attention has been paid to the immigrant
experience in America.
The March 12 concert program is drawn from works excerpted by the Colorado
Quartet during the discussions: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Quartet in D
Minor, K. 421; the Quartet No. 4, "Poems," by the contemporary
Czech composer Karel Husa, who immigrated to the United States; and the
Quartet in E-flat Major by Dvorak, who spent the summer of 1983 with his
Czech brethren in Spillville, Iowa.
The Mozart quartet was included in the program because one of the texts
studied by the reading groups was the playscript of "Amadeus,"
by Peter Shaffer. "Amadeus" is principally the story of Mozart's
legendary composing rival, Antonio Salieri, a religiously upright man who
played by the rules and yet realizes that God has bestowed genius instead
on the uncouth free spirit Mozart, but the play also depicts the courtly
patronage system under which both Mozart and Salieri worked.
Unlike Beethoven and later composers of the Romantic era, who poured
their overt personal identity and passion into their works, Mozart was
constrained from blatant self-expression. So Mozart's work, in which insertions
of humor and satire become the covert mode of the artist's identity, is
a contrast to Dvorak, who openly expressed his personal solidarity with
a particular cultural and ethnic tradition through the use of folk music
and national themes.
Although Dvorak spent time in the United States, and even wrote music
that depicted his experience in Iowa, he returned to his homeland and never
was separated from his Czech identity. The experience of his later countryman
Husa, however, was much different. Disassociating himself from a repressive
regime, Husa immigrated to the United States in the early 1950s and spent
his career as a faculty member at Cornell University.
The Colorado Quartet's spring activities complete a seven-week 1997-98
residency coordinated by Hancher Auditorium. Last fall the Colorado Quartet
explored the connections between music and spirituality with Wesley United
Methodist Church in Muscatine, the Unitarian Universalist Society in Iowa
City and Zion Lutheran Church in Iowa City, leading up to a Nov. 3 Hancher
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.
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.
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 March 12 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.