CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
(NOTE TO EDITORS: Amy Appold, first violinist of the Maia String Quartet,
may be reached by e-mail at <email@example.com>.)
UI string quartet in residence continues its performance series with
concert Dec. 4
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Maia String Quartet, the quartet in residence
at the University of Iowa School of Music, will present the second of a
series of three concerts on the UI campus for the 1998-99 academic year
at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 in Clapp Recital Hall.
The program will comprise three works: the String Quartet in E-flat,
op. 64 no. 6 of Joseph Haydn; the Quartet No. 1 of Leos Janacek, known
as the "Kreutzer Sonata" Quartet; and the String Quartet in A
minor, op. 51 no. 2, of Johannes Brahms.
The concert by the Maia String Quartet will be free and open to the
The members of the Maia String Quartet -- Amy Kuhlmann Appold and Timothy
Shiu, violins; Elizabeth Oakes, viola; and Amos Yang, cello -- are visiting
assistant professors at the UI School of Music. They were selected for
the UI residency by members of the string faculty at the School of Music.
The Maia Quartet is also quartet-in-residence with the Acadiana Symphony
Orchestra of Lafayette, La., serving as principal string players in the
The quartet opened their 1998-99 concert series at the UI on Sept. 27.
The final concert of the series will be at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 11. In
addition to the free concerts in Clapp Recital Hall, each UI residence
period will include teaching activities in the School of Music and outreach
activities arranged through the UI Arts Share program.
Appold says that the Haydn and Brahms quartets on the Dec. 4 program
are relatively new pieces for the Maia Quartet. "The Haydn was chosen
during a reading session that we had," she explained. "We read
through several Haydn quartets, as well as quite a few other pieces, looking
for a good program 'opener.' We decided on this particular Haydn quartet
because after we finished playing we all started laughing -- it was so
much fun to play.
"It has all the typical Haydn features that I love so much -- warmth,
virtuosity, humor, a peasant-like minuet with a cute trio, and lots of
surprises in the last movement."
A longer and more deeply expressive piece, the Brahms is completely
different in style and sound from the Haydn quartet -- Appold describes
it as "thick, lush, Romantic and complex."
"As usual with Brahms, I feel so young when I'm playing it,"
she added. "I always feel like the piece is a wise, 100-year-old man
and I'm only a child next to it. In some ways, I hope I always feel that
The third piece on the program -- the Janacek First Quartet -- has been
part of the Maia's repertoire much longer. Its inspiration and its title
came from a novella by Leo Tolstoy, "The Kreutzer Sonata." The
novella is the story of a deteriorating marriage in which the husband finally
kills his wife when he suspects that she is having an affair with a violinist
who is her sonata partner.
It is their heated performance of Beethoven's "Kreutzer" Sonata
-- one of the major works of the violin-piano repertoire -- that convinces
the husband of his wife's infidelity. But since the story is told entirely
from the husband's point of view, Tolstoy leaves unresolved the question
of what -- if anything -- really took place between the wife and the violinist.
This story had great meaning for Janacek, who, when he wrote the quartet
in 1923, was deeply in love with a married woman 38 years his junior. Although
his love was never returned, they remained friends and Janacek shared his
deepest feelings in the hundreds of letters he wrote to the younger woman.
Janacek's score is characterized by sudden juxtapositions of mood and
character. The disorienting effect of these sudden mood changes vividly
expresses the turbulence and irrationality of the emotions involved in
The Maia Quartet was founded in 1990, when the four members were students
at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The members were subsequently awarded
fellowships at the Peabody Conservatory and the Juilliard School. They
have also been awarded summer fellowships to the Norfolk Chamber Music
Festival and the Aspen Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, where they
worked with the Emerson, Tokyo, Cleveland and American string quartets.
At Juilliard they worked closely with the Juilliard Quartet and served
as their teaching assistants.
The quartet has played concerts at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center,
for the "Music the Great Hall" series in Baltimore, at the Terrace
Theatre at the Kennedy Center and as visiting artists at Harris Hall of
the Aspen Music Festival. Their collaborations with leading chamber musicians
have included performances with flutist Samuel Baron and violist Michael
Tree of the Guarneri Quartet.
The Maia Quartet is recognized for its educational outreach activities.
Their frequent invitations for short-term educational residencies have
included engagements with Chamber Music Northwest, the Austin (Texas) Chamber
Music Center, the Music Associates of Aspen and the city of Katsuyama,
Japan. Performances for children have included a family concert at Lincoln
Center on the Metropolitan Opera's "Growing Up with Opera and Friends"
series and appearances for ArtsExcel, Young Audiences, Inc. and the Midori
Prior to the selection of the Maia Quartet as quartet in residence,
the UI School of Music had been without a resident string quartet since
in 1996, when three members of the Stradivari String Quartet retired from
the faculty at the same time.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at