CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Maia Quartet, new UI String quartet in residence, presents it first
concert on campus Sept. 27
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Maia String Quartet, recently appointed quartet
in residence at the University of Iowa School of Music, will present its
first concert on the UI campus at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27 in Clapp Recital
An established quartet that tours to major concert halls and music festivals
around the country, the quartet will be in residence on the UI campus three
times during the academic year and will play a free concert in Clapp Recital
Hall during each residence period. Subsequent concerts during the 1998-99
season will be at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 and at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 11.
For the Sept. 27 concert, the Maia Quartet will play Beethoven's String
Quartet in G major, Op. 18 no. 2, the String Quartet No. 1 of Pierre Jalbert,
and the String Quartet No. 2 of Alexander Borodin.
In addition to the Sept. 27 concert, the Maia Quartet's first visit
to the UI will include an appearance at the season-opening concert by the
University Symphony and conductor William LaRue Jones at 8 p.m. Wednesday,
Sept. 23 in Hancher Auditorium. The members of the quartet will be soloists
for Edward Elgar's Introduction and Allegro for string quartet and string
The Maia Quartet was selected for the UI residency by members of the
string faculty at the School of Music. The quartet -- Amy Kuhlmann Appold
and Timothy Shiu, violins; Elizabeth Oakes, viola; and Amos Yang, cello
-- is also quartet-in-residence with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra of
Lafayette, La., serving as principal string players in the orchestra. They
will be visiting assistant professors at the UI School of Music.
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 that will be arranged through the UI Arts Share office.
Appold, the Maia's first violinist, said the quartet is excited about
the residency. "When we came to Iowa City last year we were only there
for one day, but we just loved it," she said. "It's obviously
a great college town, where you can sense that you are part of an intellectual
"We really enjoyed it for that reason, and the fact that everybody
that we met had such warmth and openness toward us. It was such a welcoming
feeling we got from the string faculty at the School of Music, from the
administration and everyone that we met."
For their first full concert at the UI, the quartet chose to introduce
themselves to local audiences by including on their program a new piece
that, since it was written specifically for them, is a very personal part
of their own identity. Jalbert's String Quartet was written specifically
for the Maia Quartet with the support of a Guggenhiem grant and premiered
by the quartet in 1996 at Alice Tully Hall in New York's Lincoln Center.
The relationship between the players and the composer has been one of
mutual give and take. The Maia Quartet worked closely with Jalbert to prepare
for the premiere, and as they have subsequently played his piece around
the country they have continued to work with him to further refine their
interpretation. At the same time the composer has responded to their performances,
making minor adjustments in the score.
Jalbert, currently on the faculty of the Shepherd School of Music at
Rice University, fuses a variety of styles in the quartet. A student of
American composer George Crumb, he draws strongly on the 20th-century string
quartet repertoire, including not only Crumb's delicate soundscapes but
also the works of Bartok and Ravel.
These classical influences are combined by Jalbert with influences from
rock and jazz, which the players believe makes the score accessible to
a broad audience. Shiu, the quartet's second violinist, says "we have
found it to be a piece that speaks directly to audiences. A lot of people
come away saying, 'this is a piece I could really 'get'." And Appold
has no doubt which of the varied influences should dominate. "If we
are doing it right," she says, "it is less Bartok and more rock
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.