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Release: Oct. 27, 2000

Timothy Shiu steps out of the Maia Quartet for a recital with pianist Mansoon Han Nov. 6

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Violinist Timothy Shiu will become the latest member of the Maia String Quartet to take a bow apart from the ensemble this fall when he presents a free University of Iowa faculty/guest recital with pianist Mansoon Han at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Shiu, who is the quartet’s second violinist, and Han, staff accompanist at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and instructor at the Community College of Baltimore, will play Franz Schubert’s Duo in A major ,op. post. 162; Maurice Ravel’s Sonata for violin and piano; and Robert Schumann’s Sonata No. 1 in A minor, op. 105. In addition, Shiu will play the Sonata No. 4 in E minor for unaccompanied violin, op. 27 no. 4, by the great Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaye.

The UI School of Music’s resident string quartet, the Maia opened its 2000-2001 season on campus with a concert Sept. 29. But the members of the ensemble have not limited themselves to their quartet concerts during the fall semester. Earlier, violinist Amy Appold, was a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra Oct. 15, and cellist Amos Yang has had a full schedule of concert appearances, including a program of duos and trios Oct. 30 and an upcoming solo date Dec. 7.

A remarkably flexible group of musicians, the Maia’s players also teach individual and chamber music lessons in the School of Music, and they anchored the string sections of the University Symphony in its concert with pianist Van Cliburn Sept. 20.

The Nov. 6 concert grew out of a friendship that began when Shiu and Han met at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Shiu holds a Graduate Performance Diploma from Peabody, and as a member of the Maia Quartet also held a teaching fellowship there. Han moved to Baltimore from Seoul, South Korea, in 1992 to study with pianist Ann Schein -- a participant last year in the UI Piano Festival -- and subsequently received master’s and doctoral degrees from Peabody.

"I always look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with my good friend Mansoon Han," Shiu said. "She’s a marvelous pianist."

Shiu said he and Han deliberately selected a program of "interestingly varied" works, from Schubert’s youthful Duo to Schumann’s passionate Sonata and the virtuoso showpiece by Ysaye.

"Schubert’s Duo was written in 1817," Shiu explained. "In it the young composer clearly finds his own voice, with its charming melodies and nuanced harmonic coloration. The opening melody of the first movement is particularly evocative and should linger in the memory long after the concert’s close."

Another early work, Ravel’s Sonata for violin and piano was written in 1897, when the composer was 22 and still a student at the Paris Conservatory. "Ravel’s Sonata is particularly notable for its very jazzy ‘Blues’ second movement," Shiu said. "Here Ravel demonstrates his gift for wide-ranging idiomatic borrowings that nevertheless retain his own individual stamp."

One of the greatest violin virtuosos of his generation, Eugene Ysaye wrote eight violin concertos and a number of other works, including an opera in his native Walloon language. Inspired by Bach’s six sonatas and partitas for solo violin, he wrote six solo sonatas for violin. Highly virtuosic works that explore the full range of violin technique, the six sonatas were each written in the characteristic playing style of an individual violinist.

The Fourth Sonata was modeled on the playing of, and dedicated to, Fritz Kreisler, and it is reported that Kreisler asked to hear it as a final request on his deathbed.

Schumann composed his First Sonata for violin and piano in 1851. Written only three years before his deteriorating mental health forced him to give up work completely, it is among his later works and will end the recital, Shiu says, on a "passionate and deeply expressive" note.

Shiu began his violin studies at the age of three and a half. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English with high honors from Yale University, where he also received the T. Whitney Blake Prize for scholarship in English and music. He also holds a master’s degree in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a graduate performance diploma from the Peabody Conservatory.

As a founding member of the Maia Quartet, Shiu has performed throughout the United States and in Japan. Collaborations with leading chamber musicians have included performances with violinist Peter Zazovsky of the Muir Quartet, violist Michael Tree of the Guarneri Quartet, pianist Ann Schein and the late flutist Samuel Baron. He was teaching assistant at the Juilliard School for Joel Smirnoff of the Juilliard Quartet and has taught chamber music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Orchestral engagements have included the Canton (Ohio) Symphony and the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra in Lafayette, La., where he held the position of principal second violin.

Han began her piano studies at the age of 6 in Seoul, South Korea. She won a reputation as an outstanding talent, winning numerous competitions in her native country, including the Yook Young Competition, the Piano Music Competition and the Nan Pa Music Competition. She was an honor student at the Seoul National University, where she received her bachelor’s degree.

At the Peabody Conservatory she garnered a number of awards, including second prize in the Yale Gordon Competition, the Clara Ascherfeld Accompanying Award and a Peabody Scholarship. In addition she studied at the Aspen Music Festival, the Orford Arts Centre and the Kent Blossom Summer Chamber Music Festival. She has performed with members of the Maia Quartet, principal horn of the Baltimore Symphony Peter Landgren, and soprano Hyunah Yu, a Naumberg Competition finalist.

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