CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 9, 2001
Maia Quartet branches out for Feb.
23 concert at the UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Maia String
Quartet will branch out from the standard string-quartet repertoire, joining
with University of Iowa faculty colleagues to present a piano trio, a work
for quartet with string bass and narrator, and a string sextet in a free public
concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
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 are currently in their third year as the UI quartet in residence.
The Feb. 23 concert is the second of three concerts on campus during the current
academic year. The final concert of the series will be at 8 p.m. Friday, April
20, in Clapp Recital Hall.
The Maia Quartet's guests for the
Feb. 23 concert will include both new and long-time members of the School
of Music faculty. The program begins with Robert Schumann's Piano Trio No.
2 in F major, op. 80, featuring violinist Timothy Shiu and cellist Amos Yang
from the quartet with pianist Rose Chancler, who performed on the program
of Magisterra!, the first UI International Chamber Music Festival and Academy
in May, 2000.
Next, the full quartet will perform
"Lucy and the Count: lovedreams from transylvania" for solo bass and string
quartet by Jon Deak, featuring bassist Diana Gannett and narrator Eric Forsythe
from the UI Department of Theatre Arts.
A single work will fill the second
half of the program, the String Sextet No. 1 in B-flat major, op. 18, by Johannes
Brahms, featuring the Maia Quartet with violist William Preucil, who retired
from the UI School of music in 1997 after more than 35 years on the faculty,
and cellist Uri Vardi, who became a visiting faculty member in January.
This eclectic program represents a
form of celebration for the quartet. "We have tried to make this concert a
collaborative gala," Shiu said. "That's why we are not only including current
and former UI Music School faculty, but also reaching across disciplines in
the new Division of Performing Arts to include Eric Forsythe from the theater
Shiu characterized Schumann's Trio
in F major as "the sunnier half of a pair of trios he wrote in 1847. In contrast
to the more dark and brooding D Minor Trio, there is a lighthearted exuberance
to the F Major Trio, especially in its outer movements.
"I find the middle movements to be
particularly memorable gems: the slow movement for its touching beauty and
un-self-conscious intimacy; the minuet movement for its rapturous elegance
Jon Deak is the associate principal
bass player for the New York Philharmonic and is known for his playfully imaginative
compositions based on children's tales including Hans Christian Andersen's
"The Ugly Duckling" and A. A. Milne's "Winnie the Pooh."
"Lucy and the Count" takes its inspiration
from Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and includes among its many vivid effects a dinner
party scene in which the instruments imitate fully inflected speech in a syllable-for-syllable
rendering of the dinner conversation.
Brahms' B-Flat Sextet was written
in 1859-60, during what historians have called his "first maturity." An intensely
self-critical composer who felt intimidated by Beethoven's stature, Brahms
was not yet ready to put before the public any string quartets or symphonies
-- the genres in which Beethoven particularly excelled. But the string sextet
was unencumbered with the weight of significant precedent. Consequently, Brahms
was able to compose with ease and assurance, which is reflected in the genial
expansiveness and melodic generosity of the First Sextet.
Founded in1990, the Maia Quartet has
established itself nationally with performances in major concert halls including
Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre in Washington,
D.C., and Harris Hall at the Aspen Music Festival. In 1999 they gave a concert
at the German Embassy in Washington, in honor of the Czech Republic's entry
into NATO. In recent years they have collaborated with other leading chamber
musicians around the world, and they have had summer teaching engagements
at the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Austin Chamber Music Festival, the South
Carolina Governors School for the Arts and the Cedar Rapids Symphony School.
Prior to coming to Iowa, they also taught on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory.
Chancler has performed throughout
the United States as both a soloist and a collaborative artist. She has played
concertos and recitals in Alaska, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, California,
Oklahoma and Massachusetts. She has played chamber music performances with
notable artists, including Paul Rosenthal, Jeffrey Solow and Harvey Pittel.
She has been an invited guest artist and teacher at the Fairbanks Summer Arts
A graduate of the UI School of Music,
Gannett returned to the UI to teach double bass in the fall of 1992. She also
is the principal double bass of the Quad City Symphony. As a teacher and performer
she has had an active career including appointments at Yale University, the
Hartt School of Music, Oberlin College and the University of South Florida.
She has been principal double bass of the Gulf Coast Symphony, the Black Hills
Festival Orchestra, the Eastern Music Festival and the Bronx Symphony, and
been a member of the New Haven and New Jersey symphonies.
Forsythe heads the acting and directing
programs for the UI Theatre Department and is the artistic director of Iowa
Summer Rep. His acting credits include productions at major theatres across
the country from the McCarter and Philadelphia Drama guild to Boston's Charles
Playhouse and the St. Louis Rep. He has performed with Jason Robards, Geena
Davis and David Straithairn, and has directed actors as diverse as Sylvia
Sidney, Betsey Palmer, Ted Danson and John Sayles. Favorite roles include
King Lear, Sherlock Holmes and George in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
He has appeared in many commercials, films, television and radio productions
and industrial films.
Preucil taught on the UI music faculty
for more than 35 years, served as violist for the Stradivari Quartet at the
UI and as principal violist of the Cedar Rapids Symphony. Before coming to
the UI he was principal violist of the Detroit Symphony. He made his New York
recital debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1960.
He has toured throughout North America,
and to more than 25 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He had
a solo recital tour of Japan in 1982, and is the recording artist for books
of the Suzuki Viola School, a world-wide string teaching method based on principles
put forward by the Japanese music teacher Shinichi Suzuki. An acclaimed teacher,
Preucil has presented master classes throughout the world, from Russia to
Australia. In 1992 he was awarded the M.L. Huit Faculty Award at the UI for
his dedication and service to his students.
A member of the music faculty at the
University of Wisconsin, Vardi has given cello and chamber music master classes
at Indiana University, the New England Conservatory, Yale and the Eastman
School of Music, and at summer festivals around the world. His students have
been successful as soloists, chamber players and members of major orchestras
including the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic.
Although born in Hungary, Vardi grew
up on a kibbutz in Israel. He studied cello at the Rubin Academy of Music
in Tel Aviv, and later with the master teachers Janos Starker at Indiana University
and Aldo Parisot at Yale University. He has served as principal cellist of
the Israel Sinfonietta and the Israel Chamber Orchestra, in addition to appearances
as soloist with both orchestras.
Vardi has also recorded and toured
Israel and Italy with the Sol-La-Re String Quartet, founded a chamber music
series in Tel Aviv and taught for many years at the Israel Conservatory and
the Jerusalem Music Center. He has toured the United States and Israel with
"Fusions," a concert of western Jewish music and Arabic art music for cello,
oud (a stringed instrument characteristic of Arabic North Africa) and piano.
Vardi has visited the UI campus several
times, performing with UI faculty and presenting a master class for cello
The School of Music and the Department
of Theatre Arts are part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College
of Liberal Arts.
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