CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
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Iowa City IA 52242
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Release: Jan. 25, 2002
Maia String Quartet Makes First Foray Into Music For Quartet, Voice
The Maia String Quartet from the University of Iowa
School of Music will enter a region of the repertoire that is new for them
-- works for string quartet and voice -- and perform some lesser known string
quartets on their next concert on the UI campus, at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8,
in Clapp Recital Hall.
Two members of the UI voice faculty will perform with
the quartet: mezzo-soprano Katherine Eberle will sing "Love Blows as
the Wind Blows" by George Butterworth, and baritone Stephen Swanson will
sing "Dover Beach," op. 3, by American composer Samuel Barber.
Because they are rarely done on chamber concerts,
these works are likely as new for the audience as for the players. The other
two works on the program are only slightly more familiar to chamber music
audiences: the String Quartet No. 3, op. 22, by Paul Hindemith; and the String
Quartet in E Minor, op. 44, no. 2, by Felix Mendelssohn.
"We always feel fortunate to have such outstanding
colleagues at the UI and look forward to opportunities for collaboration,"
the quartets second violinist Tim Shiu said. "This will be our
first foray into the literature for string quartet and voice, and we are thrilled
to have this chance to work with Stephen Swanson and Katherine Eberle."
Samuel Barber was one of the most successful American
composers of the 20th century. His music was played and sung by leading performers
throughout his professional life. His Adagio for Strings is one of the most
popular concert pieces written by an American, and his opera "Vanessa"
was premiered at the Metropolitan Opera. Another opera, "Anthony and
Cleopatra," opened the new Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center
"Dover Beach" is a setting of a poem by
Matthew Arnold that has become a classic of English literature. Written around
1851 and published in 1867, "Dover Beach" explores the conflict
between religious faith and the rapid advances in scientific thought that
characterized the Victorian era in England. Although Arnold was an agnostic,
the poet concludes with a resolve to commit himself to life: "Ah, love,
let us be true/ to one another/ for the world, which seems/ to lie before
us like a land of dreams,/ So various, so beautiful, so new."
George Butterworth was an English composer of the
late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like many artists of his generation, he
lost his life in France during World War I. He is associated with the better
known composer Ralph Vaughan-Williams, with whom he collected English folk
songs. He wrote a number of songs and choral setting of English poetry of
the time in a simple and direct style that was influenced by his folk music
research. "Love Blows as the Wind Blows" is a cycle of four songs,
based on poems by William Ernest Henley.
Shiu says that he and the other members of the Maia
Quartet feel that Hindemith deserves "a more prominent place in the repertoire
than he currently enjoys. The Third Quartet is a wonderful example of his
ingenuity, vitality and originality in the medium," he said.
One of the leading musicians in pre-World-War II Germany,
Hindemith was an extremely versatile composer. He taught composition, performed
as a violist and violinist, and wrote chamber music, orchestral and choral
pieces, operas and music for children and amateurs.
Although his style was heavily influenced by his German
Baroque and Classical predecessors, Hindemith was considered a modernist and
his music fell under the disapproval of the Nazi regime. Hindemith moved first
to Switzerland then to the United States, where he taught at Yale University
1940-53. He moved back to Switzerland in 1953 and remained there until his
death in 1963.
Although most of his chamber music was written around
1920, his six string quartets span most of his creative career, from 1919
to 1945. The Third Quartet was written in 1922.
As a child prodigy growing up in the early years of
the Romantic period, Mendelssohn received a thorough musical education. From
that training, he was very conscious of the Classical heritage in music, represented
by the works of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. It is not surprising, therefore,
that he wrote works in all the standard genres of the Classical style: symphonies
and overtures for orchestra, concertos, string quartets, sonatas and so forth.
Mendelssohn published his set of three string quartets,
Op. 44, in 1839, when he was 30. They are considered to be among his finest
works in the Classical mold.
The Maia String Quartet is in its fourth year as quartet
in residence at the UI 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, teaching chamber
music courses and coaching student ensembles.
The Feb. 8 concert is the second of three concerts
by the Maia Quartet on campus during the current academic year. The final
concert of the series will be at 8 p.m. Monday, April 15,in Clapp Recital
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. Prior to coming to Iowa, they
also taught on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory.
The quartet has gained wide recognition for its educational
outreach activities. It has participated in a three-year project in partnership
with the Aspen Music Festival under a grant from the Lila Wallace-Readers
Digest Foundation aimed at building adult audiences. The members of the quartet
have shared their love of music with children under the auspices of Young
Audiences, Inc., and the Midori Foundation, and they have given performances
for families with children at Lincoln Center and the U.N. School in New York.
A native of Akron, Ohio, Eberle has performed internationally
in opera, concert and solo recitals. She has performed with the opera theater
of Lille, France, the Academy of the West, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Aspen
Festival Opera Theatre, the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz, Austria,
and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Eberle made her New York debut at Weill Recital Hall
at Carnegie Hall in 1993. In 1994 and 95 she toured as a musical ambassador
for the United States Information Agency, performing in South America and
Korea. In 1998 she was elected President of the State Chapter of the National
Association of Teachers of Singing, hosting the state convention.
Swanson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music
in 1994. For nearly 20 years before that date he had an active operatic career
in Europe. During that time his repertoire grew to 91 roles in opera, operetta
and musicals. He has sung on German, Austrian and Dutch radio broadcasts and
has been a featured soloist in European festivals including the Berliner Festwochen,
the Days of Contemporary Music in Dresden and the Festa Musica Pro in Assisi,
Swanson has also had an extensive career as a concert
singer, appearing as featured soloist with many U.S. orchestras, including
the Chicago Symphony under Sir Georg Solti, Raphael Fruehbeck de Burgos and
Margaret Hillis. He has recorded Mendelssohns "St. Paul" and
Ullmanns "Der Kaiser von Atlantis." Since coming to Iowa City,
he has presented solo recitals, appeared in and directed UI Opera Theater
productions, and performed with the Chamber Singers of Iowa City.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing
Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
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