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Release:Oct. 4, 2002


Amos Yang, the former cellist of the Maia String Quartet who left the group last spring to join the Seattle Symphony, returns to the University for Iowa for a guest recital at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Yang’s recital will be free and open to the public.

Yang will play three large-scale works: the 12 Caprices for solo cello by Alfredo Piatti, Benjamin Britten’s Suite No. 3 for solo cello; and with pianist Hikari Nakamura, a graduate student in the UI School of Music, the Cello Concerto in E minor, op. 65, by Edward Elgar.

Yang said the transition from chamber musician to orchestral player has been “challenging.”

“Because of the symphony’s four-concert-a-week schedule, the work is HARD and it takes some getting used to,” he said. “In quartet playing you pretty much have the music memorized by the concert . Now, instead of having two months to learn three pieces, I have two days between services to learn the part for an entirely new program.

“Sight reading and thinking on my toes are two skills I'm honing. In the symphony there are many more things happening all at once. Playing with your stand partner, your section and section leader, playing with the strings and woodwinds and brass, and then playing with the conductor give you far more variables in such a short amount of time.”

There are definite rewards to work in a major symphony, however. “I'm enjoying the varied repertoire, the different conductors and my colleagues in the symphony who offer a wealth of knowledge and experience,” Yang said. “I am a bit in awe of the people who can play just about anything at sight and with great ease. The orchestra has an amazing amount of true virtuosi tucked away in just about all the sections.”

Yang still has the opportunity to play chamber music, which remains important to him, In fact, he has the opportunity to play many kinds of music. “There are chamber series here with both modern players, modern music, traditional music and baroque specialists,” he noted. “There also happens to be a good deal of recording work for film scores and other commercial recordings.

“I've been especially impressed with the many creative outlets many have carved for themselves.”

In spite of some widely reported problems at some orchestras, the Seattle Symphony continues to have a full house on most evenings. Many people consider their home, Benaroya Hall, to be one of the premier concert halls in America. Yang said there are so many subscribers that orchestra members often cannot get complimentary tickets to concerts..

Yang also enjoys the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. “As I drive to work I can see Mt. Rainier on one side and the Olympic mountains and Puget Sound to the other side,” he said.

Yang played cello with the Maia Quartet, the resident quartet at the UI School of Music, from 1996 until he left the group in 2002 to join the Seattle Symphony. He has previously performed with the Deutsche Kammerakademie (German Academy of Chamber Music) in Dusseldorf and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Yang won first prize in the Grace Vamos Cello Competition and the American String Teacher’s Association Cello Competition and was a finalist in the Pierre Fournier Cello Competition. He has performed a wide range of concertos and played chamber music with the Ying Quartet, pianist Ann Schein and violinists Perrin Yang and Earl Carlyss.

Yang holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School. He also studied at the Eastman School of Music and in London, England, under a grant from the Beebe Foundation. He attended the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he received the CD Jackson Award for outstanding contribution to the festival in 1994.

Nakamura was a winner last spring in the Maia Quartet chamber music competition and performed the Schumann Piano Quintet with the members of the quartet for the winner concert. She won the open section of the 1996 North Queensland (Australia) Concerto and Vocal competition, and was selected to perform on the teachers program at the TCU/Cliburn Piano Institute in 2001. She is currently staff pianist for the cello studio at the UI School of Music.

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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