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Release: Oct. 14, 2002


The Maia String Quartet, the quartet in residence at the University of Iowa School of Music, will welcome the newest member of the group -- cellist Hannah Holman -- as they start the 2002-03 concert season at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, which will be free and open to the public, will feature clarinetist Maurita Murphy Mead from the School of Music faculty performing with the quartet. Other members of the Maia Quartet are Amy Kuhlmann Appold and Timothy Shiu, violins; and Elizabeth Oakes, viola.

Three works will be featured on the program: Beethoven’s Quartet in D major, op. 18 no. 3; Bela Bartok’s Quartet No. 2; and Johannes Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in B minor, op. 115.

Holman replaces cellist Amos Yang, who left the quartet at the end of the spring semester to take a position with the Seattle Symphony. A series of auditions were held by the remaining members of the quartet during the spring. A total of five cellists from the United States, Canada and England visited Iowa City to try out by rehearsing with the quartet. Holman was selected by the end of the spring semester.

The Maia Quartet began rehearsing with its new lineup at the beginning of the fall semester. Although there have been a few informal tryouts, the Oct. 23 concert is Holman’s first formal concert with the Maia Quartet on the UI campus.

Holman said she is excited to join the group. “After being in a professional orchestra in Richmond, Va., for three years, I resigned and moved to New York in hopes of pursuing more chamber music,” she said. “Well, I have taken a little detour, but it’s wonderful to be here. The thought of playing in a quartet, especially the Maia -- I love them all -- and get to teach -- it’s just great.”

For their part, members of the quartet were just as enthusiastic about Holman. “It has been an exciting experience working with Hannah,” Shiu said. “From the first day, she brought with her a wonderful enthusiasm for our work together, as well as a quickness and adaptability, and a natural musical responsiveness that encourages spontaneity in performance.

“In a string quartet, which demands such a melding of voices and personalities, each member has a profound effect on the character of the group as a whole. With Hannah, we have particularly enjoyed the influence of her warmth of sound, the sincerity of her music-making, and her great depth of feeling. We look forward to our first performance with her in Clapp.”

Beethoven’s Quartet in D major was part of a group of six quartets that were published in 1801 as op. 18. Beethoven had briefly studied composition with Haydn, who had perfected the string quartet form, but he chafed under the older man’s teaching and he soon began to assert his own style. He took a long time to write his first quartets, knowing they would attract attention and wanting to be certain they would stand up against the works of his former teacher. In fact, these quartets are considered among the first great works of the young Beethoven, combining the classical style and structure of Haydn and Mozart with his own strong, independent identity.

Bartok's six string quartets are considered among the greatest contributions to the string quartet repertoire since Beethoven, and also among the most important works of the 20th century. They were spread throughout his creative life, so that they formed, in the words of Bartok's pupil Matyas Seiber, “the backbone of his whole output.”

In 1891 Brahms met the clarinetist Richard Muehlfeld, whose performances of music by Mozart and Carl Maria von Weber made a deep impression on him. During the summer he wrote the Clarinet Trio and the Quintet for clarinet and strings for Muehlfeld. Together with two sonatas for clarinet and piano that he wrote for Muehlfeld in 1894, these were the last pieces of chamber music Brahms composed.

The Maia Quartet has been the quartet in residence at the UI School of Music since 1998. In addition to playing a series of concerts on the UI campus, members of the quartet teach chamber music and coach student chamber ensembles. They also play individual performances as soloists and in collaboration with their faculty colleagues.

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.

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.

Mead is in her 19th year teaching clarinet on the faculty of the UI School of Music. Her many solo invitations have included International Clarinet Association conferences, the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the Southeastern Clarinet Workshop and the conference of the College Band Directors National Association. She has been principal clarinet of several Midwestern orchestras, including the Cedar Rapids Symphony.

As a chamber musician she has appeared with the Cleveland Quartet and other ensembles. Her “On The Fence” performance, combining jazz, jazz-influenced compositions and classical works on a single program, was a featured recital at the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium. It was followed by “Over the Fence,” a CD of Brazilian choros she recorded with pianist Rafael Dos Santos, a UI alumnus. She and Dos Santos have recently completed their second CD, “Red Hot and Brazilian,” which is due to be released in the spring of 2001.

She is secretary of the International Clarinet Association. She has appeared by invitation as featured soloist at the 1997 and ‘98 ICA conventions, at ClarFest 99 in Belgium and Clarfest 2000. Most recently she was a featured guest artist at the National Clarinet Symposium of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro and has toured throughout Brazil as a soloist and teacher. She returned to Brazil during the spring semester 2001 for a sabbatical leave, for further study of the Brazilian choro.

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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