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University of Iowa News Release

July 14, 2003

Iowa City Native Margaret Soper Gutierrez Will Join Maia String Quartet

Iowa City native Margaret Soper Gutierrez has been selected to join the University of Iowa School of Music's resident string quartet, the Maia Quartet, starting in the fall. The quartet's first performance with Gutierrez will be a concert in Clapp Recital Hall on Thursday, Oct. 16.

Gutierrez was selected to replace second violinist Timothy Shiu, who left the quartet at the conclusion of the spring semester. She was selected after an extensive series of auditions. More than 20 violinists applied for the position, and four were invited to hold two-day auditions and rehearsals with the other members of the quartet -- first violinist Amy Appold, violist Elizabeth Oakes and cellist Hannah Holman.

"Each person was auditioning us as much as we were auditioning them," Appold said. "The whole pool of applicants was very highly qualified -- it was a challenge to sift through the applications, they were so good. They all came with strong resumes, taped performances and recommendations. Every one of the applicants was really looking to play in string quartet, which is something we really value in a member.

"We auditioned the four finalists on playing, on teaching and on rehearsing with the quartet, and Margaret was head and shoulders above the others in every respect. She was a great fit with the rest of the group -- she really seemed to connect with us. The other thing that I was struck with was the obvious joy she had -- not just for music, but for chamber music and for the second violin role in the quartet. She found things in her part that I had never heard before."

Kristin Thelander, director of the School of Music, commented, "We are thrilled to have not only a great violinist in the quartet, but someone who is committed to the group, to Iowa City and to the School of Music. Margaret will be a great addition to our faculty, and I look forward to hearing her play as a member of the Maia Quartet for many years."

The daughter of Robert T. Soper, UI professor emeritus of surgery, and Helene Soper of Iowa City, Gutierrez is a graduate of West High School, where she played in the orchestra. She studied violin with Sonja Zeithamel and Doris Preucil at the Preucil School of Music and participated in the Iowa All-State Orchestra as well as the UI All-State Music Camp.

She subsequently received a bachelor's degree in music from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. and master's from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She taught one year on the Preucil School faculty and has also taught at the Portland (Maine) Conservatory of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Point Counterpoint Chamber Music Camp in Vermont.

Gutierrez has performed and toured with the Baltimore Symphony and the National Symphony. She was concertmaster of the Baltimore Opera Orchestra and the Washington Bach consort, as well as principal second violin with the Washington Chamber Symphony. Her chamber music experience goes back to fourth grade, when she first played in an established string quartet.

She was a member of the Vanadium Quartet at the Point Counterpoint Chamber Music Camp and the National Gallery String Quartet in Washington, D.C. She has performed at several chamber music festivals in the United States and taught master classes at the Austin (Tex.) Chamber Music Center.

Gutierrez said, "I am thrilled and honored to be returning to my home town and to the university that has played such a huge role in my life, and in my family's life.

"I was a student at the Cleveland Institute with all the other members of the original Maia Quartet, and I studied with the same violin teacher as their other violinists. Donald Weilerstein was a founding member of the Cleveland Quartet and he passed down a particularly beautiful tone quality and musical sensitivity to all of his students. Since Amy and I share that legacy, it was just as if we had been playing together for a long time. It was a perfect fit from the very first notes."

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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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

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