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University of Iowa News Release

Release: March 5, 2003

(Photo: Ayke Agus)

UI To Host Events By Violinist And Pianist Ayke Agus

The University of Iowa Office of the Associate Provost for Health Sciences, with the Center on Aging, Aging Studies Program, and School of Music, will host a series of lectures and master classes by Ayke Agus, visiting musician, author and former caregiver to renowned violinist Jascha Heifetz.

Agus will give a lecture, titled "A Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man," and piano performance from noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 24 in the UI Hospitals and Clinics atrium, located on the first floor of the General Hospital near elevator F. The event is offered in conjunction with the Spring 2003 Colloquium Series on Aging through the Aging Studies Program.

Agus will also present three public events in the UI School of Music. She will present a lecture on Heifetz at 8 p.m. Monday, March 24 in Harper Hall of the UI Voxman Music Building; a chamber music master class at 12:30 pm. Tuesday, March 25, in Harper Hall; and a violin master class at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, also in Harper Hall.

All the events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Trish Bonica at the UI Center on Aging at (319) 335-7731 or via e-mail at

Regarded by many as the greatest violinist of the 20th century, Heifetz retired from the concert stage while still at his peak in his early 60s. He continued teaching into his 70s and lived well into his 80s.

Agus was born in Indonesia of Dutch, Chinese and Javanese ancestry. She began piano and violin studies at an early age and remembers listening to recordings by Heifetz from her infancy. She performed concerts throughout Indonesia as a violin prodigy before coming to the United States on a violin scholarship and seeking her hero. In the early 1960s, Agus auditioned successfully for Heifetz's class. She then served successively as his studio pianist, troubleshooter, social secretary, chauffeur, chef, bartender, hostess and house sitter until his death in 1987. Agus continues to play both violin and piano and performs with several orchestras. She has recorded several compact discs of Heifetz's transcriptions.

Her memoir, "Heifetz as I Knew Him," published in 2001, is Agus' account of 20 years with the famed violinist.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT(S): David Pedersen, (319) 335-8032, Program: Trish Bonica, (319) 335-7731,