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University of Iowa News Release

Release: March 28, 2003

Alumna Hadjimarkos Will Give Clavichord Recitals At UI April 13

University of Iowa alumna Marcia Hadjimarkos, hailed as a "jewel" among early-keyboard performers in the European press, will give a recital on the clavichord at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday April 13 in the Krapf Organ Studio of the UI Voxman Music Building.

The performances, sponsored by the organ area of the UI School of Music and the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society, will be free and open to the public.

Hadjimarkos will play the same program at both times. Because the Krapf Studio is a small space, with fewer than 50 seats for the audience, performances there are often presented twice.

The program will feature works by a variety of 18th-century composers, representing a cross section of European nationalities and musical styles. She will play:
--a Sonatina by Muzio Clementi an Italian who lived in London and toured Europe as a keyboard virtuoso and composer;
--three Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, an Italian who spent most of his career in service to the courts of Portugal and Spain;
--a Sonata by Carl Philip Emanuel Bach, one of the sons of J.S. Bach who was employed by Frederick the Great of Prussia and later by the city of Hamburg;
--the Sonata in C major of Joseph Haydn, who worked for the aristocratic Austro-Hungarian Esterhazy family; and
--a Fantasy and two Rondos by W.A. Mozart, who pursued a career as an independent virtuoso and composer in Vienna.

Less well known than the harpsichord, the clavichord was used primarily in the 16th through 18th centuries as a practice instrument. Because its sound was relatively soft, it was not suitable for public performance in the concert hall. However, it has expressive capabilities that made it a very attractive instrument for composers of the late 18th century who sought new emotional effects in what became known as the "sensitive style" of composition and performance.

The clavichord's sound is produced by metal tangents striking the strings. As on the piano, the force with which the keys are hit determines the loudness of the sound, but on the clavichord the tangent does not rebound, as does the hammer on the piano. Instead, it remains in contact with the string, so that by altering the pressure on the key after the initial attack the player may produce a variety of expressive effects including vibrato and glissando. Although the overall sound is quite soft, the range of volume allows for considerable expression.

Hadjimarkos, an Oregon native, received degrees in piano performance and French literature from the UI. She has been devoted to the early piano and the clavichord since the 1980s, and has played for music festivals across Europe. She is recognized as a clavichord specialist of international standing, and receives frequent invitations to present the clavichord at specialized gatherings. Her recording of Haydn Sonatas on the clavichord received France's top classical music award, the Diapason d'Or, in 1999.

Jean-Marie Piel wrote for editor of Diapason magazine, "Hadjimarkos reveals in her staggering variety of touches, timbres and nuances, the magical combination that allows unexpected eloquence to spring from the text. What a rarity! What a jewel!"

In 1995 Hadjimarkos gave the first European performance of the complete Haydn keyboard sonatas in a series of eight recitals, playing on five historic keyboard instruments. Her collaboration with Gabriel Woolf resulted in "The Intimate Mozart," a program of fortepiano and clavichord music paired with readings from the Mozart family letters, which toured England and Scotland. She performs chamber music with a variety of artists, was the fortepiano accompanist at the Music Conservatory in Lyon for several years, and has given master classes at conservatories across Europe.

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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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