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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 18, 2005

Tran Ngoc, Second First-Violin Candidate, To Play With Maia Quartet

The Maia String Quartet will continue its current search for a new first violinist with a free concert, performed with guest violinist Stephane Tran Ngoc and pianist Uriel Tsachor from the University of Iowa School of Music faculty, at 8 p.m. Friday, March 4 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Tran Ngoc is a finalist in the search to fill the first violin chair that was vacated when the original first violinist, Amy Appold, left the group last fall. He is the second candidate for the job to visit the UI campus for an audition with the quartet. Tricia Park spent two weeks with the members of the quartet in early February, including a free public concert in Clapp Recital Hall Feb. 11.

The resident string quartet at the UI School of Music since 1998, the Maia Quartet plays a series of chamber music concerts on campus each year. Its continuing members -- Margaret Soper Gutierrez, violist Elizabeth Oakes and cellist Hannah Holman -- are all members of the School of Music faculty.

The program on March 4 will comprise three works: Mozart's String Quartet in B-flat major, K589, which was chosen by Tran Ngoc; Johannes Brahms' Quintet in F minor for piano and strings, with Tsachor; and Dmitri Shostakovich's Fourth String Quartet, which was chosen for the audition performance by members of the quartet.

"For the finalists' visits to campus, we wanted to choose programs that would span different musical periods and styles so as to plumb the depths of each candidate's musical range and flexibility," Gutierrez said.

During Tran Ngoc's visit, the quartet will also perform for middle and high school students in Indianola and for orchestra students at City High School in Iowa City.

"For his residency here at the UI, we will be doing the same things we've just done with our first candidate," Gutierrez explained. "Tran Ngoc will rehearse intensely with the quartet, give observed lessons, chamber music coachings and master classes, and have several interviews with different committee members. And as before, our time together will culminate in a Clapp Hall concert."

Gutierrez explained that the candidates were chosen from a large field of highly qualified applicants. "We spent hours and hours with cover letters, resumes, letters of recommendation and CDs," she said. "But we wanted the campus visit to be the true test for the finalists. For each candidate, the concert in Clapp Recital Hall represents the culmination of a very intensive residency."

Gutierrez noted that the public had a unique opportunity to witness the process, by hearing how different the quartet sounds with each candidate and how their style and approach might change from one concert to another.

Paris born violinist Stephane Tran Ngoc won the Grand Prix and Special Audience Prize in the 1990 Long-Thibaud Internatitional Competition and received awards in the Lipizer International Violin Competition, the Paganini Competition, at the Aspen Music Festival and in Artists International Auditions. He has performed in more than 30 countries around the globe, including performances at in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York; Paris' Salle Gaveau, Salle Pleyel and Theatre du Champs-Elysees; Tokyo's Suntori Hall; and Beijing's National Concert Hall. He has performed as soloist with the Radio-France Philharmonic, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, the Paris Ensemble Orchestra and in the Shinsei Symphony Orchestra in Japan.

Among his recordings are the world premiere of Serge Nigg's Sonata for violin and piano, which won the 1996 Grand Prix du Disque, the sonatas Eugene Ysaye, a CD dedicated to Ravel, the Brahms Horn Trio and the Schumann sonatas with American pianist Brian Ganz.

Tran Ngoc received a degree from the Paris National Superior Conservatoire, where he graduated at 15 with first prize in violin and chamber music. He later came to the United States on a Fulbright Fellowship to study with Itzhak Perlman and Masao Kawasaki at Brooklyn College's Conservatory of Music. He also studied with the legendary teacher Dorothy Delay at the Juilliard School.

Tran Ngoc was a violin teacher at the Conservatoire National Superiore de Musique de Lyon in France for several years before accepting a position at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in 2001. He has also been chosen as a jury member in several international competitions.

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 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 School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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