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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 28, 2005

Maia Quartet Will Perform Concert With First Violin Candidate Feb. 11

The Maia String Quartet will perform a free concert with guest first violinist Tricia Park and oboist Mark Weiger from the University of Iowa School of Music faculty at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Park is a finalist in the search to fill the first violin chair that was vacated when the group's original first violinist, Amy Appold, left last fall to take a position at the University of Missouri. At least one more candidate for first-violinist chair will play a concert with the quartet during the spring semester, as part of an audition process. Later concerts will be announced as they are scheduled.

The quartet's second violinist, Margaret Soper Gutierrez, said she and the players were very pleased to have Park as a candidate to join the group. "She could easily have a career as a soloist, but her first love is chamber music and she is very excited to come to Iowa City and work with us," Gutierrez said.

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 -- Gutierrez, violist Elizabeth Oakes and cellist Hannah Holman -- are all members of the School of Music faculty.

The program for the Feb. 11 concert will comprise three works: the String Quartet in G major, op. 77 no. 1, by Joseph Haydn; the Quintet for oboe and strings by Arnold Bax, performed with Weiger; and Robert Schumann's String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, op. 41.

During Park's visit, the quartet will also give a family concert at the Dubuque Museum of Art at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, and a concert at the Cedar Rapids Symphony School at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8.

Gutierrez explained the process the quartet has gone through to select its finalists from a large field of highly qualified applicants. "We have been spending hours and hours pouring over cover letters, resumes, letters of recommendation and listening to candidates' CDs," she said. "We have also held many phone interviews with those we are interested in to get a better feel for them as people and musicians.

"The true test will be the finalists' campus visits. For each candidate, the concert in Clapp Recital Hall will be the culmination of a two-week intensive residency, including chamber music and violin master classes, interviews, daily rehearsals and concerts off campus."

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.

But musical factors are not the only considerations in asking a violinist to join an established group like the Maia Quartet. "We will take time for more relaxed socializing with each candidate," Gutierrez said. "It has often been said that a quartet is like a marriage, but unfortunately there's usually not enough time for the 'courting' phase when auditioning a new member in an active, on-going professional quartet.

"We are very appreciative of the support of the School of Music that allows us the time to really get to know each candidate. By the time each one leaves, we will know if the group chemistry clicks and know how well we work together in rehearsal and come together in performance."

But, of course, Park is only the first of several possible candidates. Gutierrez noted, "After she leaves, we will have a few days to take stock and prepare for our next candidate, who will undergo the same exhaustive process -- with a completely different program.

"It should be a very interesting spring for the Maia Quartet!"

Park received bachelor's and master's degrees from the Juilliard School, where she was a student of the late Dorothy DeLay. She received an Avery Fisher Career Grant and has appeared as a soloist with major orchestras throughout the world, including the Seattle, Baltimore, Dallas and Montreal symphonies, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. She has studied and performed chamber music with some of the world's leading teachers and performers, including Felix Galimir, Pinchas Zukerman, Michael Tree, Gary Hoffman and members of the American, Guarneri and Juilliard String Quartets.

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

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