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University of Iowa News Release

May 18, 2006

UI Maia Quartet Receives $10,000 Grant From Chamber Music America

The University of Iowa's Maia Quartet has received a grant of $10,000 from Chamber Music America (CMA), the national service organization for the ensemble music profession, to conduct an extended residency in the Western Iowa community of Elk Horn and surrounding towns during the 2006-07 academic year.

The project, which will include performances of music by Scandinavian composers, has been organized in close collaboration with the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn and its director, John Mark Nielsen.

The resident string quartet at the UI School of Music since 1998, the Maia Quartet presents a series of chamber music concerts on campus each year. Its members -- violinists Tricia Park and Zoran Jakovcic, violist Elizabeth Oakes and cellist Hannah Holman -- are all members of the School of Music faculty.

The Elk Horn residency grew out of a planned festival of Scandinavian/Nordic music that the Maia Quartet will coordinate on the UI campus and in the Iowa City community in February 2007. As part of the festival, the quartet will perform works by both famous and less-known composers, and they will collaborate with other UI faculty members on interdisciplinary projects.

The largest rural Danish settlement in the United States, Elk Horn is a natural locale for the outreach program. The project aims to reach not only the 649 residents of Elk Horn, but also its rural neighbors who share Elk Horn's Danish heritage.

These rural communities have limited access to classical music. It is the hope of all participants in the project to show that chamber music is relevant to them and their community, and to spark a real interest in classical music in general and in the Maia Quartet more specifically.

The Maia Quartet will make three visits to Elk Horn, each culminating in a performance. During the first visit, the quartet will visit four elementary schools near Elk Horn. These schools have strong ties to the Danish community and very little exposure to classical music. During these programs the quartet will introduce the students to chamber music in a program that integrates the music of Danish composers with the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen.

Students will be encouraged to bring their parents to a concert designed for families the following day at the Elk Horn Lutheran Church. The program will be appropriate for children of all ages and will also provide an opportunity to meet the parents and to inform them of upcoming programs. This trip will also include a visit to the Salem Lutheran Home, a senior center facility that is the largest employer in Elk Horn.

The second visit of the Quartet will include a performance at the nearby hospital in Harlan. Both the second and third visits will include hour-long lecture-demonstration programs that include lecture, performance of movements and discussion with the audience. These programs will be geared to a rural population that is new to chamber music.

The second and third visits will culminate in concerts with commentary, one at Grand View College in Des Moines and the other at Dana College in Blair, Neb., schools with strong Danish-Lutheran heritage. The programs for these concerts will include performances of complete works by the Danish composers featured in the preceding lecture-demonstrations.

As a result of the grant, the Maia Quartet will be featured with other recipients in a photo spread in Chamber Music, CMA's monthly publication, and the group is automatically invited to present at the CMA national conference in 2008.

Founded in 1990 at the Cleveland Institute of Music, 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.

Throughout its history, the quartet has had an active performing schedule and has been committed to outreach. It has collaborated with Young Audiences, the Midori Foundation and Arts Excel. This season's engagements include performances in Chicago with clarinetist John Bruce Yeh; in Leonia, N.J. with Cynthia Phelps and Ron Thomas; and in New York City at the 92nd St. Y.

Chamber Music America, the national service organization for the ensemble music profession, was founded in 1977 to promote artistic excellence and the economic stability of the field, and to ensure that chamber music, in its broadest sense, is a vital part of American life.

With a membership of over 8,000, including musicians, ensembles, presenters, artists' managers, educators, music businesses and advocates of ensemble music, CMA welcomes and represents a wide range of musical styles and traditions. In addition to its funding programs, CMA provides its members with consulting services, access to health and instrument insurance, conferences, seminars and several publications including the bi-monthly magazine, Chamber Music, and Web site: www.chamber-music.org.

You can learn more about Elk Horn at www.elkhorniowa.com/index.html. The Danish Immigrant Museum's Web page is http://dkmuseum.org/.

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

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072, peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.