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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 1, 2006

Holman Returns To Solo Performance In Recital With Lecuona Dec. 10

Hannah Holman, cellist of the University of Iowa's Maia String Quartet, will return to solo performance after a two-year hiatus, playing a recital with pianist Rene Lecuona at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Both Holman and Lecuona are on the faculty of the UI School of Music. Their recital will be free and open to the public.

"I am so excited to be playing a recital again," Holman said. "The last one I played was before my son, Matisse, was born and that was two years ago now! And I love our program."

Holman and Lecuona will play two major sonatas for cello and piano, as well as a group of shorter pieces:

-- The recital will open with the Sonata in A minor, known as the "Arpeggione Sonata," by Franz Schubert.

-- The five shorter pieces will be the "Serenade" and "Melodie" by Frank Bridge; "Serenade" by Gabriel Faure; "Louange a l'Eternite de Jesus" (Praise to the eternity of Jesus), a movement for cello and piano from "The Quartet for the End of Time" by Oliver Messiaen; and "Polonaise de Concert" by David Popper.

-- Closing the concert will be the second major concert work, the Sonata for cello and piano by Sergei Prokoviev.

Schubert's sonata occupies a unique place in the cello repertoire, as it was originally written for an otherwise forgotten instrument, the arpeggione. Invented in Vienna in 1824, it was a hybrid string instrument, a bass viol with guitar-like metal frets embedded in the arched fingerboard and with six strings tuned like a guitar. It had a guitar-shaped body but was played like the cello.

Schubert wrote his sonata for the arpeggione in November of 1824 for Vincenz Schuster, who was probably the only professional arpeggione player. Although the playing technique is necessarily different, due to the different arrangement of strings, the modern cello can play the Sonata essentially as Schubert wrote it, and as a recital piece for cellists the piece has remained popular with both performers and audiences.

Holman noted that because of the sonata's origin, it is "usually a very hard and scary piece for the cello. In this case, though, Rene has the most wonderful sound and approach for Schubert. Playing with her has put me at ease."

Holman continued, "I have loved unearthing the little pieces for the middle of the program. Several of them were from the library of my former teacher and were out of print. After a bit of research I see that they are available now, but I have hardly ever heard any of them performed before. Several of them are dedicated to different cellists, and I have enjoyed thinking about how much influence and inspiration performers have on composers."

"The final piece is one of the great cello sonatas written for yet another famous cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich. It has some of the most gorgeous melodies, and some very impressive technical passages for both instruments."

Prokofiev wrote the Cello Sonata in 1949, at a time when he was suffering from both declining health and denunciations from the Soviet musical establishment. The sonata was given its world premiere by Rostropovich -- then only 22 years old and not yet world famous-- with the great Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter. Due to the Stalinist artistic censorship, they had to play the sonata twice -- once for the members of the Composers' Union and again for the State Arts Committee -- before they were allowed an official world premiere on March 1, 1950.

Founded in1990, the Maia Quartet has been quartet-in-residence at the UI School of Music since 1998. Holman joined the quartet, and the UI faculty, in 2002. She has performed extensively as soloist, chamber musician and orchestra cellist, including principal cello with the Cedar Rapids Symphony. She has an active solo career, performing with orchestras in Michigan, Virginia, Georgia and Iowa. For more information, see

Since joining the UI faculty in1990, Lecuona has performed solo and chamber music throughout the United States and South America, in Mexico and in the Caribbean. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in Weill Recital Hall in 1993 with her UI faculty colleague mezzo-soprano Katherine Eberle and has also performed in the Goodman Hall at Lincoln Center with soprano Rachel Joselson, also from the UI faculty. For more:

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at

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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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