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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 9, 2006

UI Maia String Quartet Welcomes Renowned Pianist Andre-Michel Schub Feb. 25

The University of Iowa's Maia String Quartet will team up with world renowned pianist Andre-Michel Schub for a performance of Dvorak's Quintet in A major for piano and strings, op. 81, on their next campus concert, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 in Clapp Recital Hall.

The concert will be free and open to the public.

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.

In addition to performing the Dvorak Quintet with Schub, the Maia Quartet will also perform two works from the string quartet repertoire on the Feb. 25 concert: Mozart's String Quartet in F major, K590, and the String Quartet No. 2, "The Kreutzer Sonata," by Leos Janacek.

The quartet's connection with Schub came though Park, who joined the group as first violinist last summer. "Just a few short summers ago, Mr. Schub coached me at the Young Artists program at La Jolla SummerFest," Park said.

"When I joined the Maias, he kindly and enthusiastically agreed to come to Iowa and perform with us and do master classes for our students. We are thrilled to have an artist of his caliber join us for this special concert and share his knowledge with our students."

Park said the program for the concert was chosen both to pay tribute to Mozart during the world-wide celebration of the 250th anniversary of his birth, and to acknowledge the special connection between Iowa and the Czech people, many of whom settled Iowa in the 19th century.

Park also pointed out that the two themes are related: Along with Salzburg, where he was born, and Vienna, where he lived for the last 10 years of his life, Prague was one of the most important cities in Mozart's professional life. "His operas triumphed in Prague where his work was played to packed houses," she noted. "He fell in love with Prague, claiming that 'The Prague people understand me'."

Mozart composed the String Quartet in F Major, K590, in 1790, one year before his death. It is the last of his 10 quartets written after his move to Vienna, as well as the last of his three quartets dedicated to the King of Prussia.

Janacek was a Czech nationalist and of Moravian decent. He wrote the first of his two string quartets in 1923. Written in eight days, the quartet was inspired by the Tolstoy novella "The Kreutzer Sonata," a story of jealousy, betrayal and murder in a failing marriage. It is not a strictly programmatic work but a reflection of the impassioned and dark mood of the story.

Dvorak spent the summer of 1893 in Spillville, a small Czech settlement in northeastern Iowa. The summer was a relaxing and idyllic time for the composer, who enjoyed wandering through the quiet Iowa countryside and along the Turkey River outside Spillville. Recapturing the pleasure he had at home visiting the Czech countryside, Dvorak wrote two of his most charming and beautiful pieces of chamber music in Spillville, a string quartet and a string quintet, both known by the name "American."

The Piano Quintet in A major was written at another of Dvorak's favorite places, his summer home in the Czech countryside outside Prague. As in the American works, the serenity of the country surroundings seem to have inspired the composer to write a work of lyrical melodies, warm, radiant sonorities and sunny optimism.

Schub has been described by the New York Times as "a formidable pianist with a fierce integrity." One of the most active chamber musicians in the world, he will appear this season with the Miro Quartet, at Chamber Music International with violinist Cho-Liang Lin and cellist Gary Hoffman, and on national and international tours with violinist Ani Kavafian and clarinetist David Shifrin. Last season he performed with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and at SummerFest La Jolla.

Born in France, Schub came to the United States with his family when he was eight months old. He first attended Princeton University and then transferred to the Curtis Institute, where he studied with famed pianist Rudolf Serkin. He was the 1981 grand prize winner of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, 1977 recipient of the Avery Fisher Recital Award, and 1974 winner of the Naumberg International Piano Competition.

Schub has performed with the world's most prominent orchestras, among them the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics, the Detroit Symphony, the Royal Concertgebouw and the Bournemouth Symphony. Since 1997 he has been artistic director of the Virginia Waterfront International Arts Festival, planning its chamber music programming and performing on a number of programs each year. His recordings, for Vox Cum laude and CBS Masterworks (now SONY Classical) labels include works of Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, and Stravinsky.

Founded in 1990, the Maia Quartet has established itself nationally with performances in major concert halls including Alice Tully Hall and the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre in Washington, D.C., and Harris Hall at the Aspen Music Festival. In 1999 they gave a concert at the German Embassy in Washington, in honor of the Czech Republic's entry into NATO. 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. Prior to coming to Iowa, they also taught on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory.

The quartet has gained wide recognition for its educational outreach activities. It has participated in a three-year project in partnership with the Aspen Music Festival under a grant from the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Foundation aimed at building adult audiences. The members of the quartet have shared their love of music with children under the auspices of Young Audiences, Inc., and the Midori Foundation, and they have given performances for families with children at Lincoln Center and the U.N. School in New York.

The Maia Quartet was founded when the four original members were students at the Cleveland Institute of Music. They were subsequently awarded fellowships at the Peabody Conservatory and the Juilliard School, where they worked closely with the Juilliard Quartet and served as their teaching assistants.

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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