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University of Iowa News Release


April 6, 2007

Maia Quartet And Friends Perform At UI April 19

The members of the University of Iowa's Maia String Quartet will celebrate their connections with several of their fellow artists in "Maia Quartet and Friends," a free concert that will be presented for their friends in the audience at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Iowa City's Jody Hovland will join the quartet as narrator in a performance of Pierre Jalbert's String Quartet No. 3, premiered by Hovland and the quartet earlier this year; and Rachel Matthews, a pianist from the Pacific Northwest, will perform with the quartet for Brahms' Quintet in F minor, op. 34.

The Maia Quartet will also perform Franz Schubert's String Quartet in B-flat major, D112.

The resident string quartet at the UI School of Music since 1998, the Maia Quartet participates in 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 quartet has had a connection with Jalbert since they premiered his First String Quartet at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. In fact, the connection dates back even further, to a friendship between Jalbert and Oakes when they were both students at the Oberlin Conservatory.

The Third String Quartet was commissioned by the Maia Quartet, the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Music for the quartet's Scandinavian/Nordic Fest, presented in February. The score is based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairly tale "Thumbelina" -- which is also the source of the quartet's name, as the main character is renamed Maia at the end of the story. It is written so that it can be performed as a children's piece, with the story accompanied by music, or as a concert piece in three movements, with or without the narration.

The composer wrote: "The first movement is a short prelude based upon the initials H.C.A., which in musical terms become the notes B natural, C, and A. The second movement is the longest and most substantial. Written as a series of uninterrupted scenes inspired by Andersen, it is a scherzo in 15 scenes. The third movement serves as a short finale, thus framing the second movement."

The Maia Quartet's connection with Matthews is also through Oakes, who noted: "Rachel and I met when we were students at the Oberlin Conservatory. Since then we have collaborated on many, many occasions and co-founded and served as artistic directors of the Foothills Music Festival in North Carolina for nine years."

More recently, Matthews -- who is also a respected composer -- received a commission from the Jerome Foundation through the American Composers Forum, to write a piano quintet that she and the Maia Quartet will premiere in St. Paul, Minn., and Iowa City in the 2007-08 season

Currently a member of the faculty at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Jalbert has received numerous awards for his compositions, including the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Society of Composer's Award and the Bearns Prize in Composition. He recently received the Elise L. Stoeger Prize for Composition, a $25,000 cash award given every two years by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in recognition of significant contributions to the chamber music repertory.

His compositions have been performed throughout the United States and abroad. For more information, see:

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. More information, including photos and bios of the individual members of the quartet, can be found online at

Hovland is co-founder and co-artistic director of Riverside Theatre, Iowa City's resident professional company. An alumna of the UI Department of Theatre Arts, she has appeared at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution, with Karamu House Performing Arts Theatre in Cleveland, and as a guest artist with Iowa Summer Rep and the University of North Dakota.

She has often been seen in productions of Riverside Theatre, including the summer Shakespeare Festival performances. She has toured in the one-woman productions "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" and "First Lady Lou" and appeared as Nurse in "Romeo and Juliet," Dogberry in "Much Ado About Nothing," Linda Loman in "Death of a Salesman" and Gertie in "Fuddy Meers." Recent directing work includes "The Lonesome West," "Our Town" and "The Laramie Project."

Matthews has performed widely across the United States, Canada and Europe, with performances at the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., and on the Accueil Musical series in Paris. Increasingly active as a composer, Matthews has composed music for solo piano, songs, string quartet and various other chamber media.

She served for nine years as co-Artistic Director of the Foothills Chamber Music Festival in North Carolina, presenting chamber music performances each summer with principal players of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and other major American ensembles. She is founder and artistic director of City Music in Seattle, a chamber music and recital series that donates 100 percent of single ticket sales to a variety of environmental, social and educational nonprofit organizations.

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

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

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; cell: 319-541-2846;

PHOTOS of the Maia Quartet are available at