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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 16, 2007

Nov. 29 Maia Quartet concert honors the memory of Ruth Becker

The University of Iowa Maia String Quartet will present a concert in memory of Ruth H. Becker at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus. The concert, part of the "Music, Healthcare and Well Being" series presented by the Maia, will be free and open to the public.

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.

"We are honored to present this concert in memory of Ruth Becker," Oakes said. "Her contribution to the Iowa City community was enormous and we are looking forward to this chance to celebrate her life and love of music."

Works on the program will be the String Quartet in F Major, op. 74 no. 2, by Joseph Haydn; "Chrysanthemums" by Giacomo Puccini; "Romance and Scherzo" for string quartet by Sergei Rachmaninoff; and the Quartet in E-flat Major, op. 127, by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Becker was vital force in the Iowa City community and made significant contributions in the areas of healthcare and wellness. She received a nursing degree and taught at Mount Sinai Hospital School of Nursing in New York and then earned bachelors and master's degrees at Columbia University before moving to Iowa City in 1952.

Becker stayed active in Iowa City and helped found the Johnson County Association for Retarded Children, established the first preschool for retarded children and helped conduct preliminary investigations for possible sheltered workshops for handicapped adults that resulted in the Goodwill Industries of Southeast Iowa.

She also helped establish Iowa City's hospice organization, and she was president of the Johnson County Democratic Women's Club in 1967 and 1968. The "Ruth Becker Award" was established in 1991 at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City and is given to nurses who provide the most outstanding care to patients.

Becker, who died in April, 2007, was married for 54 years to Samuel L. Becker, UI distinguished professor emeritus of communication studies.

"Music, Healthcare and Well Being" is a collaboration among the Maia Quartet, the Department of Music Therapy in the School of Music, the UI Holden Cancer Center and other areas of the UI. Focusing on health-related issues including breast cancer awareness, hearing loss, mental health and multiple sclerosis, the series includes concerts by the Maia Quartet as well as lectures and outreach events in the Iowa City community.

Founded in 1990, 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. The quartet has gained wide recognition for its educational outreach activities and its members have shared their love of music with children under the auspices of Young Audiences, Inc., and the Midori Foundation. More information, including photos and bios of the individual members of the quartet, can be found online at

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 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 (office), 319-541-2846 (cell),