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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 29, 2008

Photo: Helen Callus will be a guest with the Maia Quartet

Guest violist performs with UI Maia String Quartet March 12

Hellen Callus, violist on the faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara, will join the University of Iowa's Maia String Quartet for a performance of Felix Mendelssohn's Viola Quintet in B-flat major as part of a free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, in Clapp Recital Hall.

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.

Other works on the March 12 concert will be for string quartet: Beethoven's Quartet in C minor, op. 18 no. 4; and William Walton's Quartet in A minor.

"Helen Callus is a dear friend of the quartet's violist, Beth Oakes," Park, the quartet's first violinist, said. "As such, and because of her tremendous musicianship, we are thrilled to have this opportunity to perform with her.

"The Beethoven quartet was chosen for this concert to continue our learning of all the great Beethoven quartets. Although C minor is a favorite 'dark' key of Beethoven, this quartet is ultimately a joyful work, filled with drama and quick-fire changes.

"We chose the Walton in part because our cellist, Hannah Holman, has had a longstanding request for the Maias to play some British music. It seemed appropriate to program it on this program, as a sort of nod to Helen's British background as well. The Walton is also a work of high drama with lush harmonies and melodies.

"Mendelssohn's B-flat viola quintet is exuberant and bubbly. All in all, this is an ebullient and lively program that the whole audience will be sure to enjoy."

Callus was described by the Seattle Times as "a player with impeccable sensibilities and a beautiful sound, infinitely malleable into all kinds of musical subtleties." She has performed as recitalist, chamber music collaborator and concerto soloist in Russia, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and extensively throughout the United States.

In addition to her faculty position at the University of California, Santa Barbara, she is artistic director of the Centrum Chamber Music Festival situated on the Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend just north of Seattle. She is also president of the American Viola Society and the winner of several major competitions. For more information visit

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. 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 at

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: (Maia Quartet) and (Helen Callus).