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CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
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Release: Immediate

Colorado Quartet's March 12 Hancher concert concludes adventurous Iowa residency

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Colorado Quartet will conclude the most adventurous residency in the history of the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium with a concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 12, as part of the Group 5 Hospitality Chamber Music Series.

For the seven weeks leading up to the concert, the Colorado Quartet has spent alternate weeks in Iowa, participating in reading groups at the Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Lisbon public libraries. The sessions, moderated by Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City, have examined how personal, ethnic, national, racial and religious identities are expressed in literature and music. Particular attention has been paid to the immigrant experience in America.

The March 12 concert program is drawn from works excerpted by the Colorado Quartet during the discussions: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Quartet in D Minor, K. 421; the Quartet No. 4, "Poems," by the contemporary Czech composer Karel Husa, who immigrated to the United States; and the Quartet in E-flat Major by Dvorak, who spent the summer of 1983 with his Czech brethren in Spillville, Iowa.

The Mozart quartet was included in the program because one of the texts studied by the reading groups was the playscript of "Amadeus," by Peter Shaffer. "Amadeus" is principally the story of Mozart's legendary composing rival, Antonio Salieri, a religiously upright man who played by the rules and yet realizes that God has bestowed genius instead on the uncouth free spirit Mozart, but the play also depicts the courtly patronage system under which both Mozart and Salieri worked.

Unlike Beethoven and later composers of the Romantic era, who poured their overt personal identity and passion into their works, Mozart was constrained from blatant self-expression. So Mozart's work, in which insertions of humor and satire become the covert mode of the artist's identity, is a contrast to Dvorak, who openly expressed his personal solidarity with a particular cultural and ethnic tradition through the use of folk music and national themes.

Although Dvorak spent time in the United States, and even wrote music that depicted his experience in Iowa, he returned to his homeland and never was separated from his Czech identity. The experience of his later countryman Husa, however, was much different. Disassociating himself from a repressive regime, Husa immigrated to the United States in the early 1950s and spent his career as a faculty member at Cornell University.

The Colorado Quartet's spring activities complete a seven-week 1997-98 residency coordinated by Hancher Auditorium. Last fall the Colorado Quartet explored the connections between music and spirituality with Wesley United Methodist Church in Muscatine, the Unitarian Universalist Society in Iowa City and Zion Lutheran Church in Iowa City, leading up to a Nov. 3 Hancher concert.

In each of the churches the quartet participated in two evenings of discussion and music, rehearsed with the choir and organist, and performed during the Sunday worship service. The events addressed the ways that composers and performers express their faiths through music and also the power of music to convey spiritual feelings and ideas to listeners.

The Colorado Quartet -- violinists Julie Rosenfield and Deborah Redding, violist Francesca Martin Silos and cellist Diane Chaplin -- has performed in Hancher on several occasions, and the positive experiences the quartet has provided became the basis for this ambitious residency.

The quartet has been at the forefront of the international music scene since winning both the Banff String Quartet Competition and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1983. The Colorado Quartet is known not only for musical integrity, impassioned playing and lyrical finesse, but also for their spontaneous, friendly rapport with audiences.

The Los Angeles Times praised the quartet for "tight, flawlessly balanced ensemble as well as strong individual presences"; the Chicago Sun-Times extolled the quartet's "resonant, impassioned sound that was extraordinary" and the Dallas Morning News concluded, "They are a magnificent, disciplined group whose resonant sound and forceful projection give their performances a generous quotient of drama leavened with lyrical grace."

The Colorado Quartet has performed in more than 20 countries, and recordings of their performances have been released on the Fidelio, Parnassus, Albany and Mode labels.

Tickets for the March 12 concert of the Colorado String Quartet are $25, $23 and $21. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, and Zone 3 tickets are available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price. Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Group 5 Hospitality Management Division of Highlander, Inc. is the corporate sponsor of the Group 5 Hospitality Chamber Music Series through the University of Iowa Foundation. The residency was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fund Arts Partners Program, which is administered by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

2/20/98