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Release: Oct. 20, 2000

Maia Quartet’s cellist steps out of role to play duets, trio Oct. 30

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Amos Yang, the energetic cellist of the Maia String Quartet, is showing up on a lot of programs at the University of Iowa School of Music this year -- with the quartet, as soloist, and in a variety of combinations with faculty and guests. Next, he will step out of his role in the UI resident string quartet to play duets and trios with violinist Alicia Yang, violist Christine Rutledge and pianist Heidi Williams at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30 in Clapp Recital Hall.

After that concert -- which will be free and open to the public -- Yang will be heard in a Mozart duo with bassonist Benjamin Coelho Nov. 1; playing Bach with violinist Leopold La Fosse Nov. 5 and 12; playing a solo cello recital Dec. 7; playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the University Symphony Feb. 7; playing a recital with pianist Uriel Tsachor March 19; appearing with guest cellist Paul Katz March 26; and of course, showing up for the remaining dates on the Maia Quartet concert series, Feb. 23 and May 7.

And all of that is in addition to his duties teaching cello at the UI School of Music!

To start this remarkable series of appearances, the Oct. 30 concert will feature three different combinations of instruments, all of them including Yang and his wife, violinist Alicia Yang. Appearing together for the first time since getting married earlier this year, the Yangs will play the Ravel Duo for violin and cello; with Rutledge they will perform the Beethoven String Trio in G major, op. 9 no. 1; and with Williams, they will play the Brahms Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, op. 8.

The history of the string trio in the 18th century is closely related to that of the serenade -- light, cheerful music intended for outdoor performance or as background for social occasions. Nevertheless, when Beethoven wrote his Three String Trios, op. 9, in 1796-97, he produced something far more serious. All three trios are in the four-movement form associated with the symphony, string quartet, and other significant works, and the quality of writing puts them on a par with Beethoven’s first set of string quartets, written soon after.

Brahms’ Piano Trio in B major is both an early and a late work. Written in 1854, when the composer was 21, it was originally a large, extravagant work, with no fewer than five complete themes in the first movement alone. Much later, Brahms decided to revise the trio for a second edition and ended up completely rewriting the piece from beginning to end. Even in this "condensed" version it is a monumental work, laid out on a generous scale.

The newest member of the Maia Quartet, Yang joined the group in 1996 after playing with the Deutsche Kammerakademie (German Academy of Chamber Music) in Dusseldorf and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He has won first prize in the Grace Vamos Cello Competition and the American String Teacher’s Association Cello Competition and was a finalist in the Pierre

Fournier Cello Competition. He has performed a wide range of concertos and played chamber music with the Ying Quartet, pianist Ann Schein and violinists Perrin Yang and Earl Carlyss.

Yang holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School. He also studied at the Eastman School of Music and in London, England, under a grant from the Beebe Foundation. He attended the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he received the CD Jackson Award for outstanding contribution to the festival in 1994.

Chinese-American violinist Alicia Yang began violin studies at the age of four. Earlier this year she was a featured soloist with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and she has performed with the Kennedy Center Opera and the Baltimore Opera. She has been a member of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon in Valladolid, Spain, playing chamber music and orchestral concerts throughout southern Europe.A versatile performer of music from the contemporary to the Baroque, she has made two recordings of 20th-century string quartets and performs frequently on the baroque violin, including appearances with the Smithsonian Chamber Players and the Washington Bach Consort. Each summer she joins the Carmel California Bach Festival for recitals and orchestral concerts. She is currently a UI doctoral candidate studying with Annette-Barbara Vogel. She has received the Iowa Performance Fellowship and the Pelzer Foundation Fellowship. In addition to her studies at the UI, she enjoys teaching at the Preucil School of Music.

Rutledge joined the UI faculty in 1998. She had previously been a faculty member at Notre Dame University, where she played with the Notre Dame String Trio. She is a graduate of the UI, where she studied with William Preucil. She has appeared as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player throughout the United States and abroad. She performs as a member of the Fontana Chamber Music Festival ensemble. Her performances and recordings with the Notre Dame String Trio have earned glowing reviews from The Strad, Fanfare and other music publications.

Rutledge is the former assistant principal viola of the Louisville Orchestra and violist of the Ceruti Chamber Players and the Kentucky Center Chamber Players. She is a graduate of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and the Interlochen Arts Academy, where she was valedictorian of her class and recipient of the Young Artist Award.

Winner of the 2000 St. Louis Artist Presentation Society Auditions, pianist Heidi Louise Williams is the newest member of the piano faculty at the Southern Illinois University School of Music in Carbondale. Williams has appeared in solo and chamber music performances across the United States and in France, and has won the La Gesse Foundation Piano Fellowship, the Baltimore Music Club Competition, the W. Frederick Schadd Award at the Carmel National Chamber Music Competition, the Chicago Musical Arts Competition, and the Peabody Sidney M. Friedberg Prize.

Her professional engagements have included a performance in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, a debut as soloist with the Oregon Symphony, and a recital of Polish music given in honor of Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski sponsored by the Walters Art Gallery and the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu>.