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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 25, 2005

Krosnick, Cellist With Juilliard Quartet, Returns For Feb. 11 Concert

Cellist Joel Krosnick, a former faculty member of the University of Iowa School of Music and for more than 30 years a member of the highly esteemed Juilliard String Quartet, will return to Iowa City for a concert/reunion with a former colleague, violist William Preucil, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, in the Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City.

The concert, "String Spectacular," will also feature in the UI-based Maia String Quartet. While in Iowa City, Krosnick will also teach a master class for cello students in the School of Music.

Krosnick's program for the first half of the concert will include two works for solo cello by American composers, Donald Martino's "Parisonatina Al'Dodecafonia" (1964) and Ralph Shapey's "Krosnick Soli" (1983).

The second half of the concert will feature a single work, Brahms' Sextet in G major for strings, op. 36, performed by Krosnick with Preucil and the Maia Quartet.

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.

Both of the American works on Krosnick's program are genuine virtuoso showpieces, having been written for outstanding solo cellists: Martino's "Parisonatina Al'Dodecafonia" for Aldo Parisot and Shapey's "Krosnick Soli" of course for Krosnick.

Often described as a "radical traditionalist," Shapey was a fiercely independent and uncompromising composer who once withdrew his works from all publication and performance. As a professor at the University of Chicago during the 1960, '70s and '80s, he influenced many younger composers.

Composed in 1983, "Krosnick Soli" makes use of one of Shapey's favorite techniques, the retuning of the cello's lowest string down from C to A, lending the piece an unusually somber and dark sound. It was given its first performance by Krosnik at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York on Oct. 22, 1985.

One of two works Brahms wrote for the rich sound of six stringed instruments, the Sextet in G major, op. 36, is associated with the composer's aborted engagement with Agathe von Siebold, the daughter of a university professor. This is one of several events that suggest Brahms was unable to commit himself in a relationship: just when marriage seemed certain, he wrote to Agathe that that he was not prepared to "wear fetters." Understandably angry, Agathe broke off the engagement and refused to see him again.

The musical connection with Agathe is found in the second theme of the Sextet's first movement, which uses both the letters -- transferred to musical notes -- and the spoken rhythm of her name. This movement was composed during the summer 1864 -- five years after his rejection of Agathe! The rhythm recurs in the second movement, which, together with the third, makes use of material that Brahms had written 10 years earlier. The finale, alternating lively and more relaxed passages, was added in 1865. With the completion of the Sextet, Brahms wrote, he had "said farewell" to Agathe.

Krosnick was born in Connecticut to a family of enthusiastic amateur musicians: his mother was a pianist, his father a violinist/doctor. By the time he was 12 he had played most of the Classical and Romantic piano trio literature with his mother and violinist brother, Aaron Krosnick.

Krosnick has been cellist of the Juilliard String Quartet since 1974. With pianist Gilbert Kalish, his sonata partner of more than 20 years, he performs annual recitals at the Merkin and Weill Halls in New York, and has recorded much of the sonata repertoire including the complete Beethoven sonatas and variations and works by Poulenc, Prokofiev, Carter, Debussy, Janacek, Shapey, Cowell and Hindemith.

While still a student at Columbia University Krosnick began his lifelong commitment to contemporary music. He has performed and premiered many new works including Donald Martino's Cello Concerto, Richard Wernick's Cello Concerto No. 2 and several works by Ralph Shapey.

Appointed to the faculty of the Juilliard School in 1974, Krosnick has been chair of the cello department since 1994. He has been associated with the Aspen and Marlboro music festivals, the Tanglewood Music Center, Yellow Barn and Kneisel Hall in Maine. Krosnick holds honorary doctoral degrees from Michigan State University, Jacksonville University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As a member of the Juilliard String Quartet, he has received numerous Grammy nominations, twice winning the Grammy Award.

Preucil taught on the UI music faculty for more than 35 years, from 1958 until his retirement in 1997. He served as violist for the Stradivari Quartet at the UI and principal violist of the Cedar Rapids Symphony. Before coming to the UI he played with the U.S. Marine Band in Washington, D.C., performing dinner music at the White House, and was principal violist of the Detroit Symphony. He made his New York recital debut at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1960.

He has toured throughout North America, and to more than 25 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He had a solo recital tour of Japan in 1982, and is the recording artist for books of the Suzuki Viola School, a worldwide string teaching method based on principles put forward by the Japanese music teacher Shinichi Suzuki. An acclaimed teacher, Preucil has presented master classes throughout the world, from Russia to Australia. In 1992 he was awarded the M.L. Huit Faculty Award at the UI for his dedication and service to his students.

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. In 1999 they gave a concert at the German Embassy in Washington, in honor of the Czech Republic's entry into NATO. In recent years they have collaborated with other leading chamber musicians around the world, and they have had summer teaching engagements at the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Austin Chamber Music Festival, the South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and the Cedar Rapids Symphony School. Prior to coming to Iowa, they also taught on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory.

The quartet has gained wide recognition for its educational outreach activities. It has participated in a three-year project in partnership with the Aspen Music Festival under a grant from the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Foundation aimed at building adult audiences. The members of the quartet have shared their love of music with children under the auspices of Young Audiences, Inc., and the Midori Foundation, and they have given performances for families with children at Lincoln Center and the U.N. School in New York.

Performances at the Englert Theatre are made possible by an agreement between the UI Division of Performing Arts and the Englert Theatre, Inc. The series of 11 performances, from both the School of Music and the Dance Department, continues through the 2005-06 academic year.

Admission to "String Spectacular" will be $12; $6 for UI students and youth. Tickets are available from the Englert Box Office, 221 E. Washington in downtown Iowa City. The box office is open 1 pm. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. For additional ticket information, call the box office at 319-688-2653.

The mission of the Englert Civic Theatre, Inc., is to own, maintain and operate the Englert Theatre as a community arts center and performance space, enhancing the vitality of Iowa City's historic downtown by preserving its last historic theater.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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 ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

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, peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.

PHOTOS are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa/photos.html.