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University of Iowa News Release

 

Jan. 19, 2007

Chamber Music Concert Kicks Off 'Scandinavian/Nordic Fest' At UI Feb. 1

A chamber music concert by the Maia String Quartet and the Iowa Woodwind Quintet, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, in Clapp Recital Hall, will open a month-long series of events on the University of Iowa campus celebrating Scandinavian and Nordic music and culture.

The two groups are resident ensembles at the UI School of Music. Their joint concert will be free and open to the public.

The "Scandinavian/Nordic Fest," most of it taking place during February, is a collaborative project of the Maia Quartet and other campus organizations, including the UI School of Music, the Department of Dance, the Department of Theatre Arts and the School of Art and Art History.

The festival is made up of several distinct series that will present Scandinavian arts and culture in differing ways. During February, there will be:

--A series of free chamber music concerts and recitals, beginning with the Feb. 1 performance that opens the festival. Additional events will be Feb. 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17 and 22.

--A series of free lectures on Scandinavian music and culture, at 7 p.m. Feb. 7, 9, 21 and 28.

--A series of free screenings of films by Ingmar Bergman, shown at 7 p.m. Tuesdays Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27 in the auditorium of Art Building West, with live music.

--"Dances with the Maia," a collaboration between the Maia Quartet and the UI Department of Dance, with the quartet providing live music by Edvard Grieg and other composers for performances choreographed by UI dance faculty, at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 and 17, and 3 p.m. Feb. 18, in the Space Place Theatre of UI North Hall (tickets are available from the University Box Office).

A final segment of the festival will take place in April, when the Maia Quartet provides live music for the University Theatres production of August Strindberg's "Ghost Sonata," with performances at 8 p.m. April 5- 7 and 12-14, and 2 p.m. Sundays, April 8 and 15, in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the UI Theatre Building (tickets available in advance at the Hancher Auditorium Box Office).

Details of Scandinavian/Nordic Fest events, including times, locations and programs, may be found at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/nordicfest/events.htm.

In addition to the campus performances, the festival includes several outreach efforts by the Maia Quartet (left, click on image for high resolution photo). Grants to the quartet from Chamber Music America and the Iowa Arts Council support a residency in the Western Iowa community of Elk Horn and other Danish immigrant communities in the area.

Working closely with the Danish Museum in Elk Horn, the Maia Quartet has scheduled outreach performances in Elk Horn, Harlan, Grand View College in Des Moines and at Dana College in Blair, Neb. This portion of the program is already under way.

The resident string quartet at the UI School of Music since 1998, the Maia Quartet presents a series of chamber music concerts on campus every 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.

The Feb. 1 concert will feature three works by Scandinavian and Nordic composers who are little known in the United States:

--The Quartet for Clarinet and Strings by Bernhard Henrik Crusell will be peformed by Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet, and Maia Quartet members Jakovcic (violin), Oakes (viola) and Holman (cello).

--The Quintet for Winds, op. 34, by Johan Kvandal, will be performed by the Iowa Woodind Quintet: Gro Sandvik, flute; Mark Weiger, oboe; Mead, clarinet; Benjamin Coelho, bassoon; and Kristin Thelander, horn.

--The String Quartet No. 5 in C major, op 29, by Wilhelm Stenhammar will be performed by the Maia Quartet.

Crusell was a Swedish-Finnish clarinetist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries who was also a composer and translator. For several years he served in military bands in Finland and Sweden, and he later performed in the Swedish court orchestra in Stockholm from 1793 to 1833. Having studied composition in Stockholm and Paris, he wrote instrumental music for his own use and for his wind-instrument colleagues in the court orchestra.

Crusell conducted military bands in Sweden every summer from 1818 to 1837 and arranged marches and opera overtures by the better-known composers Karl Maria von Weber, Ludwig Spohr and Gioacchino Rossin. His other compositions include choral music, solo songs on Swedish literary texts and operas. He was also known as a brilliant linguist who translated the foremost French, German and Italian operas for the Swedish stage. He was awarded the Swedish Academy's Gold Medal in 1837

One of the leading Norwegian musicians of the 20th century, Kvendal was active as composer, organist and conductor in Oslo. His training was cosmopolitan, with studies with the leading teachers in Stockholm, Vienna, Berlin and Paris. As well as performing and composing, Kvandal was a respected critic for leading newspapers in Oslo and formed an anthology of recorded and printed classical Norwegian music for the Norwegian Cultural Council.

From his earliest works he made use of the melodic and rhythmic elements of Norwegian folk music. In the later 1960s, these elements were transformed and combined with experiments in serial techniques and freer forms. Several of his works were widely successful in Norway, and he received several prizes for his work, including Norway's prominent Lindeman Prize.

Writing in an accessible style influenced by Swedish folk music, the late19th- and early 20th-century Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammer has garnered more performances and recordings than most Scandinavian composers of his or more recent generations. Also active as a pianist and conductor, Stenhammer was largely self-taught. He never went to a conservatory, but passed the organists' examination privately in 1890.

At various times, Stenhammer served as director of the Stockholm Philharmonic, the Royal Opera, the New Philharmonic Society and the Göteborg Orchestral Society. His varied output included orchestral music, music dramas and incidental music for plays, choral works and chamber music, with his string quartets being particularly significant.

Founded in 1990 at the Cleveland Institute of Music, 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.

Throughout its history, the quartet has had an active performing schedule and has been committed to outreach. It has collaborated with Young Audiences, the Midori Foundation and Arts Excel. This season's engagements include performances in Chicago with clarinetist John Bruce Yeh; in Leonia, N.J. with Cynthia Phelps and Ron Thomas; and in New York City at the 92nd St. Y.

The Maia Quartet has a Web page, with bios and photos of the ensemble, at www.maiaquartet.com For more about the Maia Quartet's grant from Chamber Music America, see: http://www.news-releases.uiowa.edu/2006/May/051806maia.html .

The Iowa Woodwind Quintet has a resident chamber ensemble at the UI School of Music since about 1932. The current players are all members of the UI School of Music faculty.

Events in the Scandinavian/Nordic Fest are supported in part by grants from the University of Iowa/Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program, Humanities Iowa, Iowa Arts Council and Chamber Music America.

The Division of Performing Arts  -- School of Music, Department of Dance and University Theatres -- and the School of Art and Art History are units of the 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, go to http://list.uiowa.edu/archives/acr-news.html, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

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Scandinavian/Nordic Fest

Schedule of Events

FEBRUARY

Feb. 1

--8 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall, Chamber Music Series: Maia Quartet, Iowa Woodwind Quintet and other UI music faculty

Feb. 6

--7 p.m., 240 Art Building West, Bergman Film Series: "Through a Glass Darkly" with live music by Anthony Arnone, cello

Feb. 7

--7 p.m. Clapp Recital Hall, Lecture Series: "Kierkegaard and Mozart's 'Don Giovanni'," Laird Addis, speaker, with UI music faculty

Feb. 8

--8 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall, Chamber Music: Iowa Brass Quintet, members of the Maia Quartet and other UI music faculty

Feb. 9

--8 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall, Lecture Series: "The Margins and the Center-- Edvard Grieg and Musical Nationalism," Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor Robert Winter and the Maia Quartet

Feb. 11

--8 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall, Chamber Music Series/School of Music Centennial Concert: Maia Quartet, Stradivari String Quartet and other UI music faculty

Feb. 12

--8 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall, Chamber Music Series: Einar Rottingen, piano

Feb. 13

-- 12:30 p.m., Harper Hall, Voxman Music Building, Chamber Music Series: Chamber Music Master Class with Einar Rottingen

-- 1:30 pm.m, Harper Hall, Voxman Music Building, Chamber Music Series: Piano Master Class with Einar Rottingen

--7 p.m., 240 Art Building West, Bergman Film Series: "Winter Light" with live music

Feb. 14

--8 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall, Chamber Music Series: Gro Sandvick, flute, and Einar Rottingen, piano

Feb. 16

--8 p.m., Space/Place Theatre, North Hall, "Dances With Maia": Maia Quartet and UI Dance Department

Feb. 17

--10:30 a.m., Iowa City Public Library, Chamber Music Series: Hans Christian Andersen Family Concert with the Maia Quartet, Jody Hovland and Kidspectacular

--8 p.m., Space/Place Theatre, North Hall, "Dances With Maia": Maia Quartet and UI Dance Department

Feb. 18

--3 p.m., Space/Place Theatre, North Hall, "Dances With Maia": Maia Quartet and UI Dance Department

Feb. 20

--7 p.m., 240 Art Building West, Bergman Film Series: "The Silence" with live music by the Maia Quartet

Feb. 21

--7p.m., Harper Hall, Voxman Music Building, Lecture Series: "Neils Bohr and the Origin of Modern Physics," William Klink and the Maia Quartet

Feb. 22

--8 p.m., Clapp Recital Hall, Chamber Music Series: Maia Quartet and other UI music faculty

Feb. 27

--7 p.m., 240 Art Building West, Bergman Film Series: "Autumn Sonata" with live music

Feb. 28

--7p.m., Iowa City Public Library, Lecture Series: "Inspiration and Cultural Relevance," Maia Quartet

APRIL

April 5

--8 p.m., E.C. Mabie Theatre: "Ghost Sonata" by August Strindberg, University Theatres with live music performed by the Maia Quartet

April 6

--5 p.m., UI Museum of Art: "Know The Score LIVE!" with Joan Kjaer, "Ghost Sonata" director Kevin Harris and the Maia Quartet

--8 p.m., E.C. Mabie Theatre: "Ghost Sonata"

April 7

--8 p.m., E.C. Mabie Theatre: "Ghost Sonata"

April 8

--2 p.m., E.C. Mabie Theatre: "Ghost Sonata"

April 12, 13, 14

--8 p.m., E.C. Mabie Theatre: "Ghost Sonata"

April 15

--2 p.m., E.C. Mabie Theatre: "Ghost Sonata

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; peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.

PHOTOS are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/~c025188/press.html.