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University of Iowa News Release


April 1, 2009

UI Maia String Quartet and soprano Hagiwara perform Schoenberg April 17

The University of Iowa's Maia String Quartet will be joined by soprano Rie Hagiwara to perform one of the legendary works of the early 20th century -- Arnold Schoenberg's Second String Quartet -- as part of a concert at 8 p.m. Friday, April 17, at the Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City.

Other works on the program, performed by the Maia Quartet alone, will be the String Quartet no. 7 by Dmitri Shostakovich and the String Quartet in C minor, op. 51 no. 1, by Johannes Brahms. The concert will be free and open to the public.

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.

"The most notable piece in this program is the Schoenberg" Park said. "It's a very challenging piece for the performers. We will perform it on tour at Rutgers University with soprano Gudrun Buehler. Rie has graciously agreed to work on this piece and perform it with us here in Iowa at the Englert, as a warm up and preview performance a week before the concert at Rutgers."

Park said that other works on the program will also be part of the repertoire for the quartet's East Coast tour during April.

Composed in 1908, the Second Quartet is often cited as Schoenberg's first step into free atonality, before his invention of the 12-tone system of composition. It is in the last movement, with it unusual setting for string quartet and soprano, that the composer seems to slip away from any reliance on a tonal center.

The movement, titled "Rapture," is a setting of arcane and complex poems by the German poet Stefan George. The poem "Rapture" that concludes the movement opens with the line "I feel the wind from other planets"  -- a choice by the composer that is interpreted as his acknowledgement that he is entering new musical territory.

Shostakovich wrote 15 string quartets, all but one of them between the years of 1944, near the end of World War II, and 1974, the year before the composer's death. Like much of the music written in the last 30 years of Shostakovich's life, they are regarded as highly personal works, conforming outwardly to the expectations of the Soviet authorities but also containing deeply felt expressions of private feelings.

The Seventh Quartet was written in 1960 in memory of the composer's wife, who had died in 1954. It is the composer's shortest string quartet and has an underlying melancholy mood throughout. It is written in three movements, but their close thematic links create the impression of a single, varied movement.

A native of Japan, Hagiwara graduated from the Tokyo University of Arts and later studied the Italian opera repertoire in Milan and German opera and lieder in Salzburg. Eventually she attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where she received a master's degree. She currently serves on faculties of both the Aichi Prefectural University of Arts and Showa Conservatory of Music in Japan.

Hagiwara has appeared with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Yale Opera and the Fairfield Chamber Orchestra, and she presented the New York premier of Earl Kim's "Three songs in French" at Alice Tully Hall. She is the featured soprano soloist in the World premier recording of Mahler's version of Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Cincinnati Philharmonia, which received the Grammy award.

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. 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 online 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

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0072 (office) 319-541-2846 (cell),

PHOTOS of the Maia Quartet: