Literature, music meet to create Music IC

Logo for Music IC festival, which shows an instrument atop a stack of books

A contemporary novel, the final book of the New Testament, and two poems serve as the inspirations for the programs of a new chamber music festival, Music IC: Where Literature and Music Meet, set for Friday–Sunday, June 24–26.

The festival features three concerts by the Maia Quartet, the University of Iowa’s faculty string quartet, and several guest artists. The performances, which are free and open to the public, are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday–Saturday, June 24–25, and 3 p.m., Sunday, June 26, in Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 East College Street in downtown Iowa City.

Guest violinist and UI professor of music Katie Wolfe will join the Maia Quartet members—violinist Tricia Park, violist Elizabeth Oakes, and cellist Hannah Holman. Guest artists participating in the festival are pianist Conor Hanick, cellist Jay Campbell, clarinetist Sean Rice, and violist Nathalie Cruden.

The festival web site (www.uiowa.edu/musicic) includes more information on the musicians, music, and literary works.

In addition, Martin Andrews, an actor and producing director with Iowa City’s Working Group Theatre, will read from the literary sources before the performance of each piece. The texts also will be available on the playbill and on the festival web site.

The June 24 performance will begin with Hanick performing Ryan Francis’ “Wind-Up Bird Preludes,” which is based on the 1994 novel Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami.

That evening’s concert will conclude with a performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” by Park, Rice, Campbell, and Hanick. The quartet was inspired by the Revelation of St. John, the final book in the New Testament, while the composer, a French soldier, was in a German POW camp during World War II. The unusual instrumentation was determined by the availability of other musicians imprisoned in the camp.

On June 25, Wolfe, Cruden, and Campbell will join the Maia Quartet for a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s “Transfigured Night,” which was inspired by a poem of the same name by Richard Dehmel. Also on that night, Park and Hanick will perform Anton Webern’s “Four Pieces for Violin and Piano,” and Campbell and Hanick will team up to perform Webern’s “Little Pieces for Cello and Piano.”

Sunday’s performance will feature Wolfe and the Maia Quartet performing Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, inspired by Schubert’s song “Death and the Maiden,” which was itself taken from the poem of the same name by Matthias Claudius. The quartet and Wolfe also will perform Osvaldo Golijov’s “Tenebrae.”

As a final added attraction, the festival will feature “A Very Open Rehearsal” at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 25, also in the UCC Recital Hall. Also free and open to the public, the event will be led by Nancy Hagen of Iowa Public Radio, who will encourage participants to interrupt the rehearsal with questions and comments.

Music IC is a project of the Maia Quartet and the UI Division of Performing Arts, a unit of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Division of Performing Arts’ Arts Across Borders program is providing support for the event. Partners for this year’s festival are the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, and Hancher, the University’s center for the performing arts.


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