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Hancher hosts string quartets

BY JULIA JESSEN | NOVEMBER 17, 2011 7:20 AM

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Two violins, a cello, and a viola come together to create a masterpiece of flowing notes, with glissandi and crescendos.

These sounds will be heard in Iowa City on Friday as the American String Quartet and the Maia String Quartet come together in one inspiring Hancher performance at 7:30 p.m. in the Riverside Recital Hall.

"A quartet is probably the single greatest democracy that's left on Earth," said Laurie Carney, an American String Quartet violinist. "It's all about working together, compromising, and learning from each other. Every day is a learning experience."

Jacob Yarrow, Hancher's programming director, said the two groups are devoted to the music they play and show their passion for it around the world.

"They're both dedicated to finding a place for classical music in our world and sharing how special the music they make really is with people around the country," he said.

This performance will be the last for Maia, the University of Iowa's quartet in residence. Yarrow said that Hancher is honored to present the performance.

The Maia members have worked with the American String Quartet in the past, and they thought it would be nice to collaborate with it for their final performance.

The internationally known American String Quartet agreed. Carney said the concert will show the two groups' passion.

"I think it'll just be a shared love of what we've done for a long time together," she said.

Carney said the American String Quartet views every concert as a chance to improve and grow as musicians.

"Now into our 36th year, we strive to come out and play music that we love deeply and to play it differently every night," she said. "It has to be a living, breathing thing, not just for the audience but for us."

Group violist Dan Avshalomov said the quartet's music is distinctive because it involves a variety sounds.

"I think in a way our hallmark is that we change the way we play depending on the style of music that we're playing," he said.

Connection is important to the American String Quartet, Avshalomov said, and the members strive to achieve links through music on numerous levels.

"We want to connect with the composer," he said. "And then we want to connect with the audience, so that we can erase the hundreds of years between when Beethoven wrote his music and the audience hears us play it."

The American String Quartet works to bring music to life, and Avshalomov said the Maia quartet does the same thing.

"It's kind of like seeing two great teams appear at the same time," Avshalomov said. "Except we're not in competition. We're both actually running the same direction."


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