MusicIC features chamber music June 18-21

MusicIC features chamber music June 18-21

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Festival includes new play based on Tolstoy novella

MusicIC returns this summer with a free, four-concert chamber music festival in downtown Iowa City Wednesday through Saturday, June 18-21. The festival is a component of Summer of the Arts, whose mission is to build community by bringing people together in the Iowa City area to experience, learn about, and enjoy the arts.

Now in its fourth season, MusicIC bills itself as the place “Where Music and Literature Meet,” and it lives up to that billing by presenting music for small ensembles inspired by works of literature, both prose and poetry.

This year’s festival includes the production of a play based on Leo Tolstoy’s novella, The Kreutzer Sonata, which was inspired by Ludwig von Beethoven’s actual sonata. Tolstoy’s novella subsequently inspired Czech composer Leos Janacek, who created a string quartet by the same name. That work will also be performed.

Meagan Brus
Meagan Brus

Tricia Park
Tricia Park

Andrew Janss
Andrew Janss

Riko Higuma
Riko Higuma

Each year MusicIC also features musicians born or brought up in Iowa City who have embarked on major careers. 2014 marks the return of soprano Meagan Brus and the debut in her hometown of pianist Yi-heng Yang.

Likewise, each year the festival attracts musicians of world-renown. This year that includes violinists Tricia Park and Robin Scott, violist Maurycy Banaszek, cellist Andrew Janss and pianist Riko Higuma.

Here’s a rundown of the performances:

• Wednesday, June 18, 11 a.m. “The Kreutzer Sonata: A Discussion,” Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A.

Moderated by Anna Barker with the musicians and playwright Jennifer Fawcett, the discussion will explore the connections between the music and the novella.

• Wednesday, June 18, 7:30 p.m. “In Memory … ” Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 East College Street.

Park and Yang will perform three works on the theme of elegies in music. Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, FP 199 (1942-43/1949) is in memory of Frederico Garcia Lorca. The performance includes Saffron Henke’s reading of a portion of Lorca’s “Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias.”

Aaron Copland’s Sonata for Violin and Piano (1943) will be performed in memory of Lieutenant Harry H. Dunham, a friend of the composer. Leon Kirchner’s Duo No. 2 for Violin and Piano (2001) is in memory of Felix Galimir, a famed violinist, teacher at the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute and long-time participant in the Marlboro Music Festival. Richard and Judith Hurtig and Viola and Richard Morse commissioned the work in memory of Richard and Viola’s uncle.

• Thursday, June 19, 7:30 p.m. “Samuel Barber: Impassioned by Poetry,” Trinity Episcopal Church.

Brus, Higuma, Park, Scott, Banaszek and Janss will perform three pieces by Barber: “Four Songs,” for voice and piano, Op. 13 (1937-40), “Hermit Songs,” for voice and piano, Op. 29 (1952-53) and String Quartet in B major, Op. 11 (1936).

Friday, June 20, 7:30 p.m. “The Kreutzer Sonata,” the Englert Theatre.

Park, Higuma, Scott, Banaszek and Janss will perform the first movement of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9 “Kreutzer” (1803) and Janacek’s String Quartet No. 1 (“Kreutzer Sonata”) (1923). The music will accompany a dramatic production based on Tolstoy’s novella. The play, The Kreutzer Sonata: A Play in Five Mini Acts, was written by Fawcett and will be directed by Sean Christopher Lewis. Fawcett and Lewis are principals in Iowa City’s Working Group Theatre Company. Cast members include Saffron Henke.

Saturday, June 21, 10:30 a.m. “A family concert with storytelling,” Iowa City Public Library.

Two well-known children’s books, Strega Nona and Madeline, will be read along with musical accompaniment.

All concerts are performed without intermission. The concerts are free; tickets are not required.

For more information, including the biographies of the musicians and program notes by Arthur Canter, see the MusicIC section of the Summer of the Arts website.

Support for MusicIC comes from Dunn Investment Company, Hills Bank and Trust, and an anonymous family foundation. Friends and partners include Hancher, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, the Iowa City Public Library, Trinity Episcopal Church, Toyota-Scion of Iowa City, and West Music.

Summer of the Arts is a nonprofit organization for local arts and culture events including the Iowa Arts Festival presented by Veridian Credit Union, MusicIC, Iowa City Jazz Festival presented by the University of Iowa Community Credit Union, Iowa Soul Festival presented by Diversity Focus, Friday Night Concert Series presented by Toyota-Scion of Iowa City, Saturday Night Concert Series presented by Iowa City Press-Citizen and Free Movie Series presented by Collins Community Credit Union and UI Pentacrest Museums.

For more information, see the Summer of the Arts website.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the event at the Englert Theatre, contact Sarah Shonrock in advance at or 319-688-2653. For accessibility at the events at Trinity Episcopal Church, contact Judith Hurtig at or 319-621-2801.


Judith Hurtig, MusicIC, 319-621-2801
Lisa Barnes, Summer of the Arts, 319-337-7944


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