Chamber music festival features literature, local and international artists
Monday, June 3, 2013

MusicIC, Iowa City’s summer chamber music festival, returns June 12-16 for its third season, which will also be its first season as a Summer of the Arts Event. The festival includes three evening concerts, a Sunday afternoon family concert, and a mid-week discussion and performance of “love and loss in poetry and music.” And it’s all free and open to the public.

A woman holding a violin
Tricia Park

True to its traditions, the festival features a mix of music, literature, and artists of international reputation, many of whom have connections to Iowa City and the University of Iowa.

Highlights of this year’s festival include:

• The world premiere of Variations on a Sonic Imagination for Soprano and String Quartet, a new collaborative work by UI professor and composer David Gompper and poet Marvin Bell, long-time UI Writers’ Workshop professor and former Iowa Poet Laureate.

• A re-telling of Igor Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale, with a text by the late novelist Kurt Vonnegut, who also taught at the Writers’ Workshop. This staged performance is directed by George de le Pena, chair and professor of the UI Department of Dance in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Content contains adult language.

A photo of a woman  with a white blouse
Meagan Brus

• The return of Iowa City native Meagan Brus, a soprano who performed at last year’s festival and has performed in opera and concerts across the United States and abroad. She is the daughter of Chris Brus and Ronald Brus of Iowa City. Also returning are Iowa City natives pianist Conor Hanick and double bassist Emmet Hanick, sons of Pat and Kevin Hanick of Iowa City.

For biographical information on all Music IC performers, visit this link on the Summer of the Arts website.

A photo of a young man wearing black glasses and a white shirt
Conor Hanick

Here’s a rundown of the performances:

Wednesday, June 12, Song Cycles and Poetic Sequences: Love and Loss in Poetry and Song, 11 a.m. University Capitol Centre Recital Hall.

Brus, pianist Hanick and UI graduate student and poet Robert Fernandez discuss music’s relationship to poetry and art’s relations to life in a look at songs and song cycles by Robert Schumann and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The discussion is sponsored by the UI Summer Writing Festival.

Thursday, June 13, Music for String Quartet and Soprano, 7:30 p.m. Trinity Episcopal Church, 320 East College Street.

The Gompper-Bell work will be performed by soprano Tony Arnold, violinists Tricia Park and Robin Scott, violist Maurycy Banaszek and cellist Andrew Janss. They will also perform Arnold Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 in F Sharp Minor, with Soprano, Op. 10 (1907-08).

Friday, June 14, Songs of Love and Loss, 7:30 p.m. Trinity Episcopal Church.

Soprano Brus and pianist Hanick perform Tchaikovsky’s Six Romances, Op. 6, and Schumann’s Dichterliebe (The Poet’s Love), Op. 48.

Saturday, June 15, A Soldier’s Tale by Igor Stravinsky, 7:30 p.m. Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington, downtown Iowa City.

This performance, sponsored by Hills Bank and Trust, is a work for musicians and actors/dancers with Vonnegut’s revised text for Stravinsky’s 1918 piece Histoire du Soldat (A Soldier’s Tale). Vonnegut’s text is based loosely on the nonfiction book The Execution of Private Slovik, about the only U.S. soldier charged and executed for desertion during combat in World War II. Content contains adult language.

This performance is directed by de la Pena, with assistance from Saffron Henke, who is also assistant director of the UI’s Grant Wood Arts Colony. Scott Dunn, pianist and associate conductor of the Los Angeles’ Philharmonic’s Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, directs the seven musicians.

The piece also features performers Dakota Gonzalez, Kristin Marrs and Martin Andrews as well as video artist Alexander de la Pena and musicians Park, violin; Hanick, double bass; Alan Lawrence, principal timpanist of Orchestra Iowa, and current and former UI professors Benjamin Coelho, bassoon; David Greenhoe, trumpet; and David Gier, trombone.

Sunday, June 16, From Stories to Music with Goodnight Moon, Pecos Bill and Ferdinand the Bull, family concert at Iowa City Public Library, 2 p.m.

Three well-known children’s books will be heard in a whole new way with music by violinist Park and pianist Hanick. The music will include Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy, Rodeo by Aaron Copland, and Ferdinand the Bull by Alan Ridout.

In addition to support from Hills Bank, MusicIC is supported by an anonymous family foundation. Partners include Summer of the Arts, Hancher, West Music, the UI Summer Writing Festival, the UI Office of the Vice President for Research, and Trinity Episcopal Church.

The City of Iowa City’s Summer of the Arts (SotA) is an umbrella organization for local arts and culture events which include: Iowa Arts Festival presented by Veridian Credit Union, Music IC, Iowa City Jazz Festival presented by the UI Community Credit Union, Iowa Soul Festival presented by Diversity Focus, Friday Night Concert Series, Saturday Night Concert Series presented by the Iowa City Downtown District and Integrated DNA Technologies, and Free Movie Series presented by MC Ginsberg: Objects of Art and UI Pentacrest Museums.

The mission of Summer of the Arts is to build community by bringing people together in the Iowa City area to experience, learn about, and enjoy the arts.

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 attend any of these events, contact Judith Hurtig in advance at 319-621-2801 or at