MusicIC Festival to celebrate space and light during June 20-23

Special performance of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ highlights schedule

IOWA CITY – The MusicIC festival returns for an eighth season from June 20-23, 2018. Over the course of four programs, MusicIC will gaze skyward, finding inspiration in the stars and beyond. The Festival is presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization.

The festival program, curated by MusicIC Artistic Director Tricia Park, features great string quartets of Beethoven, Bartok and Mozart. In addition, this summer’s programming will feature contemporary works by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov and American composer Christopher Cerrone. The final evening concert blurs the lines between classical and pop music with a chamber arrangement of Pink Floyd’s classic The Dark Side of the Moon. Local writers will share brief original pieces that touch on the themes in that work. This concert at the Englert Theatre that will bring MusicIC’s 2018 summer programming to an exciting and inventive finale.

Music during the festival will be performed by the Solera Quartet, with Tricia Park and Miki-Sophia Cloud on violin, Molly Carr on viola, and Andrew Janss on cello. Amanda Grimm (viola) and Laura Usiskin (cello), who have performed with Orchestra Iowa, as well as local musicians Minji Kwon (piano) and Eric Douglas (drums) will join the quartet for some of the performances. Iowa City native Meagan Brus will be vocalist during the festival as well. The musicians will be joined at the Friday, June 23 concert by writers including Jan Weissmiller, Daniel Khalastchi, and Tameka Cage Conley.

The festival begins on Wednesday, June 20, with “Stargazing,” a program that includes classics from Beethoven and Bartok, as well as Cerrone’s How to Breathe Underwater, a work for string quartet and electronics that was inspired by a character in the Jonathan Franzen novel, Freedom. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, and is free and open to the public.

Things continue on Thursday, June 21, with “Night Music,” a program that includes multiple pieces by Brahms and Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night) Op 4, inspired by poetry of Richard Dehmel. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, and is free and open to the public.

The festival’s only ticketed event will be Friday, June 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Englert Theatre, where the Solera Quartet will be joined by drummer Eric Douglas and vocalist Meagan Brus to perform an arrangement by Andrew Janss (cellist of the Solera Quartet) of the Pink Floyd progressive rock classic, The Dark Side of the Moon. Also on the bill is Tenebrae by Osvaldo Golijov, a piece the quartet has performed at a past MusicIC festival and which has been brought back by popular demand.

For the Pink Floyd piece, local writers will join the performance to read original work on the themes of money, madness, and mortality, echoing the themes of the album.

Accompanying the performance of the Pink Floyd piece will be a projection of the filmed light improvisation “Invisible Writing” by famed ‘60s light show pioneers Single Wing Turquoise Bird.

Tickets are available at the Englert box office or at

The festival closes on Saturday, June 23, at 10:30 a.m. with a free family concert at the Iowa City Public Library in Meeting Room A. The Solera Quartet will play music from the festival program interspersed with student writers from the Iowa Youth Writing Project, who will read work inspired by the music and the festival’s themes.

Festival sponsors are the University of Iowa, Iowa Public Radio, MidWestOne, Dunn Investments, and Toyota-Scion of Iowa City.

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