Ephawk Quartet Tour, May 2014

After returning from the concert tour in Western Iowa in May 19-21 with Ephawk Quartet, I had many inspiring thoughts and memories. But, more then anything else - a deep appreciation.

I would like to thank Elizabeth Oakes for the excellent service provided to the School of Music, local Iowa communities, and music students through the chamber music class and String Quartet Residency program at the University of Iowa.

Mrs. Oakes is a great example of an exceptional professionalism and dedication to music and education.
The residency of excellent String Quartets through the seasons of 2012-13 and 2013-14, coordinated by Elizabeth Oakes not only had a tremendous impact  on the artistic and cultural life of Iowa City, it has also stimulated the interest in chamber music among students of School of Music and helped to set a new high standard of music making in Iowa.

Past year at the University of Iowa was very special for me. It is primarily because I had chance to participate in chamber class, lead by Mrs. Oakes, and to collaborate with musicians on an entirely new level. Our main project was  "Quartet for the end of time" by O. Messiaen - a complex, but highly rewarding musical piece.  It was truly a gift - to have coaching sessions and master-classes throughout the 2013-14 academic year with the guest artists, such as members of Jack Quartet, Fry Quartet, Deadalus Quartet, and Jupiter Quartet. As a culmination of our year-long collaboration as Ephawk Quartet, we  accomplished a successful concert tour in May 2014, which started in Riverside Recital Hall on May 18, and continued in cities of Greenfield, Council Bluffs, and Elk Horn in western Iowa. Besides the Messiaen's work, our concert program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Debussy and Faure.
Thanks to the organizational and promotional skills of Beth Oakes, all stages of the tour including traveling, lodging, rehearsals etc. proceeded smooth and enjoyable.

I am very grateful to Elizabeth Oakes and my colleagues clarinetist Thiago Anselmo, cellist Tom Maples, and violinist Andrew Gentzsch for thier professionalism and dedication. It was a real pleasure to work with you, being a part of this amazing project!

Sasha Burdin