Iowa Alumni Magazine | April 2007 | People

A Musical Detour: Marcia Hadjimarkos

By Kathryn Howe
Classical keyboardist Marcia Hadjimarkos plays instruments that hark back to the days of Mozart and Beethoven.

Marcia Hadjimarkos

Iowa's famous RAGBRAI leads to many destinations -- but, France? That's where Marcia Hadjimarkos eventually ended up after the bike ride brought her to a new career and passion.

Hadjimarkos, 83BA, a native of Oregon, fell in love with Iowa when she rode with a friend in RAGBRAI. After she enrolled at the UI as a student of modern piano and French literature, her life took another unexpected direction. On a trip to Europe, she knew that her future lay in France and with the fortepiano and clavichord of the Classical and Romantic eras.

For the past 20 years, Hadjimarkos has been living out her musical dream in rural Burgundy, where she's cultivated a successful career as a classical keyboard player specializing in the early pianos and clavichords that once captured the imaginations of the likes of Mozart and Beethoven.

"Their expressive possibilities are limitless," Hadjimarkos says of her preferred instruments. "You can create infinitely small dynamic gradations, real light and shadow."

In addition to her solo concerts, Hadjimarkos performs with ensembles, accompanies singers and chamber operas, and combines her love of words and music into programs with French actors. She also translates classical record booklets, teaches piano, and writes for the early music magazine, Goldberg.

The European community has embraced Hadjimarkos, who is now a French citizen. Her recordings of Haydn, C.P.E. Bach, and Mozart have received reviews that describe her playing as confident, refined, energetic, and dynamic. She's also been invited to perform in some of Europe's most prestigious venues. In 2002, she returned to the UI for two clavichord concerts sponsored by the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society.

This October, Hadjimarkos will entertain travelers on the Iowa Voyagers tour to Burgundy and Provence, performing on her Viennese fortepiano during a wine-tasting event at a French chateau.

"I'm so pleased to play for people from my own alma mater," she says. "I don't get back to the States often, so this is a treat."