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String Quartet

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NEWS
September 17, 1990 | By Lesley Valdes, Inquirer Music Critic
The Colorado String Quartet opened the Music at Swarthmore College season with a program of Mozart, Brahms and Samuel Barber. In its first Philadelphia performance on Saturday, the group demonstrated that it values finesse and passion. It began with Mozart's Quartet in G major (K. 80), an early work in which the composer's enthusiasm and gentleness flow in tandem. Balances were effortlessly achieved here in part because of the seating arrangement. Clockwise from first violinist Julie Rosenfeld sat cellist Diane Chaplin, violist Francesca Martin and second violinist Deborah Redding.
NEWS
July 11, 1999 | By Chris Corbett, FOR THE INQUIRER
Twelve passengers boarded the Redtail Aviation planes on that bright July morning at Grand Junction, Colo., to be deposited an hour's flying time away in a barren area of Utah. One of those passengers was a cello. When you travel with a cello, you buy the cello a seat. Hannah was the cellist. She admitted later that she didn't actually mention to the rental clerk in the musical instrument store in Denver that she was taking the cello on a 100-mile white-water rafting trip on Utah's Green River, one of the most remote and inacessible places in the continental United States.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 7, 2000 | By David Patrick Stearns, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Though innocently and generically titled String Quartet No. 3, the piece by Chinese American composer Bright Sheng that's receiving its local premiere tonight is a model for something larger and nastier. This eventful, mercurial, excitable one-movement work - performed by the Takacs Quartet - is based on not-quite-remembered Tibetan folk dances the composer encountered while in provincial exile from Shanghai during Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution. But now, seven years after finishing the piece, the quartet is pointing the way toward an opera he wants to write on an explosive subject: Madame Mao. "This woman's life is fascinating," Sheng said.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 1, 1994 | By Peter Dobrin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Every time we start to think that Beethoven, with all his revolutionary ideas, came out of nowhere, it's helpful to listen to a little Haydn. The Muir String Quartet put the two composers on the same program Sunday night, reminding us that even Beethoven had to get his ideas from somewhere. Not that we would mistake one composer for the other. The progressive ideas Beethoven explored in the Quartet in C major (Opus 59, No. 3) were something Haydn couldn't have dreamed of when writing his Quartet in E major (Opus 17, No. 1)
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 1998 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The American String Quartet came to the Convention Center Thursday to play quintets with the help of violist Michael Tree and cellist David Soyer, members of the Guarneri Quartet. Adding outsiders to a society as tight as a string quartet can be musically problematic, but in this program the outsiders contributed without stylistic clashes. The program included quintets by Mozart, who wrote for two violas in his, and Schubert, who opted for two cellos. Closing with Schubert's Quintet in C, the ensemble cast Soyer as the key second cello, a part that includes the pizzicato solos in the second movement.
NEWS
October 16, 1989 | By Andrew Stiller, Special to The Inquirer
The Philadelphia Orchestra's chamber-music series opened its season yesterday afternoon with pairs of string quartets and piano trios. A capacity crowd attended the event in the Academy of Music ballroom. The problem with orchestral chamber series is that orchestra musicians are not always the best performers of this music, just as opera singers are not always good at singing lieder. Perhaps it was for this reason that the trios, with their guest pianists, proved more effective than the quartets, which featured only musicians from the orchestra.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 15, 1989 | By Tom Di Nardo, Daily News Classical Music Writer
Most string quartets dress in tuxedos to play music from the heart of the 18th- and 19th-century repertoire. But the San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet rejects every aspect of the stereotype, wearing punk-funk clothes to perform playing music by Bela Bartok and Dimitri Shostakovich - as well as that of Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Philip Glass, and Thelonious Monk. No wonder these four talented players, concentrating on 20th-century music, have generated so much controversy. In tonight's 8 p.m. concert at the Zellerbach Theatre, 3680 Walnut, audiences will experience four gifted classical musicians with completely open minds to new music.
NEWS
May 1, 1989 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The ad hoc string quartet tests conventional audience wisdom. Mostly, four string players who sit down with the quartet literature may not draw very close to the goal of being a string quartet. The literature requires shared vision, complementary temperament, surpassing technical skill and the intangible quality that enables a great quartet to find, in the heat of performance, an interpretation that astonishes all the players. Two quartets from within the Philadelphia Orchestra played yesterday at the Academy of Music Ballroom with results that tested conventional views.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 3, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Most Renaissance-era choral recordings are sold with ancient saints on the cover. Instead, New York Polyphony presents itself on its new disc, endBeginning, with a photo of a demolished church interior. The aftermath of an earthquake? One of New York Polyphony's concerts? This urban, four-voice, all-male group isn't out to wreck anything. But its concert Monday night at Friends' Central School in Wynnewood isn't likely to be ethereal by the usual early-music standards, either, even with a program of 16th-century Renaissance masters such as Antoine Brumel and Francisco Guerrero.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 22, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The double-bass world could use Xavier Foley. At 21, he's a standout player, studying at the Curtis Institute of Music. But he's also a bright spark of a composer, and, to judge from Saturday night's premiere of his "Zalistar" Trio , a musician who hears borders between styles as limitations best ignored. The work was commissioned by Astral Artists, and opened its season alongside other chamber works at the Church of the Holy Trinity. Structurally, the piece fits an accepted norm, moving from section to section before returning to original material.
NEWS
September 20, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Culture Writer
Curtis Institute of Music board chair Nina Baroness von Maltzahn is stepping down. She will serve through the end of the school year, the conservatory announced Friday. Maltzahn - who divides her time among Uruguay, Berlin, Zurich, and New York - became board chair in 2013, taking over from H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, who held the position for eight years. Curtis' bylaws call for the chair to serve in terms of one year, subject to renewal. Maltzahn's original intention when accepting the chair position was to serve for two years, a Curtis spokeswoman said.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 4, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The traits that make the orchestral player do not necessarily translate to chamber music, but you never would have known that from hearing violinist Amy Lee on Friday night at the Curtis Institute of Music. The 2005 Curtis grad is now associate concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, an ensemble whose defining characteristic is its exquisite precision. That Lee reflected the Cleveland philosophy was hardly surprising. The extent of her individualized approach, however, suggested she doesn't need an interpretive assist from the podium.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 15, 2015 | By Elliott Sharp, For The Inquirer
The band Say Anything, which played the Electric Factory on Sunday, borrowed its name from Say Anything - the 1989 late-teen romance film by Cameron Crowe. When a band does something like that, it will forever be expected to deliver an exceptional level of risk-taking drama. The film is famous for the scene in which John Cusack's character, in a last-ditch effort to win the heart of his high school crush, desperately but defiantly lifts an enormous boom box above his head and blasts Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" outside her bedroom window.
NEWS
June 5, 2015 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
In terms of choosing a calling card to send out into the world, the Curtis Institute of Music could hardly do better than the Aizuri Quartet. Curtis' quartet-in-residence played a recital Tuesday night previewing a tour that begins Friday in Mexico City, continues to Costa Rica and Chile (including a stop at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago), and ends with a different program in Germany and Austria. Whatever else it does for diplomacy, the Aizuri Quartet planted a flag in rare artistic soil at its Field Concert Hall recital.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 25, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Though choice of soloists is often an important component of Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia's sense of alternative symphonic experiences, previously unknown guest conducting talents can feel like an even more welcoming ambush. Sunday's headliner at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater ostensibly was Sean Chen, a young pianist who has placed well in competitions (the Van Cliburn, for one) and is a nominee for a 2015 Leonore Annenberg arts fellowship award at Penn. But the concert started with Haydn's little-known overture to the opera Armida , conducted by the lesser-known Nir Kabaretti with a solidity not heard consistently since Ignat Solzhenitsyn's departure and, more than that, a distinctive, glistening personality.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 11, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
'When all goes wrong . . . smile a lot. " Such was the advice that conductor Scott Terrell gave to the everyday people who stepped up to lead a Philadelphia Orchestra contingent Monday at the Reading Terminal Market. Orchestra players have performed pop-ups from Macau to the Comcast Center, and Monday morning word went out on the Internet that this one would be a "Conduct Us" program, where listeners could become participants and get a souvenir baton. No way the entire orchestra could fit at the northerly end of the crowded market, of course.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 30, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
To those who believe the world is in general decline: At least one corner is rapidly improving, and that's the string quartet. In decades past, quartets practiced for months before daring to play anything for the outside world. Astral Artists opened its season of young-artist concerts on Saturday at the Church of the Holy Trinity with a group that converged only for this concert, but that delivered a weighty program with technical confidence plus a degree of imagination and emotional presence infrequently heard in any season.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 26, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Charting Beethoven's evolution from being the most genial guardian of the classical style to its executioner is an exercise done vividly and not infrequently through the string quartets and piano sonatas. But Peter Wiley and Anna Polonsky took audiences through the story from the vantage point of the cello sonata Sunday afternoon. Presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in two concerts at the American Philosophical Society, at 3 and 6 p.m., it was hardly a marathon (at least for the audience)
NEWS
March 14, 2014 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
There's something intoxicating about the Elias String Quartet. It was no mystery that the group was able to cast a spell Tuesday night in a newish Sally Beamish work, the String Quartet No. 3 , with those spiritual Gaelic atmospherics. But for its Philadelphia Chamber Music Society visit, the Elias brought Haydn, personalizing the F major, Op. 77, No. 2 quartet to the point of instantly rendering every other performance in the listener's memory as but a pale stab. The third movement "Andante" was a landmark statement, intensely absorbing, exquisitely considered - a piece in itself, really.
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