Bard News & Events

Press Release

THE COLORADO QUARTET WITH PIANIST MELVIN CHEN WILL PERFORM AT BARD COLLEGE ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26 Program features performances of works by Beethoven, Robert Maggio, and Alfred Schnittke

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Colorado Quartet, artists in residence at Bard College, will perform in concert with pianist Melvin Chen on Wednesday, March 26, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. The performance, presented by The Bard Center, is free and open to the public.

The program will include Beethoven's String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95; the East Coast premiere of Robert Maggio's quartet Songbook for Annamaria; and Alfred Schnittke's Piano Quintet. "This program includes chamber music from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries," says Julie Rosenfeld, quartet violinist. "We are committed to playing new compositions by young composers such as Robert Maggio, whose quartet we recently premiered in Tucson. In the spirit of Dvorák and Bartók, Rob has taken folk tunes (in his case, American folk songs) and seemlessly woven them into the fabric of his new quartet. Alfred Schnittke's Piano Quintet, written in 1976 in memory of his mother, is one of the great pieces of chamber music of the last century. As in the Maggio, the composer has taken a musical motto, here B-A-C-H, and constructed a work of incredible power and beauty. And we are thrilled to be playing this work with our wonderful colleague here at Bard, Melvin Chen."

The quartet's residency at the College enables Bard students to study privately with the group's individual members—Rosenfeld and Deborah Redding, violins; Marka Gustavsson, viola; and Diane Chaplin, cello—as well as with the ensemble as a whole for both quartet and other chamber music coaching.

Another upcoming music program presented by The Bard Center, Da Capo Celebrates Bard, takes place on Friday, April 11, at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. This program, free and open to the public, features the Da Capo Chamber Players performing works by Bard Music Program faculty and Bard alumni/ae.

This concert is made possible, in part, through the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation at Bard College. For further information about the program, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.

About the Artists:

At the forefront of the international music scene since winning both the Naumburg Chamber Music Award and first prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 1983, the Colorado Quartet enjoys a reputation for combining musical integrity, impassioned playing, and lyrical finesse. Currently based in the New York City area, the Colorado Quartet appears regularly in major halls around the globe; most recently, the ensemble performed all 16 quartets of Beethoven in Berlin within one week, making it the first all-female quartet to complete this Herculean task in western Europe. Highlights of past years include tours of more than 20 countries and regular appearances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The quartet plays often in New York, appearing at the Mostly Mozart Festival—where it performed 20 Haydn quartets over a two-year period—as well as in concerts in the Great Performers at Lincoln Center series and in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. In 1995, the Colorado Quartet celebrated the 50th anniversary of Béla Bartók's death by giving Philadelphia its first complete performance of the Bartók string quartets.

The quartet has been featured on radio and television worldwide. Recent appearances in the United States include National Public Radio's St. Paul Sunday and Penn and Teller's Sin City Spectacular, seen on the FX television channel. The ensemble's critically acclaimed CDs include an album of contemporary compositions on Albany Records, and, on Parnassus Records, a CD of Brahms's quartets and another of Schubert's Death and the Maiden and the Mendelssohn F Minor Quartet, which received the 2001 CMA/WQXR Record Award. A recording titled Chamber Music of Henry Cowell, on the Mode label, appeared on the 1999 Top Five list in Gramophone magazine.

The Colorado Quartet is equally at home performing standard literature and newer works. It has premiered compositions by such leading composers as Ezra Laderman, Joan Tower, and Karel Husa, as well as composers of the younger generation. The group has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Foundation.

The members of the Colorado Quartet are known as inspiring and well-respected teachers. They have held residencies at the Oberlin College Conservatory, Philadelphia's New School of Music, and the Banff Centre in Canada. They have also given master classes at the Eastman School of Music, Northwestern University, Indiana University, and Cleveland Institute of Music. Quartet members are founders and artistic directors of the Bard College String Quartet Institute, a two-week summer institute for high school students, and the Soundfest Chamber Music Festival and Quartet Institute, a two-week festival held each June in Falmouth, Massachusetts, that celebrated its 11th anniversary in 2002.

Allen Kozinn, writing in the New York Times, notes that Melvin Chen is "a pianist whose playing is powerful and driven." Chen has been recognized as an important young artist, having received acclaim for performances throughout the United States and abroad. He completed a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University, and also holds a double master’s degree in piano and violin from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Seymour Lipkin and Glenn Dicterow, respectively. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics from Yale University, where, upon graduation, he was awarded the New Prize by the fellows of the Jonathan Edwards College. During his tenure at Yale, he studied with Boris Berman, Paul Kantor, and Ida Kavafian. An avid chamber musician, Chen has collaborated with such artists as Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom, David Shifrin, Robert White, Pamela Frank, Peter Wiley, and members of the St. Lawrence, Mendelssohn, Orion, Borromeo, and Arditti quartets. Chen has been heard both in solo recital and chamber music appearances at major venues throughout the U.S., Canada, and Asia, and at myriad music festivals, including the Bard Music Festival; Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival; Norfolk Chamber Music Festival; Chamber Music Northwest; and Music from Angel Fire. He is a performer on Wynton Marsalis’s series on music education, "Marsalis on Music," and may also be heard on recordings on the Discover, Nices, and KBS labels with violinist Juliette Kang. Chen is visiting assistant professor of chemistry and music at Bard, and also serves on the piano faculty of the Yale School of Music.

# # #


back to top

This event was last updated on 02-10-2003