Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily M. Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Colorado Quartet, Bard Center Fellows and artists in residence at Bard College, will perform in concert with guest cellist Robert Martin on Sunday, November 2, at 3:00 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 Quartet in E Minor, Opus 59, No. 2, “Rasumovsky”; George Tsontakis’s String Quartet No. 3, “Corragio”; and Anton Arensky’s Quartet in A Minor, Opus 35, for Violin, Viola, and Two Cellos (performed with Martin).

Julie Rosenfeld, quartet violinist, says of Arensky’s work, “Otherwise known as an upside-down quartet, this wonderful piece is Arensky’s homage to Peter Tchaikovsky. The quartet is in three movements, all of which allude to Tchaikovsky or death in some way. The first movement quotes a funereal Orthodox psalm; the second is a theme and variation on Tchaikovsky’s song ‘Legend’ (Opus 54, No. 5); and the third opens with a tune from the Orthodox requiem, then breaks into a theme familiar to string quartet listeners: a folksong celebrating the coronation of the czar, which is the same theme quoted by Beethoven in the third movement of his ‘Rasumovsky’ Quartet No. 2—also appearing on today’s program.” She adds another fortuitous note: “We were the cocommissioning quartet of Tsontakis’s piece, which we first played in 1989.”

It will be exciting for me to hear what the Colorado does with ‘Coraggio’—in terms of their interpretation and intensity—as it is more than fifteen years since I heard their first performances of it, which I remember as vital and insightful,” says composer Tsontakis, visiting professor of music at Bard. “Since then, the Colorado Quartet has grown in stature and assuredness. The notion that we are all colleagues at Bard this year makes the occasion even more special.

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 quartet and other chamber music coaching.

Other upcoming music programs presented by The Bard Center include the Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle’s concert, “Percussion Plus!” on Friday, November 14, free for students, their parents and teachers, $10 general admission for others; and on Wednesday, November 19, a concert by the Da Capo Chamber Players, free and open to the public. Both programs begin at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall.

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, on the FX television channel, Penn and Teller’s Sin City Spectacular.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 younger composers. 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 12th anniversary in 2003.

Cellist Robert Martin “offers polished, vital music-making in an imaginatively conceived program,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Martin, in addition to his work as vice president for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies, is also professor of philosophy and music at Bard. He is the coartistic director of the Bard Music Festival. Martin was the cellist of the Sequoia String Quartet from 1975 to 1985, during which time the ensemble made many recordings and toured internationally. He was the assistant dean of humanities at UCLA and founded and produced the Los Angeles chamber music series “Music for Mischa,” presented subsequently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Martin studied cello at the Curtis Institute of Music with Leonard Rose and Orlando Cole, and liberal arts at Haverford College. He made his New York recital debut, with pianist Richard Goode, in the Young Concert Artist Series. During his doctoral studies in philosophy at Yale University, he was the principal cellist of the New Haven Symphony and cellist of the Group for Contemporary Music, then at Columbia University. After receiving his Ph.D., he pursued a dual career in music and philosophy, holding joint appointments at SUNY Buffalo and Rutgers University. Martin is cellist of the Bard Festival String Quartet. He is currently president of Chamber Music America.

Composer George Tsontakis studied composition with Roger Sessions at Juilliard and conducting with Jorge Mester. He is the recipient of two Kennedy Center Awards, for String Quartet No. 4 and Perpetual Angelus, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ award for lifetime achievement. His music has been recorded on the Hyperion, New World, CRI, Koch, and Opus One labels; his works have been commissioned and performed by the American, Blair, Colorado, and Emerson string quartets; New York Virtuoso Singers; Aspen Wind Quintet; Orpheus; flutist Ransom Wilson; violinist Glenn Dicterow; and many other orchestras, ensembles, and musicians. He is a faculty member of the Aspen Music School and a founding director of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.


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This event was last updated on 11-04-2003