Bard News & Events

Press Release

BARD COLLEGE CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC PRESENTS TWO CONCERTS BY THE COLORADO QUARTET IN DECEMBER Colorado Quartet will perform the complete cycle of Bartók string quartets

Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard College Conservatory of Music offers two free chamber concerts by the Colorado Quartet, who will perform the complete cycle of Bartók string quartets, on Sundays, December 5 and December 12. The concerts will begin at 3:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. “The six string quartets of Béla Bartók are a towering achievement of this giant of the first half of the 20th century,” says quartet member Julie Rosenfeld. “Spanning his entire creative output, these quartets show the influence of Bartók’s research into ethnic folk musics of Europe, Africa, and Asia, as well as his total command of classical western music. This synthesis makes these quartets some of the most satisfying of the entire repertoire.” The Colorado Quartet first performed the cycle in 1995, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Bartók's death, and was a participant in that summer’s Bard Music Festival, which was dedicated to the music of Bartók. This year, in addition to these concerts at Bard, the quartet will perform the cycle in Las Vegas and in Cincinnati. “These four women are the musical equals of any string quartet in the world,” writes John Sutherland of the Colorado Quartet in the Seattle Times. “That’s a bold statement, but the musicians have the goods to back it up. . . . The Colorado Quartet demonstrated an amazing mix of individual and ensemble musicianship.” Artists in residence at Bard, the Colorado Quartet—Rosenfeld and Deborah Redding, violins; Marka Gustavsson, viola; and Diane Chaplin, cello—will perform the first half of a complete cycle of Bartók String Quartets, Nos. 1, 4, and 6, on December 5; on the following Sunday, December 12, the quartet will perform the second half of the cycle, Bartók’s String Quartets Nos. 2, 3, and 5. The mission of the Conservatory at Bard, which will open its doors to students in September 2005, is “to provide the best possible preparation for a person dedicated to a life immersed in the creation and performance of music,” says Robert L. Martin, director of the Conservatory, who is also vice president for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at Bard College. “We believe deeply in the value of an education in the liberal arts and sciences, not as a luxury, but as the best preparation for functioning competitively and creatively.” According to Melvin Chen, associate director of the Conservatory, who also teaches both music and science at Bard College, “Music, like all art, engages the mind and the heart. It redefines boundaries and questions limits in order to make a meaningful statement about the human condition. The education of the mind is therefore as important as the education of the fingers or voice. The greatest musicians not only have the technical mastery to communicate effectively, but also are deeply curious and equally adept at analytical and emotional modes of thought.” The Conservatory’s instrumental and composition faculty will include world-class musicians and composers, including pianists Chen, Jeremy Denk, Richard Goode, and Peter Serkin; violinists Ani Kavafian, Weigang Li, Laurie Smukler, and Arnold Steinhardt; violists Michael Tree and Ira Weller; clarinetists Laura Flax and David Krakauer; cellists Sophie Chao and Peter Wiley; double bassist Marji Danilow; flutist Tara Helen O’Connor; oboist Laura Ahlbeck; bassoonist Marc Goldberg; horn players Julie Landsman and Jeffrey Lang; the Colorado String Quartet; and composer Joan Tower. Courses in music history, theory, and aural skills will be taught by the faculty of Bard’s Music Program. In addition, members and principals of the American Symphony Orchestra will be available for instruction, coaching, and leading of sectional rehearsals in the Conservatory Orchestra. For further information about the lecture and concert series, call 845-758-7425. # Building on its distinguished history of innovation in arts and education, Bard College has launched the Bard College Conservatory of Music, which is currently accepting applications for admission for the Fall of 2005. This innovative, five-year, double-degree program is guided by the principle that musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. While training and studying for the bachelor of music degree with world class musicians and teachers and performing in state-of-the-art facilities, such as the new Frank Gehry–designed Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard Conservatory students will also pursue a bachelor of arts degree at Bard, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges. The graduating musicians will be capable of pursuing professional careers with the broad, deep knowledge afforded by a liberal arts education, ready to enter their professions with interpretive skills well beyond simple musical competence. For more information about the Bard College Conservatory of Music, call 845-758-7196, e-mail, or log onto the program’s website, # About the Artists: The Colorado Quartet has been 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 quartet enjoys a reputation for combining musical integrity, impassioned playing, and lyrical finesse. 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 quartet’s most recent release, Beethoven’s Quartets Op. 59 and 74, is on Parnassus Record. 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, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and 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. # # # (11/15/04)

back to top

This event was last updated on 12-16-2004