Tag Archives: String Quartets

Our 46th season!

On February 16, 2017 we announced our 46th season!

Season subscription for our 2017-2018 season are now on sale.  Existing subscribers – you should have received your renewal information in late February.  You have until May 31st to renew and keep your existing seats.  Contact the box office at 416-366-7723 if you have not received your renewal information.

Quatuor Mosaïques open our season and our string series on October 19th with their Toronto debut.  Celebrating their 30th season, they will perform Mozart and Haydn on their period instruments.

November 7th will be the opening of our piano series with Benjamin Grosvenor.  This will be Grosvenor’s 3rd recital for us and we look forward to his return.

Another Toronto debut!  The Škampa Quartet perform on November 16th.  This outstanding Czech string quartet has released 15 award-winning recordings and now is your chance to hear them live in Toronto.

Montreal pianist Philip Chiu makes his Toronto recital debut with us on November 28th.

Our annual Gryphon Trio concert will finish out the 2017 calendar year for us on December 7th.

We start 2018 with the Brentano Quartet and soprano Dawn Upshaw performing together on January 11th.

Stephen Hough returns to our stage on January 23rd for our first piano recital of 2018.  He will be playing a number of pieces by Debussy in honour of the 100th year anniversary of Debussy’s death.

The exuberant St. Lawrence Quartet return for their annual visit on February 1st.

Esteemed pianist, Alexei Lubimov will make his Toronto recital debut, at the age of 74, with our February 6th concert.

The Apollon Musagète Quartet return on February 22nd

The Penderecki Quartet join us on March 15th.  This 31 year old quartet has been the Quartet-in-Residence down the road in Waterloo at Wilfrid Laurier University for the past 20 years.

Hungarian pianist Dénes Várjon closes our Piano Series for the 2017-2018 season on March 27th.

And the final concert of our 46th season will be the Toronto debut of the award-winning Schumann Quartet on April 12th.

We look forward to having you join us!  For more information on the individual concerts, please visit our website here http://music-toronto.com/season.htm

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Philharmonia Quartett Berlin

March 16, 2017 will be the 8th concert that the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin has played for us over the years.  Daniel Stabrawa (violin), Christian Stadelmann (violin), and Neithard Resa (viola) are all original members of the 32 year old quartet.  Dietmar Schwalke (cello) joined them in 2009 after the sudden passing of Jan Diesselhorst.

All four members of the quartet are part of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.  Daniel is the 1st Concertmaster and occasionally conducts the orchestra.  Christian is the Leader of the 2nd Violins.  Of the four, Neithard is the longest-serving member of the orchestra, originally becoming a member in 1978.  He served as Principal Violist until 2010.  Joining the orchestra in 1994, Dietmar is the ‘newest’ of the four.  In addition to the Quartet, he is involved in a number of chamber groups associated with the orchestra such as the 12 Cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic Capriccio.

Somehow with all of the demands on their schedules for performances and teaching, they have still managed to release a number of recordings over the years.  Their most recent ones are from 2014 (Beethoven) and 2015 (Brahms).

Join us on March 16th to hear Haydn’s Quartet in G major, Op. 64, No. 4, Beethoven’s Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 18, No. 6 and Schumann’s Quartet in A Minor, Op. 41, No. 1.   http://www.music-toronto.com/quartets/berlin.htm

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Prazak Quartet

The quartet was originally formed in 1972.  The current quartet members are Jana Vonášková (violin), Vlastimil Holek, (violin), Josef Kluson, (viola), Michal Kanka, (cello).  The quartet was formed by its original members when they were still students at the Prague Conservatory.  Kluson is the only remaining founding member.

The most recent addition to the quartet is violinist Jana Vonášková, previously a member of the Smetana Piano Trio.  Born in 1979 in the Czech Republic, she studied at the Prague Conservatory, gaining a scholarship to continue her studies at the Royal College of Music in London.  After graduating in 2005, she returned to Prague to study at the Academy of Performing Arts.

The quartet has released over 60 recordings in the past 40 plus years including 30 award-winning ones with Praga/Harmonia Mundi.

Read more about the quartet on their website – http://prazakquartet.com/en/

Join us on March 2nd to hear the Prazak Quartet play Haydn, Bruckner, and Dvorak.  http://music-toronto.com/quartets/prazak.htm

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Eybler Quartet

The Eybler Quartet performed for us a couple of years ago at one of our outreach events. We are excited to have them on our main stage this season. Formed in 2004, the quartet currently includes Aisslinn Nosky (violin), Julia Wedman (violin), Patrick G. Jordan (viola), and Margaret Gay (cello).

Their primary focus is on works of the first century of the string quartet and they like to bring attention to lesser known early composers. They are named for one such composer – Joseph Leopold Edler von Eybler. Eybler was a contemporary of Mozart.

The quartet perform period music on instruments appropriate to the time period. Nosky, Wedman, and Jordan are all part of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

You can read more about the individual performers on their website – http://eyblerquartet.com/

Join us on Thursday February 16th and hear the Eybler Quartet perform live in Toronto. They will play pieces by Vanhal, Haydn, Asplmayr, and Beethoven http://music-toronto.com/quartets/eybler.htm

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Franz Asplmayr

Franz Asplmayr was born in 1728 and lived to be 58 years old.  Born in Linz, Austria, he studied violin with his father initially and was mainly self-taught in composition.  He was a prolific composer of ballets, symphonies, chamber music.  Influenced by composers of the Mannheim School, Asplmayer combined techniques with the developing Viennese style.  During his life time he met both Haydn (in 1760) and Mozart (in the 1780s).

He moved to Vienna in the late 1740s.  In 1759 he started serving in the Imperial court.  He started as a secretary and violinist and eventually took over the duties of Christoph Willibald Gluck, the ballet composer for the Kärntnertortheater.  When this position finished, Asplmayr composed for Jean Georges Noverre’s ballet troupe.

We will be treated to one of his quartets with the Eybler Quartet on February 16, 2017 in Toronto.  Join us to hear Quartet in D Major, Op.2 No.2 by Franz Asplmayr.

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St. Lawrence String Quartet 2017

The St. Lawrence Quartet is back on our stage on January 26, 2017!  They have been performing on our stage since 1992 and are known world-wide as a very respected quartet.

Geoff Nuttall (violin), Owen Dalby (violin), Lesley Robertson (viola), and Christopher Costanza (cello) all return to perform the following programme this year for our audience:

Haydn – Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 20, No. 1

Jonathan Berger – “Swallow” (2014), written for the SLSQ

Leos Janacek – String Quartet No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata”

Haydn – Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5

 

The SLSQ is the quartet in residence at Stanford University.  For several years the quartet has been involved in a summer Chamber Music Seminar held there.  The dates for 2017 are from June 24 to July 2 and applications are being accepted until February 1, 2017.  This seminar gives attendees the opportunity to focus on chamber music by working with the SLSQ and special guest teachers.  For more information, visit this link https://music.stanford.edu/ensembles-lessons/ensemble-in-residence-slsq/slsq-stanford/seminar

We have a few previous blog postings on the SLSQ here on this site so feel free to do a quick search and read some of our past thoughts.  If you would like more information on the quartet or its members, you can find all of that on their website at http://www.slsq.com/   And to hear them in person in Toronto, come and join us on January 26, 2017 http://music-toronto.com/

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Jonathan Berger

Jonathan Berger is an American composer born in New York in 1954.  He obtained a Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts and a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Composition from Stanford University.  He currently holds the position of Denning Family Provostial Professorship in Music at Stanford University in California.

The founding co-director of Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SICA, now the Stanford Arts Institute) and founding director of Yale University’s Center for Studies in Music Technology, Berger composes for a wide variety of styles – opera, chamber, orchestral, vocal, to name a few.  His work has been performed world-wide and he has been commissioned by several music foundations and ensembles over the years.

Along with composing and teaching, Berger is a researcher in areas related to music, science, and technology with over 60 publications.

Read more about Berger and his works on his website at http://jonathanberger.net/bio/.  You can listen to some of his pieces on his site as well.  This link will take you directly to his music page – http://jonathanberger.net/all-music/

Join us with the St. Lawrence String Quartet on January 26th to hear his piece “Swallow”, written in 2014 for the SLSQ.  http://music-toronto.com/quartets/STLQ.htm

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Blue Engine String Quartet and Robert Kortgaard

December 1, 2016 brings us a concert called Pocket of Time, a musical tribute to Pulitzer Prize poet Elizabeth Bishop.  Soprano Suzie LeBlanc will be accompanied through out the evening by pianist Robert Kortgaard and the Blue Engine String Quartet.

For this concert, the Blue Engine String Quartet will feature Anne Simons (violin), Jennifer Jones (violin), Kerry Kavalo (viola), Hilary Brown (cello).  Formed in 1997, the members of the quartet are all members of Symphony Nova Scotia.  When not performing with the symphony or as the quartet, they are often sharing their knowledge through teaching.  You can read more about the quartet here – http://www.blueenginestringquartet.com/about.php

Pianist Robert Kortgaard was born in Regina and grew up in Calgary.  He studied at the Juilliard School, obtaining both his bachelor and his master’s degrees there.  He continued his studies in England and Italy thanks to awards from the Canada Council.  Today he is based in Toronto and travels the world to perform.  He is also the Artistic Director of the Leigh Summer Festival.  Find out more about the festival here – http://www.leithfestival.ca/

Join us on December 1st to hear these great artists live! http://music-toronto.com/quartets/suzi_leblanc.htm

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Suzie LeBlanc

Suzie LeBlanc will take to our stage on December 1, 2016 with a musical tribute to Pulitzer Prize winning poet Elizabeth Bishop.  She will be joined by pianist Robert Kortgaard and the Blue Engine String Quartet.

LeBlanc was born in Edmunston, New Brunswick and has performed around the world.  In addition to performing and recording, she is the co-artistic director of Le Nouvel Opéra (www.lenouvelopera.com) in Montreal.

While generally known for her baroque singing, her concert on December 1st will be focused on another one of her passions – Elizabeth Bishop.  She is the honorary patron of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia.  LeBlanc was involved in the creation of the Centenary Festival, which took place in 2011, and the Elizabeth Bishop Legacy Recording, which was released in 2012.  Find our more about Bishop on this website – http://elizabethbishopns.org/

Learn more about Suzie on her website at http://suzieleblanc.com/site/

The December 1st concert in titled “A Pocket of Time” and includes the following pieces:

The silken water is weaving and weaving by Alasdair MacLean

Sunday 4am (Elizabeth Bishop) by John Plant

String Quartet No 1, Mvts I – III; Serra Da Piedade de Belo Horizonte (piano solo); Cançao do Poeta do Seculo XVIII, W. 486 (Alfredo Ferreira Rodrigues) by Heitor Villa Lobos

Paris 7am (Elizabeth Bishop) by Ivan Moody

A short slow life (Elizabeth Bishop) by Emily Doolittle

6 Songs, Op. 107 by Robert Schumann

Lullaby for the cat (Elizabeth Bishop) by Peter Togni

 

Tickets can be booked from our website at http://music-toronto.com/quartets/suzi_leblanc.htm

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Hayden, Bartok and Beethoven

By guest writer Julie Berridge

On November 10, we will be enriched by the music of Hayden, Bartok and Beethoven, played by The Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc.  Read more about the concert here – http://music-toronto.com/quartets/arthur_Leblanc.htm

Hayden

The evening opens with Haydn’s Quartet in G Major, Op. 77, No.1.  Commissioned by Prince Joseph Lobkowitz and composed in 1799, it is one of Haydn’s most modern quartets.  It’s a relaxed and light-hearted work. Sometimes unadorned. Sometimes embellished.  And from start to finish, catchy and playful.

 

Bartok

Like Many of Bartok’s pieces, Quartet No. 4 has an archlike structure.  The first and fifth movements share related themes, as do the second and fourth.  The third movement stands alone.  Movements I, III and V are approximately six minutes long, and movements II and IV are about 3 minutes long.  The first movement transitions from clusters of notes to full cords.  The second movement is quick.  Full of trills, fast scales, and vibrato.  In the third movement, we hear elements of the folk and night music that Bartok is so well-known for.  Bartok’s pizzicato, the slapping sounds of the strings against the fingerboard, resulting from the aggressive plucking of the strings can be heard in the fourth movement.  The final movement features a recast of many of the themes in the first movement.

 

Beethoven

Beethoven’s Quartet in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3, “Rasumovsky”, opens in the first movement with an aura of mystery but soon transitions into what has been described as “party music accompanied by fireworks”.  A playground frolic with notes tossing back and forth.  The second movement is composed in the style of a Venetian boat song.  The third is delicate and beautifully intertwined, leading us to the final movement, a fast and vigorous fugue.

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