The Dover Quartet – winner of the 2016-18 Cleveland Quartet Award – launches the season with the release on October 13 of its second recording on the Cedille label

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Few young American ensembles are as exciting and accomplished as the Dover Quartet.”

New Yorker

The Dover Quartet – winner of the 2016-18 Cleveland Quartet Award – launches the season with the release on October 13 of its second recording on the Cedille label. Titled Voices of Defiance 1943 1944 1945, the new album takes listeners on a powerful, often harrowing, journey through three searing works written during World War II, by Viktor Ullmann, Shostakovich, and Simon Laks, all three of whom also feature in the Dovers’ full 2017-18 concert lineup. Other highlights include their debuts at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Washington’s Library of Congress; their first mainstage appearance at Carnegie Hall; and a pair of performances at the Kennedy Center, in collaboration with the Emerson String Quartet and in the trailblazing KC Jukebox series. Along with returns to Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the People’s Symphony Concerts of New York, and a host of other U.S. presenters, the ensemble looks forward to a weeklong residency at Canada’s Lunenburg Academy of Music and multiple performances throughout the season in the third year of their specially created faculty residency at Northwestern University. The Dovers also complete shooting on a feature-length documentary by award-winning filmmaker Bruce Broder, which follows them to Salzburg, the Kennedy Center, and other recent stops on their meteoric musical journey. Bringing rare musicianship and an infectious joy in music-making to repertoire ranging from Mozart and Tchaikovsky to Schoenberg, Duke Ellington, and Derek Bermel, the Dover Quartet is, as the Washington Post observes, “the very model of a modern young classical ensemble.”

Voices of Defiance 1943 1944 1945

Due for release by Cedille on October 13, the Dover Quartet’s second album celebrates three closely contemporaneous Voices of Defiance, with accounts of Viktor Ullmann’s String Quartet No. 3 (1943), Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 2 (1944), and Simon Laks’s String Quartet No. 3 (1945).

Austrian composer Viktor Ullmann (1898–1944) was deported by the Nazis to Theresienstadt in 1942, and remained active in the camp’s music program until he was murdered at Auschwitz two years later. It was in Theresienstadt that he composed his Third String Quartet, a life-affirming work whose vigorous ending belies the circumstances of its creation.

Like Ullman, Polish-Jewish composer and violinist Simon Laks (1901–83) was deported to Auschwitz, but as head of the prisoners’ orchestra, he became one of its few inmates to survive the Holocaust. Composed after the war in Paris, his Third String Quartet combines Polish motifs with a neoclassical predilection for balance, directness, and clarity.

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–75) is one of the towering figures of 20th-century composition, and the Second String Quartet is one of his longest works. Yet its tone is characteristically elusive, reflecting the game of cat-and-mouse that he was forced to play with Stalin’s Soviet Party throughout his career. Sometimes designated an “enemy of the people,” and at others a model citizen, Shostakovich bore continual witness to the horrors of political repression and the devastation of war.

In an informative and insightful liner note, Dover Quartet cellist Camden Shaw recalls:

Recording this album was an emotional process. Even disregarding historical context, the music itself is so powerful that it can bring tears to one’s eyes. But in the case of these particular works, knowing the darkness from which they emerged gives each note extra weight: they become at once even more tragic and more beautiful, the fragility and evanescence of the composers’ lives standing in sharp contrast with the immortal nature of their music.”

In live performance, the Dovers play Laks’s quartet alongside those of Schoenberg and Zemlinsky for their debut at Washington’s Library of Congress (Dec 18 & 19). Both the Laks and Ullman quartets appear on fall programs bookended by Mendelssohn and Schumann at the University of Texas at Austin (Sep 18), Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City (Sep 27), University of Winnipeg (Nov 4), and People’s Symphony Concerts in New York (Nov 18), where the Dovers recently inaugurated the series’ first ensemble-in-residence program. They also play Shostakovich’s post-war String Quartet No. 3 at Calgary Pro Musica, in a spring concert that sees them reunite with the Pacifica Quartet for Mendelssohn’s Octet (April 29 & 30).

High-profile dates in Amsterdam, New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and more

The Dovers make their debut at Amsterdam’s famed Concertgebouw this season, with a program of Haydn’s String Quartet in F-minor, Zemlinsky’s Third String Quartet, and Mozart’s String Quartet in D-minor, K.421 (Jan 17). Released last season, the group’s all-Mozart album debut, Tribute ­– offering what San Francisco Classical Voice calls “deep and enriching performances of some of the most profound music in the repertoire” – scored five-star reviews from Audiophile Audition and Fanfare’s Jerry Dubins, who heralded it as “music-making … of the next order.”

Following the group’s auspicious debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall last season, when the Dover proved itself “one of America’s fastest rising young chamber ensembles” (New Criterion), the quartet makes its first appearance in the venue’s Stern Auditorium. There it joins Concertgebouw Prize-winner Janine Jansen and Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame inductee Jean-Yves Thibaudet for Chausson’s haunting Concerto in D for violin, piano, and string quartet (Jan 21).

The Dovers return twice to the Kennedy Center, where their 2015 debut was hailed as “a triumph’ (Washington Post). In “A Chamber Music Celebration by the Numbers,” they join forces with the nine-time Grammy Award-winning Emerson String Quartet for Schoenberg’s arch-Romantic Verklärte Nacht and Mendelssohn’s beloved Octet (Oct 12), before returning for an all-contemporary program in the Center’s immersive KC Jukebox series. This sees quartet violinists Joel Link and Bryan Lee play solo pieces by Missy Mazzoli (b.1980) and Ted Hearne (b.1982) respectively, while the Dovers come together for works by Rome Prize-winner Derek Bermel (b.1967), who joins them on clarinet in an excerpt from his A Short History of the Universe (March 15).

In recent seasons the Dovers have premiered new works by David Ludwig, Chris Rogerson, Daniel Schlosberg, and Caroline Shaw, and two more living composers feature in their 2017-18 lineup. At Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center they play Serenata Notturna by Pulitzer Prize-winner William Bolcom (b.1938) with the work’s dedicatee, Richard Woodhams, principal oboe of the Philadelphia Orchestra and professor at the city’s Curtis Institute of Music (Oct 20). It was at Curtis that the quartet first formed, when its members were still teenagers, and their name pays tribute to Dover Beach by fellow alum Samuel Barber.

They also feature Four Miniatures for String Quartet by Grammy Award-winning composer Richard Danielpour (b.1956) alongside the First String Quartets of Bartók and Tchaikovsky, in concerts in Ashland, OR (Sep 29), Beacon, NY (Oct 22), Buffalo, NY (Dec 12), and during a weeklong residency at the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance in Nova Scotia (Oct 26–Nov 1).

Other highlights of an intensive concert season see the Dovers showcase Schoenberg’s String Quartet in D in Cleveland (Feb 13), Oklahoma City (March 25), and Kansas City (April 6). They undertake collaborations with pianist Amy Yang in Houston (Sep 19), double bassist Edgar Meyer in Santa Fe (Sep 28), cellist Carter Brey in La Jolla, CA (May 19 & 20), and with Avery Fisher Prize-winning clarinetist David Shifrin in St. Paul (Nov 12) and Beverly Hills, MI, where they pair Duke Ellington arrangements with the Brahms Clarinet Quintet (Feb 3).

Third season of faculty residency at Northwestern University

To round out their full schedule, the Dovers return to Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, where they continue the multi-season faculty residency that was created for them three years ago. In six three-day visits spaced throughout the season, they not only offer chamber coaching and masterclasses, but perform at the recently opened Galvin Hall on October 4, April 10, and January 26, when they play a program of Mozart, Zemlinsky, and Schoenberg during the school’s Winter Chamber Music Festival. It was after one of their previous Galvin Hall appearances that the Chicago Tribune marveled:

The Dover Quartet players have it in them to become the next Guarneri String Quartet – they’re that good. Expert musicianship, razor-sharp ensemble, deep musical feeling and a palpable commitment to communication made their performances satisfying on many levels.”

2016-17 highlights

Released last season, the quartet’s recording debut, Tribute, recalls the 1965 debut album of the Guarneri Quartet, whose founding violist, Michael Tree, joins the group on the disc. The first Beethoven quartet cycles of the Dovers’ career included performances at SUNY Buffalo, where they followed in the footsteps of the Budapest, Guarneri and Cleveland Quartets by performing the master composer’s complete quartet output in the university’s famous “Slee Cycle” series. In New York City, besides continuing a three-year tenure as the first Ensemble-in-Residence in the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts’ 116-year history, the Dovers performed at downtown hotspots SubCulture, the Greene Space, and Le Poisson Rouge, where they celebrated the relaunch of hit TV series Twin Peaks with an all-contemporary program showcasing music from its iconic score. They also gave a pair of North American tours, first with double-bassist Edgar Meyer and then with mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital; made debuts in eleven cities across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland; and performed at the Kennedy Center and in Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, and two dozen more U.S. cities. Their account of selections by Samuel Barber was broadcast on celebrated national radio show A Prairie Home Companion, and, highlighting a ten-day residency at Oregon’s Chamber Music Northwest, they gave the world premiere performances of two new commissions: Daniel Schlosberg’s Twin Peaks Fantasy and Chris Rogerson’s Commission. The adventurous group also succeeded in reaching hundreds of thousands of new fans with YouTube videos of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and the music from Twin Peaks. Click here to see a video trailer for the upcoming documentary about the quartet by Bruce Broder, director of the award-winning jazz documentary Chops (2007).

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Dover Quartet: 2017-18 engagements

Sep 18

Austin, TX

The University of Texas at Austin, McCullough Theatre

Recital: “Joy, Escape, Outlet, Gift”

Mendelssohn: Four Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 81

Simon Laks: String Quartet No. 3

Victor Ullmann: String Quartet No. 3

Schumann: String Quartet No. 2 in F, Op. 41, No. 2

Sep 19

Houston, TX

Chamber Music Houston, Stude Concert Hall, Rice University

Tchaikovsky: String Quartet in D, Op. 11

Bartók: String Quartet No. 1

Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 (with Amy Yang, piano)

Sep 22

Asheville, NC

Asheville Chamber Music Series

Mendelssohn: Four Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 81 

Schumann: String Quartet in F, Op. 41, No. 2 

Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 11 

Sep 24

Pittsfield, MA

South Mountain Concerts

Mendelssohn: Four Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 81 

Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 11 

Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34

Sep 27

Salt Lake City, UT

Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City

Mendelssohn: Four Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 81

Simon Laks: String Quartet No. 3

Victor Ullman: String Quartet No. 3, Op. 46

Schumann: String Quartet in F, Op. 41, No. 2

Sep 28

Santa Fe, NM

Lensic Performing Arts Center

With Edgar Meyer, double bass

Sep 29

Ashland, OR

Southern Oregon University Recital Hall

Richard Danielpour: Four Miniatures for String Quartet

Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 11

Bartók: String Quartet No. 1

Oct 1

Grand Forks, ND

Museum of Art

Oct 2

Mayville, ND

Mayville State University

Oct 4–6: Residency

Evanston, IL

Northwestern University

Bienen School of Music

Oct 4: Galvin Hall: recital

Mendelssohn: Four Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 81

Bartók: String Quartet No. 1

Tchaikovsky: String Quartet in D, Op. 11

Oct 12

Washington, DC

Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Fortas Chamber Music Concerts

Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat, Op. 20 (with the Emerson String Quartet)

SchoenbergVerklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (Emerson String Quartet’s Eugene Drucker, Larry Dutton, and Paul Watkins with Dover Quartet’s Bryan Lee, Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, and Camden Shaw)

Oct 15

Westport, MA

Concerts at the Point

Oct 20

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Kimmel Center

Tchaikovsky: String Quartet in D, Op. 11
William Bolcom: 
Serenata Notturna (with Richard Woodhams, oboe)

Bartók: String Quartet No. 1

Oct 22

Beacon, NY

Howland Chamber Music Circle

Richard Danielpour: Four Miniatures for String Quartet

Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 11

Bartók: String Quartet No. 1

Oct 26–Nov 1: Residency

Lunenburg, NS, Canada

Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance

Oct 28 & 29: recital

Richard Danielpour: Four Miniatures for String Quartet

Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 11

Bartók: String Quartet No. 1

Nov 4

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Virtuosi Concerts, University of Winnipeg

Mendelssohn: Four Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 81 

Simon Laks: String Quartet No. 3 

Viktor Ullmann: String Quartet No. 3 

Schumann: String Quartet in F, Op. 41, No. 2

Nov 12

St. Paul, MN

Schubert Club – Music in the Park

Saint Anthony Park United Church of Christ

(With David Shifrin, clarinet)

Nov 14-16: Residency

Evanston, IL

Northwestern University

Bienen School of Music

Nov 18

New York, NY

People’s Symphony Concerts

Mendelssohn: Four Pieces for String Quartet, Op. 81 

Simon Laks: String Quartet No. 3 

Viktor Ullmann: String Quartet No. 3 

Schumann: String Quartet in F, Op. 41, No. 2

Nov 19

Rye, NY

Westchester Chamber Music Society

Dec 12

Buffalo, NY

Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Kleinhans Music Hall

Richard Danielpour: Four Miniatures for String Quartet 

Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 11 

Bartók: String Quartet No. 1 

Dec 18 & 19

Washington, DC

Library of Congress

Victor Ullmann: String Quartet No. 3

Schoenberg: String Quartet in D

Zemlinsky: String Quartet No. 2

Jan 17

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Concertgebouw (debut)

Haydn: String Quartet in F minor, Op. 20, No. 5 

Mozart: String Quartet in D minor, K. 421 

Zemlinsky: String Quartet No. 2

Jan 21

New York, NY

Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium (debut)

Chausson: Concerto in D for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet, Op. 21 (with Janine Jansen, violin; Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano)

Jan 24–26: Residency

Evanston, IL

Northwestern University

Bienen School of Music:

Jan 26: Winter Chamber Music Festival, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall

Mozart: String Quartet in D minor, K. 421 

Zemlinsky: String Quartet No. 2

Schoenberg: String Quartet in D

Jan 27

Hamilton, ON, Canada

Chamber Music Hamilton, Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Pavilion

Program TBA

Feb 1

Beaver Creek, CO

Vilar Performing Arts Center

Feb 3

Beverly Hills, MI

Chamber Music Society of Detroit

Mozart: Quartet in D minor, K. 421 

Duke Ellington: Arrangements for clarinet and string quartet by David Schiff (with David Shifrin, clarinet)

Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 (with David Shifrin, clarinet)

Feb 9

Ames, IA
Ames Town & Gown

Haydn: String Quartet in F minor, Op. 20, No. 5 

Borodin: String Quartet No. 2 in D 

Mendelssohn: String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80 

Feb 11

Wooster, OH

Wooster Chamber Music Series

Feb 13

Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Chamber Music Society

Mozart: String Quartet in D minor, K. 421 

Schoenberg: String Quartet in D 

Zemlinsky: String Quartet No. 2 

Feb 21–23: Residency

Evanston, IL

Northwestern University

Bienen School of Music

Feb 24

Saratoga Springs, NY

Skidmore College

Feb 25

Utica, NY

Chamber Music Society of Utica

March 4

Tucson, AZ

Arizona Friends of Chamber Music

Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival

Zemlinsky: String Quartet No. 2 

March 15

Washington, DC

KC Jukebox series

Derek BermelHarmonica (first movement) 

Derek BermelA Short History of the Universe (third movement; with Derek Bermel, clarinet) 

Missy MazzoliSet That on Fire (Joel Link, violin solo) 

Ted HearneSnowball (Bryan Lee, violin solo) 

March 18

Fernandina, FL

Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival

March 25

Oklahoma City, OK

Chamber Music in Oklahoma

Mozart: String Quartet in D minor, K. 421 

Schoenberg: String Quartet in D 

April 1

Rohnert Park, CA

Sonoma State University, Green Music Center

April 6

Kansas City, MO

Friends of Chamber Music

Haydn: String Quartet in F minor, Op. 20, No. 5 

Schoenberg: String Quartet in D 

Mendelssohn: String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80 

April 7

Fernandina Beach, FL

Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival

April 9–11: Residency

Evanston, IL

Northwestern University

Bienen School of Music

April 10: Galvin Hall: recital

April 29 & 30

Calgary, AB, Canada

Calgary Pro Musica

Haydn: String Quartet in G, Op. 76, No. 1 

Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 3 in F, Op. 73 

Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat, Op. 20 (with Pacifica Quartet)

May 1

Kelowna, BC, Canada

Chamber Music Kelowna, Mary Irwin Theatre

(with Pacifica Quartet)

May 19 & 20

La Jolla, CA

La Jolla Music Society

Schubert: String Quintet in C (with Carter Brey, cello)

May 21–24: Residency

Evanston, IL

Northwestern University

Bienen School of Music

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© 21C Media Group, August 2017

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