Chiara String Quartet
2015-2016 Quartet in Residence
Death and the Maiden
Friday, May 6, 2016 at 7pm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
1000 Fifth Avenue | New York, NY
Tickets: Start at $50 at 212.570.3949 or
Bring the Kids for $1*
“remarkable … fresh and vital” – The New York Times
Chiara Quartet: www.chiaraquartet.com
New York, NY – The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents 2015-2016 Quartet in Residence, the Chiara String Quartet, in its final MetLiveArts concert of the season on Friday, May 6, 2016 at 7pm in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium (1000 Fifth Ave). The concert, titled Death and the Maiden, focuses on two awe-inspiring meditations on death by two great masters. The first, Schubert’s dramatic String Quartet No. 14, depicts the composer’s struggle to accept his own mortality, juxtaposed by Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 12 – the first of his “late” quartets – when he was completely deaf and near the end of his life.
Violinist Rebecca Fischer says, “The Chiara Quartet owes its origins to Schubert’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ quartet. In the summer of 1993, cellist Gregory Beaver and I were placed together in a student ensemble at the now-defunct Musicorda String Festival. We rehearsed for hours upon hours in the dorm’s laundry room, exploring the mystery of Schubert’s monumental composition, realizing that the dream of playing in a string quartet was something we wanted to pursue. Pairing it with Beethoven’s majestic quartet in E flat, Op. 127, makes sense to us. The two works share qualities: both have slow movements written in the form of Theme and Variations, and both are epic in their triumphant natures, although the nature of the triumph is decidedly different. Presenting this program, our final concert as the 2015-2016 quartet-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a treat for us.”
Renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire as well as for creating insightful interpretations of new music, the Chiara String Quartet captivates its audiences throughout the country. The Chiara (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) has established itself as among America’s most respected ensembles, lauded for its “highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing” (The Boston Globe). They are currently Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence at the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and were the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University from 2008-2014. For the 2015-2016 season, the Chiara is the Quartet in Residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Now in its 16th season, the Chiara has adopted a new way of performing: from memory, without printed sheet music. For almost all of the Quartet’s upcoming concerts, they will be performing entirely “by heart.” Of the process, the Chiara’s cellist Gregory Beaver says, “Each member must find a way to know the music inside and out – it has brought us much closer together in our music-making.” After memorizing a work, the Quartet is rewarded with deeply gratifying performances where each member feels fully present in the moment, truly performing with heart, by heart.
The Chiara is currently recording Bartók by Heart, a 2-CD set featuring Bartók’s six string quartets, played entirely from memory, slated for release in 2016 on Azica. The quartet’s latest album, Brahms by Heart, was released on Azica in March 2014. The 2-CD set includes Brahms’ String Quartets and his String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111 with violist Roger Tapping. The album, played “with infectious charm, exultant phrasing and nostalgic affection” (The Strad), was recorded by Grammy Award-winning producer Judith Sherman at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
The Chiara’s recent honors include the nomination of its recording of Jefferson Friedman’s String Quartet No. 3 for a Grammy Award in 2011 and the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming for the 2010-2011 season. Past awards include a top prize at the Paolo Borciani International Competition, winning the Astral Artistic Services National Audition, and winning First Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Awarded the Guarneri Quartet Residency Award for artistic excellence by Chamber Music America, the Chiara Quartet has also been the recipient of grants from Meet The Composer, The Aaron Copland Foundation, and the Amphion Foundation.
In addition to the Chiara Quartet’s regular performances in major concert halls across the country, including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the National Gallery in Washington DC, the ensemble was one of the first string quartets to perform in alternative venues for chamber music performance. The Chiara Quartet has performed innovative concerts in non-classical spaces including (le) Poisson Rouge and Galapagos Art Space in New York, The Tractor Tavern in Seattle, Avant Garden in Houston, and the Hideout in Chicago, among many others. Recent highlights of the Chiara Quartet’s international performances include extensive tours of China, Korea, and Sweden as well as performances at the American Academy in Rome, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival, and of Steve Reich’s Different Trains in Munich.
The Chiara Quartet is widely sought out for its innovative work in engagement with urban and rural communities of all ages. In 2012 the Chiara appeared with the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Michigan as residents in the community, performing in unusual venues including a vacant storefront and a Toyota factory. In 2011, the Chiara was the first judge of the online string quartet competition “The Quartet Project Challenge,” an opportunity for young quartets from around the world to post performances on YouTube and receive comments from a professional quartet. In the 2011-12 season, the Chiara presented a concert series at Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach, a unique organization serving the working poor and homeless in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In addition to Brahms by Heart and the forthcoming Bartók by Heart, the complete Chiara discography includes Jefferson Friedman’s String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 on New Amsterdam Records, the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets with Håkan Rosengren for SMS Classical, and the world premiere recordings of Robert Sirota’s Triptych and Gabriela Lena Frank’s Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout on the Quartet’s own New Voice Singles label. The Chiara is also featured on Nadia Sirota’s debut recording for New Amsterdam Records, first things first.
The Chiara has been committed to the creation of new music for string quartet since its inception, and has commissioned composers including Gabriela Lena Frank, Jefferson Friedman, Nico Muhly, Daniel Ott, Huang Ruo, Robert Sirota, Hans Tutschku, Carl Voss, and Michael Wittgraf, among others. Recent collaborators in performance include The Juilliard String Quartet, Joel Krosnick, Roger Tapping, Todd Palmer, Robert Levin, Simone Dinnerstein, Norman Fischer, Nadia Sirota, and Paul Katz, as well as members of the Orion, Ying, Cavani, and Pacifica Quartets.
In the summer, the Chiara Quartet is in residence at Greenwood Music Camp as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Chamber Music Institute. The Chiara trained and taught at The Juilliard School, mentoring for two years with the Juilliard Quartet, as recipients of the Lisa Arnhold Quartet Residency. Chiara (key-ARE-uh) is an Italian word, meaning “clear, pure, or light.”
The groundbreaking live arts series at The Metropolitan Museum of Art explores contemporary performance through the lens of the Museum’s exhibitions and unparalleled gallery spaces with singular performances and talks. MetLiveArts invites artists, performers, curators, and thought-leaders to explore and collaborate within The Met, leading with new commissions, world premieres, and site-specific durational performances that have been named some of the most “Memorable” and “Best of” performances in New York City by the New York Times, New Yorker, and Broadway World.
For more information and tickets, visit www.metmuseum.org/tickets or call 212-570-3949. Tickets are also available at the Great Hall Box Office, which is open Monday-Saturday, 11:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
*One full-price adult ticket allows you to purchase up to three kids’ (ages 7-16) tickets for $1 each.