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KU School of Music welcomes the Borromeo String Quartet for a residency featuring two concerts open to the public

Friday, March 22, 2013

LAWRENCE, KS —The Borromeo String Quartet, one of the most sought after string quartets in the world, will perform in two concerts on Wednesday, March 27 and Friday, March 29 at 7:30pm in Swarthout Recital Hall, Murphy Hall in Lawrence, KS.

The artists will be on the KU campus for a short residency. Along with their concerts, the Quartet will teach a master class, give lessons to KU School of Music students, and collaborate with professors.

The Borromeo String Quartet is in the midst of preparations for a cycle of five concerts in which they will perform the entire 17 string quartets of Beethoven. The concert on March 27 will feature one big segment of that collection, the six quartets of “Opus 18.” It’s extremely rare to experience a performance of six quartets at one concert.

Some of the students have been working on the same quartets of Beethoven, and they will be coached by the Quartet the day following the first concert.

The concert on March 29 will feature another part of their Beethoven cycle, “Quartet in e minor, Opus 59, No. 2”, as well as Brahms’ “Piano Quintet,” featuring Steven Spooner, associate professor of piano.

“We are very happy to have the privilege of having them not only perform for us, but also teach our students and collaborate with us,” Chung-Hoon Peter Chun, associate professor of viola at KU.

The concerts are free and open to the public. This event is sponsored by Reach Out Kansas, Inc. and The Law Offices of Smithyman & Zakoura Chartered.

About the Borromeo String Quartet

Since their explosive debut in 1989, the critically acclaimed Borromeo String Quartet has performed over 100 concerts of classical and contemporary music across three continents every season. As one of today's most adventurous quartets, they continue to push musical, intellectual, and technical boundaries to a level achieved by only a few.

The quartet has been redefining the classical music landscape through innovative uses of Macbook Pro laptops, video projection, and iPads in performance. They use on-stage projections of hand-drawn original manuscripts by composers such as Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Mozart, and Schubert to vividly illustrate the creative process hard at work, a practice which has excited audiences of all ages. In schools their use of technology is proving to make classical music now very relevant to students who have grown up in the digital age. The Borromeo Quartet makes their own videos and live concert recordings while on tour, and in 2003 started an on-demand recording project, the Living Archive, which made it possible for listeners to experience many of their concerts around the world.

The ensemble collaborates extensively with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Library of Congress, and can be heard throughout the year on National Public Radio and Public Radio International. It was the ensemble-in-residence for NPR's Performance Today in 1998 and 1999, and its longstanding residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has been called "one of the defining experiences of civilization in Boston" by the Boston Globe. The group performs an ongoing series at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York City as well.

The Borromeo Quartet has collaborated with artists, including Angélique Kidjo and Branford Marsalis; violinist Midori; pianists Christoph Eschenbach, Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman, Menahem Pressler, and Peter Serkin; sopranos Dawn Upshaw and Audra McDonald; clarinetists Richard Stoltzman and David Shifrin; and cellist Bernard Greenhouse, as well as members of the Brentano, Guarneri, Juilliard and Cleveland string quartets.

As quartet-in-residence at the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music for twenty years, the Borromeo Quartet has opened the "doors of perception" to a generation of young musicians who are now themselves being heard by audiences around the world. Their informal public master class series held at NEC, called "Early Evenings with the Borromeo," regularly attracts standing-room-only crowds. The ensemble returns to the Taos School of Music in New Mexico this summer for its eighth season of mentoring outstanding young musicians.

The Borromeo String Quartet has been heard in the most well-known concert halls, including Tokyo's Casals Hall, Daiichi Seimei Hall, the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, and the Opéra National de Paris-Bastille, as well as the Library of Congress, Alice Tully Hall, Jordan Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Kennedy Center. It has been invited to perform at music festivals around the world, including Spoleto, Orlando in the Netherlands, Music Isle in Korea, and throughout North America at the Rockport, Maverick, Marlboro, La Jolla, Music@Menlo, Ravinia, Vancouver and Tanglewood music festivals. First violinist Nicholas Kitchen was artistic director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival for six seasons.

In 2007, the Borromeo String Quartet received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, and since 2006, the Aaron Copland House has honored the quartet's commitment to contemporary music with its Borromeo String Quartet Award, which introduces the work of important young composers to audiences internationally. The Borromeo has enjoyed collaborations with such composers as Gunther Schuller, Lera Auerbach, Steve Mackey, Osvaldo Golijov, Derek Bermel, John Cage, György Ligeti, John Harbison, Leon Kirchner, Thomas Adès, Robert Maggio, James Matheson and Mohammed Fairouz.

The quartet recently released a CD of music by Béla Bartók, Gunther Schuller and Mohammed Fairouz, which features both live and studio versions of Schuller's String Quartet No. 4. Gramophone Magazine hailed the "great clarity and beauty" and "ravishing fury" of the BSQ's studio recording of masterworks by Beethoven, and their CD featuring works of Maurice Ravel was honored with the Chamber Music America/WQXR Award for Recording Excellence in 2001.

The ensemble was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society in 2005 to conduct a five-month-long series of outreach concerts throughout the city focused on the music of Béla Bartók, including Bartók Night, a one-act play for solo actor and string quartet by playwright Lynne Conner. In addition, the quartet serves as an advisor to Community MusicWorks of Providence, Rhode Island, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of inner-city youth and families through classical music.

The quartet has received many prestigious awards throughout their illustrious 22-year career, including the Martin E. Segal Award, Chamber Music America's Cleveland Quartet Award, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and top prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. (Photo credit: Eli Akerstein)

For more information, contact the KU School of Music at 785-864-3436. music.ku.edu.

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