Chiara String Quartet presents ‘The Family of Strings’

Chiara String Quartet. Photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco.
Chiara String Quartet. Photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco.

Chiara String Quartet presents ‘The Family of Strings’

calendar icon13 Dec 2017    user iconBy Kathe C. Andersen

Lincoln, Neb.--The Chiara String Quartet presents the third concert in their final Hixson-Lied Concert Series titled “The Family of Strings” on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. in Kimball Recital Hall.

Renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire, as well as for creating insightful interpretations of new music, the Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; and Gregory Beaver, cello) captivates its audiences throughout the country.

Last fall, the quartet announced that the 2017-2018 will be its final concert season together. The group will finish performing together full time in September 2018. Members will continue as faculty in the Glenn Korff School of Music through the 2018-2019 academic year.

“The Family of Strings” is a celebration of the community of string faculty in the Glenn Korff School of Music and will include guests Professor David Neely, violin; Professor Clark Potter, viola; Professor Karen Becker, cello; and Professor Hans Sturm, double bass, as well as the winner of the Play with the Chiara competition, Maya Abboud, a graduate violist; and runner-up Ye-Eun Lyla Cho, a graduate violinist.

“We’re really grateful for our relationships with our string colleagues,” Fischer said. “We just wanted to celebrate the great string and chamber music in the Glenn Korff School of Music. This is such a perfect opportunity, in our final season together, to be able to open up our concert to our closest colleagues and collaborators.”

The program includes movements by Mendelssohn, Schubert, Bacewicz, Dvorak and others. The Chiara will also have a repeat performance of Beethoven’s ethereal Op. 132 String Quartet, played by heart.

“The concert features some of the most beautiful and beloved repertoire in the string chamber music literature,” Fischer said

The Chiara String Quartet will be playing pieces that feature each of their string colleagues.

“For example, we will be playing a movement from Dvorak’s bass quintet with Professor Hans Sturm,” Fischer said. “And we will be playing a movement of Schubert’s cello quintet with Professor Karen Becker.”

The program also features the first movement of Mendelssohn’s string octet, which will feature the Chiara, along with Becker, Neely, Potter and Cho.

“Mendelssohn wrote that piece when he was only 16,” Fischer said. “It’s a joyful piece, and traditionally it feels like a party on stage, so I think it will very much feel like that.”

Abboud will join the Quartet on Mozart’s String Quintets for the viola quintet in G minor. The Chiara has appreciated the chance to build awareness of collaboration and the importance of chamber music through the Play with the Chiaras competition.

“This competition has given students something to really work hard towards,” Fischer said. “And we’ve found that each year we do it, we’re astonished by the high level of performance that the students give in all rounds.”

Fischer said it’s a rewarding competition experience for both the Chiara and the students.

“It’s not just a one-shot deal,” she said. “You get to perform for us in the first round with solo repertoire. But then the second round is open to the public, and it is a rehearsal with us. We really enjoy that because it’s part of our goal as instructors just to be able to give, and also receive from them.”

Fischer said both Abboud and Cho were well prepared for the competition.

“What made Maya stand out was in that piece, she had a beautiful sound and approach and interpretation to bring to it,” she said. “And also, the way that our sounds blended and the way that we worked together, even in that short time, we wanted to do more of it.”

The program also includes a piece for four violins by Polish composer and violinist Grazyna Bacewicz.

“Professor Potter has graciously agreed to play violin in that piece as well,” Fischer said, joining her, Yoon and Neely for the piece.

The Chiara String Quartet will also be performing Beethoven’s Op. 132 String Quartet, played by heart. Fischer said it is one of the Quartet’s favorite pieces.

“It has five movements, and the middle movement is a huge, huge work—20 minutes long,” she said. “Beethoven wrote it close to the end of his life, and it’s a hymn of thanksgiving. It’s one of those pieces that when you hear it as an aspiring string quartet player when you’re in high school, it kind of transforms your life. For all of us, it’s a piece that has meant the world to us throughout our careers. So being able to play it together again at the end of our career [as a quartet] means a lot to us.”

Fischer said the Quartet has received “heartfelt expressions of support” since announcing this would be their last season together.

“It was very important to us that we let everyone know that our ending was not a result of animosity or anything like that,” she said. “It was just time for us to move on and expand our individual careers. So people are excited for us moving forward, and I think they’re also excited to hear about reunion tours that will pop up here and there throughout the rest of our lives. We’re looking forward to that as well. We will keep coming back together when we can.”

On April 17, the Chiara String Quartet will join Paul Barnes, Cappella Romana, Native American flute player Ron Warren and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Symphony Orchestra in “A Celebration of Philip Glass” at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The concert features the world premiere of Glass’s Piano Quintet No. 1 “Annunciation” with Barnes and the Chiara String Quartet.

“We’re very excited about that,” Fischer said. “Philip Glass is one of the great composers for the 20th and 21st centuries, and our quartet has only performed a little bit of Glass. This will be a real treat to work with Professor Barnes on the piece. He’s an avid performer and supporter of his work.”

Fischer said it’s also a fitting final performance in Lincoln for the Chiara String Quartet.

“Our string quartet has commissioned so many new works throughout our career,” she said. “It’s quite fitting that we would end our time here and end our time as a quartet with a premiere.”

Fischer encourages everyone to come hear “The Family of Strings” first in January.

“This will be the final time they will hear our group play a string quartet in Lincoln, in a large venue at least, while we are a full-time group,” she said. “But also, it’s just such extraordinary music, and they won’t want to miss it.”

Tickets are $20 adults, $10 seniors and $5 students. Advanced tickets are available from the Lied Center Box Office at (402) 472-4747.