The Ebène Quartet Plays 4/19 Concert at the Jorgensen
The Ebène Quartet, young, confident and technically magnificent string players from Paris, are on a par with the hip Kronos and Turtle Island quartets, as comfortable with jazz and rock as with classical. But unlike their string brethren, Ebène embraces the core repertoire. They will perform a program of Mozart, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 19, at Jorgensen.
Dr. Glenn Stanley, UConn music historian with expertise in the German classic and romantic periods, will offer insights to the music and composers at a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m.
These musicians - Pierre Colombet and Gabriel LeMagadure, violin, Mathieu Herzog, viola, and Raphaël Merlin, cello - were the darlings of critics on their first U.S. tour in 2009 and won both "Recording of the Year" at the 2009 Classic FM Gramophone Awards and BBC Music Magazine's "Newcomer of the Year." In the summer of 2010 the Quartet made its Tanglewood and Mostly Mozart debuts. Two years ago, the talented foursome played a rich program at Jorgensen.
The Gramophone award celebrated their CD of Debussy, Ravel and Fauré string quartets, only the fourth time that a chamber ensemble has won this prestigious prize. This recording was named Gramophone's December 2008 Editor's Choice and received five-star ratings from both BBC Music Magazine and London's Sunday Times. The Ebène Quartet's live Haydn CD was released in February 2006 to worldwide acclaim. For Virgin Classics, Ebène released a Brahms CD in 2009 and a jazz and crossover CD - FICTION - in 2010.
At Jorgensen, the quartet will play Mozart's Divertimento in F Major, K. 138, one of the composer's "Salzburg Symphonies," written only for strings, without minuet and with a thrilling Presto. Next will be Mendelssohn's final piece of chamber music, Quartet in F minor, Op. 80, a symphony worth of emotion written in the months after the death of the composer's sister, Fanny, and just before his own. The second half of the program will be Tchaikovsky's String Quartet in D Major, Op. 11, "Accordion," with its familiar folk-based Andante cantabile.
Ebène, pronounced ay-BEN and meaning "ebony" in French, not only refers to the intensely black wood used in the fingerboards of their instruments but also to the jazz clarinet and their fascination with the great African American musical tradition they so love.
This won't be your grandmother's string quartet experience. Ebène has been described as playing "with a sense of controlled danger." Leave the opera gloves at home.
This concert is made possible by an Endowed Sponsorship gift provided by Jean & John Lenard and the generous support of the Alexander Hewitt Fund.
Jorgensen was named Best College/University Performing Arts Center in the Hartford Advocate Best of Hartford Readers' Poll for 2013 and 2012, and was named a Reader's Choice Winner by the Mansfield-Storrs Patch.
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2132 Hillside Road on the UConn campus in Storrs. Regular tickets are $36 and $34, with some discounts available. For tickets and information, call the Box Office at 860.486.4226, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., or order online at jorgensen.uconn.edu. Convenient free parking is available across the street in the North Garage.