The Metropolitan Museum of Art Presents Chiara String Quartet, 5/11

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Presents Chiara String Quartet, 5/11

The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents the Chiara String Quartet in an encore performance on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 7pm in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium (1000 Fifth Ave) following their lauded 2015-2016 season MetLiveArts residency. The concert will include the New York premiere of Rome Prize-winner Pierre Jalbert's Canticle String Quartet No. 6 and Brahms' Clarinet Quintet with clarinetist Todd Palmer.

The Chiara Quartet premiered Jalbert's Canticle (String Quartet No. 6) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in February 2017. The piece was commissioned for them by the university's Glenn Korff School of Music, where the quartet is currently the Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence. Canticle consists of seven movements, highly contrasting in character, with movements I and VII serving as similar bookends to the overall arch of the work. Jalbert explains, "I have known the members of the Chiara Quartet for many years. Some of them were still students at Rice University when I arrived there in 1996 for my first full-time composition teaching post. Over the years, we have collaborated on many of my works, including my first string quartet and my Icefield Sonnets, based on the poetry of Anthony Hawley (husband of first violinist Rebecca Fischer). I have always been inspired by their performances and it was a thrill to be able to compose this new work for them." The piece opens with the quartet members striking various crotales, producing bell sounds that eventually blend with the string quartet - evoking the title, Canticle. The Chiara Quartet will record the work for an upcoming CD which will also include the composer's third and fourth string quartets.

Of the commission the Chiara Quartet says, "We are so excited to perform Canticle (String Quartet No 6), a brand-new piece by our dear friend Pierre Jalbert. We have performed and admired his music for years, and so the chance to commission him that was afforded to us by the UNL Glenn Korff School of Music was truly a dream come true. The finished result is revelatory and we truly cannot wait to share this new creation with our audiences in Lincoln and throughout the country!"

About the Chiara Quartet: 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 Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) captivates its audiences throughout the country. The Chiara has established itself as among America's most respected ensembles, lauded for its "highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing" (The Boston Globe). They were the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University from 2008-2014.

The Chiara Quartet has been playing string quartets and asking probing questions since 2000. Always interested in engaging with the music at its core as well as reaching audiences, the quartet has dedicated itself to finding ways to make the musical experience meaningful for all involved. In this pursuit the quartet has performed in venues from major concert halls to clubs, created interactive programs for all ages, and most recently taken to performing and recording from memory, or "by heart." Described by an audience member as "a 3-D experience for the listener," playing by heart is deeply rewarding for the Chiara as well; memorizing the score helps them to closely relate to the composer's compositional process. The Chiara's latest recording is Bartók by Heart, a 2-CD set featuring Bartók's six string quartets, played entirely from memory, released in August 2016 on Azica. The quartet's previous album, Brahms by Heart, was released on Azica in March 2014.

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. Recent highlights of the Chiara Quartet's international performances include extensive tours of China, Korea, and Sweden.

In addition to Bartók by Heart and Brahms by Heart, the complete Chiara discography includes a Grammy-nominated recording of Jefferson Friedman's String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 on New Amsterdam Records, the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets 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.

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