New York Philharmonic String Quartet To Make NY Recital Debut at 92nd Street Y, 11/12
The New York Philharmonic String Quartet will make its New York recital debut at 92nd Street Y performing Beethoven's String Quartet No. 4; Dvo?ák's String Quartet in F major, American; and Mendelssohn's String Quartet in F minor on Sunday, November 12, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. The performance will be co-presented by the New York Philharmonic and 92nd Street Y. Formed in January 2017, the New York Philharmonic String Quartet comprises Concertmaster Frank Huang, Principal Associate Concertmaster Sheryl Staples, PrincipAl Viola Cynthia Phelps, and Principal Cello Carter Brey.
The quartet made its debut in March 2017 as the solo ensemble in John Adams's Absolute Jest and reprised its performance on the Orchestra's EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour. The group also performed during the Philharmonic's annual Bravo! Vail summer residency, in July 2017. The New York Times called the ensemble "marvelous" and The Times called the players "exemplary" in their reviews of the performances of Absolute Jest in New York and London, respectively.
Musicians from the New York Philharmonic will return to 92nd Street Y on April 10, 2018, when pianist Benjamin Grosvenor - in his capacity as the inaugural recipient of the Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize at the New York Philharmonic - joins Philharmonic musicians in Brahms's Piano Quartet No. 1 and Schubert's Piano Quintet, Trout.
New York Philharmonic String Quartet
The New York Philharmonic String Quartet comprises four Principal musicians from the Orchestra: Concertmaster Frank Huang (The Charles E. Culpeper Chair); Principal Associate Concertmaster Sheryl Staples (The Elizabeth G. Beinecke Chair); PrincipAl Viola Cynthia Phelps (The Mr. and Mrs. Frederick P. Rose Chair); and Principal Cello Carter Brey (The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Chair). The group was formed in January 2017, during the Philharmonic's 175th anniversary season, and made its debut as the solo ensemble in John Adams's Absolute Jest in New York in March 2017, reprising the work on the Orchestra's EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour. All four members are multiple prize winners, have appeared as concerto soloists with the Philharmonic and orchestras around the world, and have appeared frequently in the Philharmonic's chamber music series at David Geffen Hall and Merkin Concert Hall.
Frank Huang has performed at the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia's Steans Institute, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, and Caramoor. He frequently participates in Musicians from Marlboro's tours, and was selected by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to be a member of the prestigious CMS Two program. Before joining the Houston Symphony as concertmaster in 2010, Frank Huang held the position of first violinist of the Grammy Award-winning Ying Quartet.
Sheryl Staples has performed chamber music for U.S. Ambassadors in London, Paris, Berlin, Beijing, and Hong Kong. She toured Mexico, Brazil, and Chile in 2013, and she has appeared at summer festivals including La Jolla Music Society's SummerFest, Boston Chamber Music Society, Salt Bay Chamberfest, and the chamber music festivals of Santa Fe, Mainly Mozart, Seattle, Aspen, Sarasota, Martha's Vineyard, Strings Music Festival, and Brightstar. She appears on three Stereophile CDs with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
Cynthia Phelps performs with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Jupiter Chamber Players, and the Santa Fe, La Jolla, Seattle, Chamber Music Northwest, and Bridgehampton festivals. She has appeared with the Guarneri, Tokyo, Orion, American, Brentano, and Prague Quartets, and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. She is also a founding member of the chamber group Les Amies, a flute-harp-viola group with Philharmonic Principal Harp Nancy Allen and flutist Carol Wincenc.
Carter Brey has made regular appearances with the Tokyo and Emerson string quartets, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and at festivals such as Spoleto (both in the United States and Italy) and the Santa Fe and La Jolla Chamber Music festivals. He and pianist Christopher O'Riley recorded Le Grand Tango: Music of Latin America, a disc of compositions from South America and Mexico released on Helicon Records.
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47) composed his 1847 String Quartet in F minor in memory of his sister Fanny, who had died of a stroke in May of that year. The quartet is a dramatic tour de force that represents the deep affection he had for his sister and his despair in losing her. Overworked, exhausted, and devastated by Fanny's death, Mendelssohn traveled to Switzerland to vacation with friends, where he completed what turned out to be his last major piece - he died two months later, in November 1847, also of a stroke. Mendelssohn had last worked seriously in the string quartet genre nine years before, and this F-minor quartet stands alone, with its drastic melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic shifts and dark emotions. The agitation of the first movement gives way to a sort of sarcastic scherzo, then a deeply mournful Adagio, and, ultimately, a virtuosic, restless, and intense finale. The "Requiem for Fanny" received its first performance as part of a private concert in October 1847, and its public premiere in November 1848, led by Joseph Joachim on the violin.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) composed his String Quartet No. 4 between 1798 and 1800. It was actually the last of the group to be completed in his Opus 18 set of six quartets, published in 1801. It is also the only Opus 18 quartet in a minor key, C minor - which would become the key that Beethoven reserved for his most dramatic, emotional works, as Mozart had before him. Despite the work's pathos and drama, there are playful interludes, such as the first movement's reference to Beethoven's upbeat Duet for two obbligato eyeglasses. The composer was apt to replace the traditional minuet with a scherzo; in this work he included both a minuet and scherzo (in a bright C major), but eliminated the slow movement. Composed somewhat early in his career, the quartet bears the influence of his predecessors, especially Haydn and Mozart, the latter of whom is particularly present in the first movement.
In 1893, while serving as director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City, Antonín Dvo?ák (1841-1904) and his family went on vacation to Spillville, Iowa, a small town with a predominantly Czech population. There he composed his most well-known chamber work, the String Quartet in F Major, American, in only 15 days. The work is inspired by Dvo?ák's impressions of what he saw as "American" music, including Negro spirituals and the pentatonic scale of Native Americans (particularly Plains Indians, whom he heard perform in Spillville). But Dvo?ák rejected the idea that his music directly borrowed from these sources, calling it "nonsense ... . I have only composed in the spirit of such American native melodies." Commentators are divided as to how much the quartet really reflects the American spirit; like the New World Symphony, the Quartet also conveys the spirit of Dvo?ák's native Bohemia.
Programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Tickets may be purchased at 92y.org/event/ny-philharmonic-string-quartet or by calling (212) 415-5500.
A Co-Presentation of the New York Philharmonic and 92nd Street Y
92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Avenue
Sunday, November 12, 2017, 3:00 p.m.
New York Philharmonic String Quartet
BEETHOVEN String Quartet No. 4
DVO?ÁK String Quartet in F major, American
MENDELSSOHN String Quartet in F minor