Jupiter String Quartet Plays Mozart, Bartók and Brahms at UConn with Pre-Concert Talk Tonight, 11/15

Jupiter String Quartet Plays Mozart, Bartók and Brahms at UConn with Pre-Concert Talk Tonight, 11/15

The Jupiter String Quartet, all of them string players as children who connected in their college years, will play a program of Mozart, Bartók and Brahms at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts in Storrs tonight, Nov. 15, 2012, at 7:30 pm. UConn Professor of Music History Alain Frogley will introduce the three highly contrasting works on the program in a pre-concert talk at 6:45 pm.

Named for the brightest planet in the night sky when they formed in 2001, the Boston-based Jupiter includes sisters, violinist Meg Freivogel and violist Liz Freivogel, plus Meg is married to cellist Daniel McDonough. The fourth player, violinist Nelson Lee, doesn’t have family ties per se but plays as if he does. The two men and Meg met at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and, when they were searching for a violist, Meg suggested her sister, Liz, at Oberlin College. The quartet finished their schooling in the Professional String Quartet Training Program at the New England Conservatory of Music.

“The young artists throw themselves into the music with an ardor that at times is near-manic. From the angry snarl (in agitated passages) to the beatific smile (when the music passes into a major key), their faces depict the most intense involvement,” the Washington Post said of a Jupiter concert at the Corcoran Gallery. “It is clear that they have worked out every 16th note and mood change together, and it’s always nice to hear complex music rendered with such verve and polish.”

The Jupiter will play the Mozart Quartet No. 21 in D Major, Bartók’s Quartet No. 1, Op. 7, and, in the second half, the Brahms Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51.

They have played at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, Jordan Hall in Boston and Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. They have toured in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Americas and wowed crowds at major festivals in Aspen (where they recently performed their first complete Beethoven quartet cycle), Seoul, the Caramoor International, Music at Menlo, the Yellow Barn and the Skaneateles.

The Jupiters have won first prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition, where they also won the Szekely Prize for best performance of a Beethoven quartet, and grand prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. They received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2008 and numerous other honors. They have recorded works by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Shostakovich and Britten, and American works by Barber, Seeger and Gershwin. The Jupiters are the String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Illinois and hold residencies at Oberlin Conservatory, Adelphi University and Atlanta’s Spivey Hall. They credit the Cleveland and Takács quartets for nurturing them in their early development. Jupiter enjoys engaging new audiences by performing outreach concerts for schools and community organizations.

For those uninitiated to the beauty of an accomplished string quartet, we offer this excerpt from a Jupiter review by a newcomer in The Other Paper of Columbus, Ohio: “It was passionate from the first note on. And it wasn’t an ordinary, fake, Dave Matthews-style, emo-weenie passion, but a mind-body-wooden-instrument-and-horse-hair passion the likes of which you don’t see in most groups.”

He describes Jupiter’s rendition of Beethoven, “Following his score, the musicians went at it like Teutonics battling the Romans in the wild woods of Bavaria. … Four stringed instruments did all that, and it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard or seen. You’ve simply got to see a string quartet before you die.”

And, if you’re wondering which one, follow the advice of composer and Bartók pianist Paul Schoenfield, who says, “You’re never going to hear a string quartet any better.”

Jorgensen was named Best College/University Performing Arts Center in the Hartford Advocate Best of Hartford Readers’ Poll for 2012 and the “Best Cabaret” designation in Connecticut Magazine’s “Best of Connecticut” 2011 and 2012 issues.

Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2132 Hillside Road on the UConn campus in Storrs. Tickets are priced at $36 and $34, with some discounts available. For tickets and information, call the Box Office 10 am –5 pm, Monday through Friday at 860.486.4226, or go to jorgensen.uconn.edu. Free, convenient parking is available across the street in the North Garage.

Photo Credit: Merri Cyr.