Chiara String Quartet to Give New York premiere of Philip Glass' Piano Quintet at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chiara String Quartet to Give New York premiere of Philip Glass' Piano Quintet at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

On Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 2pm the Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) will give its final major performance presented by MetLiveArts in Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 5th Avenue). This culminating concert, celebrating 18 years together, is centered around the New York premiere of Philip Glass' Piano Quintet "Annunciation," with pianist Paul Barnes. The Chiara String Quartet opens the program with Nico Muhly's Diacritical Marks, written for them in 2011, and concludes with Beethoven's String Quartet in A minor, Op.132-one of the composer's most poignant final works.

Drawing upon Barnes and Glass' mutual love of ancient traditions, Glass based the melodic material for his Piano Quintet "Annunciation" on the Greek Orthodox byzantine hymn for the Annunciation. The text comes from Psalm 133:13, "The Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired her for his dwelling place." Part One opens with an ethereal chromatic chord progression leading to the first entrance of the chant stated by the piano and later developed by other members of the ensemble. In Part Two is a poignant meditation in which Glass connects the transcendental ethos of the original chant with his own spacious approach to musical time. The work ends with an increasingly energetic and ecstatic coda based on the opening chant transformed into scale passages that ascend and dissipate into a pianissimo chromatic flourish evocative of incense rising. This performance will be paired with the Byzantine strains sung by the Axion Estin Chanters.

Philip Glass' Piano Quintet "Annunciation," was commissioned by the Pearle Francis Finigan Foundation, Mike & Amber Kutayli, Rhonda Seacrest, and the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska in celebration of over twenty years of collaboration between pianist Paul Barnes and composer Philip Glass. The world premiere is Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the Lied Center for the Performing Arts.

The Chiara String Quartet will end full-time work performing together in September 2018, and characterizes its decision as made, "in a spirit of tremendous gratitude and love." Although the members of the group are each planning solo performance and teaching careers moving forward, the group plans to reunite regularly for special projects and performance opportunities. Learn more about future plans for the Chiara members at

Renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire as well as for creating insightful interpretations of new music, the Chiara String Quartet captivates its audiences throughout the country. Lauded for its "highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing" (The Boston Globe), the quartet is currently Hixson-Lied Artist-in-Residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was the 2015-2016 quartet-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Chiara Quartet has been performing 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 to critical acclaim in August 2016 on Azica. The quartet's previous album, Brahms by Heart, was released on Azica in March 2014. Chiara's discography also includes a Grammy-nominated recording of Jefferson Friedman's String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 on New Amsterdam Records.

The Chiara Quartet regularly performs in major concert halls across the country and has toured China, Korea, and Sweden. Recent collaborators include The Juilliard, Shanghai, and St. Lawrence String Quartets, Joel Krosnick, Roger Tapping, Simone Dinnerstein, Norman Fischer, and Paul Katz. The Chiara has been committed to the creation of new music for string quartet since its inception, and has commissioned composers such as Gabriela Lena Frank, Jefferson Friedman, Pierre Jalbert, Nico Muhly, and Robert Sirota.

The Chiara's honors include the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming; winning the Astral Artistic Services National Audition; First Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition; and the Guarneri Quartet Residency Award from Chamber Music America.

The Chiara trained and taught at The Juilliard School, mentoring for two years with the Juilliard Quartet, as recipients of the Lisa Arnhold Quartet Residency.Chiara (key-ARE-uh) is an Italian word, meaning "clear, pure, or light." For more information, visit

Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

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