The Escher String Quartet Opens Segerstrom Center's 18/19 Chamber Music Series

The Escher String Quartet Opens Segerstrom Center's 18/19 Chamber Music SeriesSegerstrom Center for the Arts launches its 2018-2019 Chamber Series with the acclaimed Escher String Quartet on November 1, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. in Samueli Theater. Since its founding in 2005, the quartet has quickly garnered the reputation as one of the finest young string ensembles performing today. Their instrumental interplay, which combines technical precision with warmth and vitality, has reaped accolades nationally and abroad, and elicited invitations from Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman to be the quartet-in-residence at their respective summer festivals. In a review, The Strad wrote, "...a level of individual technical precision and a collective musical purpose that is endlessly compelling ... Sheer brilliance." Quartet members include Adam Barnett-Hart and Danbi Um, violins; Pierre Lapointe, viola; and Brook Speltz, cello.

Single tickets start at $39 and are available now online at, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket savings of 10 or more, please call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts applauds the Colburn Foundation for its support of the Chamber Music Series and its corporate partners including Kia Motors America, Official Automotive Partner; United Airlines, Official Airline; and Omaha Steaks International, Official Fine Food Retailer.

Mozart: Quartet in F Major, K. 590
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's (1756-1791) Quartet in F Major marks the third of the composer's "Prussian" quartets, so named because they were commissioned by the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm II. The influence of Joseph Haydn can be seen in many of Mozart's works. Here in particular, the quartet's structure follows certain guidelines laid down by Haydn and expanded by Mozart: four movements with contrasting tempi and styles. In the first movement, Mozart creates a charming texture from an interrelated pattern of unison arpeggios and scales, before ending with a witty surprise as the music quietly vanishes. The second movement is reminiscent of siciliana, a dance form which is often pastoral and bittersweet. An unsettled quality comes in the third movement with long oscillating lines shifting harmonically, occasionally to the point of dissonance. The final movement is fun-loving and virtuosic with each instrument given a chance to burst out with a solo.

Britten: Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) originally received a commission from American patroness Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge to compose the String Quartet No. 1 in 1941. The finished quartet was first performed in Los Angeles in September of that year, earning the composer the Library of Congress Coolidge Medal for Eminent Services to Chamber Music. This quartet is remarkable for the sound-world Britten creates, the structure of its movements, the way themes reappear in different guises, and for its unexpected key relationships. The unusual sound-world is evident from the first instant of the beginning movement where the two violins and viola-set very high in their range-play a pulsing pattern. The trills and whistling runs of the second movement culminate in a violent end, with the third movement bringing a world of calm. Demanding virtuoso performers, the final movement is relentless, racing to its resounding close on a D-major chord.

Dvo?ák: Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 "American"
In the summer of 1893 Antonín Dvo?ák (1841-1904) took his family to Spillville, Iowa, for a vacation. It was there that he sketched the "American" quartet, a piece that would become the composer's most well-known chamber music composition. In this work, Dvo?ák combines elements of many cultures: Slavonic intonations, music of American Indians and African-Americans. A shimmering halo of sound opens the work and serves as the foundation for the viola's presentation of the folk-like main subject. The second movement, distinguished by the lyrical beauty of its melodic line is both calm and melancholy. The vivacious third movement is built from two contrasting strains of music: one lively and dance-like, the other more lyrical and mysterious. In a spirit of joyous optimism, the finale recalls the main theme.


The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its expressive, nuanced performances that combine unusual textural clarity with a rich, blended sound. A former BBC New Generation Artist, the quartet has performed at the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall. In its home town of New York, the ensemble serves as Season Artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS), where it has presented the complete Zemlinsky Quartets Cycle as well as being one of five quartets chosen to collaborate in a complete presentation of Beethoven's string quartets. Last season, the quartet toured with CMS to China.

Within months of its inception in 2005, the ensemble came to the attention of key musical figures worldwide. Championed by the Emerson Quartet, the Escher Quartet was invited by both Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to be Quartet-in-Residence at each artist's summer festival: the Young Artists Program at Canada's National Arts Centre and the Perlman Chamber Music Program on Shelter Island, NY. The quartet has since collaborated with artists including David Finckel, Leon Fleischer, Wu Han, Lynn Harrell, Cho Liang Lin, Joshua Bell, Paul Watkins and David Shifrin, as well as jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, vocalist Kurt Elling, legendary Latin artist Paquito D'Rivera and Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux. In 2013, the quartet became one of the very few chamber ensembles to be awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.

The Escher Quartet has made a distinctive impression throughout Europe, performing at venues such as Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus, London's Kings Place, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Auditorium du Louvre and Les Grand Interprètes series in Geneva. With a strong collaborative approach, the group has appeared at festivals such as Heidelberg Spring Festival, Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival, Dublin's Great Music in Irish Houses, Risør Chamber Music Festival in Norway, Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival and Perth International Arts Festival in Australia.

The current season sees another extensive European tour, including debuts at Musik und Kunstfreunde Heidelberg, de Singel Antwerp, Budapest's festival and Bath Mozarfest. Alongside its growing success in Europe, the Escher Quartet continues to flourish in its home country, performing at Alice Tully Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Chamber Music San Francisco, and the Ravinia, Caramoor and Music@Menlo festivals.

Currently Quartet-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Tuesday Musical Association in Akron, the quartet fervently supports the education of young musicians and has given masterclasses at institutions such as the Royal Academy of Music in London and Campos do Jordão Music Festival in Brazil.

In Autumn 2016, the quartet released the third and final volume of the complete Mendelssohn Quartets on the BIS label. The set has been received with the highest critical acclaim; Volume II was listed in the Top 10 CDs of 2016 by The Guardian and hailed for its "sheer finesse" by Gramophone, while Volume III was nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Award. The quartet has also recorded the complete Zemlinsky String Quartets in two volumes, released on the Naxos label in 2013 and 2014 respectively, to accolades including five stars in The Guardian with "Classical CD of the Year", a Recommendation in The Strad, "Recording of the Month" on MusicWeb International and a nomination for a BBC Music Magazine Award.

The Escher Quartet takes its name from the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by Escher's method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is an acclaimed arts institution as well as a beautiful multi-disciplinary cultural campus. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence, offering unsurpassed experiences and to engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring arts-based education and community engagement programs. Previously called the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Center is Orange County's largest non-profit arts organization. In addition to its six performance venues, Segerstrom Center is also home to the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School.

The Center presents a broad range of programming for audiences of all ages, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming, free performances open to the public from outdoor movie screenings to dancing on the plaza and many other special events.

Segerstrom Center is a leader among the nation's performing arts centers for providing education programs designed to inspire young people through the arts. The Center's programs reach hundreds of thousands of students each year in five Southern California counties. Community engagement programs developed through the Center for Dance and Innovation and Center Without Boundaries also connect the Center more comprehensively with Orange County's many diverse communities. The CDI supports flagship artistic programming and a wide range of projects that celebrate innovation, nurture creativity and engage audiences of the future. It is home to the ABT Gillespie School and the School of Dance and Music for Children with Disabilities. The Center Without Boundaries develops partnerships with non-cultural organizations to help them in their own efforts to respond to the ever-changing needs of the community.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is also proud to serve as the artistic home to three of the region's major performing arts organizations: Pacific Symphony, Philharmonic Society of Orange County and Pacific Chorale, who contribute greatly to the artistic life of the region with annual seasons performed at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
In addition to Segerstrom Center for the Arts as a presenting and producing institution, it also identifies the beautiful 14-acre campus that embraces the Center's own facilities as well as two independently acclaimed organizations: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory and a site designated as the future home of the Orange County Museum of Art.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts - Samueli Theater
615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 8:00pm

Mozart: Quartet in F Major, K.590
Britten: Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25
Dvo?ák: Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 "American"

Tickets - Start at $39
In person - The Box Office
600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily
Online -
Phone - (714) 556-2787
Open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily
Group Sales - (714) 755-0236
Open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday

Segerstrom Center's 2018-2019 Chamber Music Series continues with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (January 22, 2019), Takács Quartet (February 28, 2019), Fauré Quartett (March 19, 2019), Third Coast Percussion (April 5, 2019), and Emerson String Quartet - Shostakovich and the Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy (May 14, 2019).

Information provided is accurate at the time of printing but is subject to change. Segerstrom Center for the Arts is a public, non-profit organization. "Segerstrom Center for the Arts" is a registered trademark.

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