Mendelssohn String Quartet
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The Mendelssohn String Quartet has established a reputation as one of the most imaginative, vital and exciting quartets of its generation. The Quartet tours annually throughout North America with regular trips to foreign destinations.
The Mendelssohn Quartet was for nine years the Blodgett Artists in Residence at Harvard University, and has performed at such distinguished venues as Carnegie Hall in New York City, Washington DC's Kennedy Center and Library of Congress, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall in London, and the Tonhalle in Zurich. The resident quartet of the Eastern Shore Chamber Music Festival and formerly resident quartet of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Mendelssohn Quartet has performed at the Caramoor Festival, the Festival Pablo Casals in Prades, France, and makes frequent appearances at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival as well as the Ravinia, Aspen, and Saratoga Music Festivals. They were the first American ensemble invited to appear at the International Dialogues Festival in Kiev, Ukraine. The Quartet is often heard across the United States on Minnesota Public Radio's Saint Paul Sunday.
In the summer of 2005 the quartet returned to the Ravinia Festival, and in 05-06 their performances include a return to the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society with guest artists Kim Kashkashian and Timothy Eddy in a program of twentieth century masterworks entitled "A Little Night Music." They will also return to Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall for a special all-Mozart program with pianist Robert Levin, and New York's Metropolitan Museum for a performance with pianist Jonathan Biss. The upcoming season also includes performances with baritone Sanford Sylvan, as well as appearances in Pittsburgh, Houston, Connecticut, Rochester, California, Alabama and Oregon.
In the 2004-05 season the Mendelssohn String Quartet performed at Dartmouth College with actress Rosemary Harris in a concert of Beethoven, Shakespeare, and Huxley. Other performances included U.S. cities including Washington, DC, Boston, Buffalo, Syracuse, San Antonio, and the Caramoor Festival. The quartet also performed with violist Robert Mann, pianist Jonathan Biss, and clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein.
The Mendelssohn String Quartet has a strong commitment to contemporary music and has given world premieres of works commissioned by and for them. During the past several seasons, the Quartet performed the world premieres of string quartets by Bernard Rands, Augusta Read Thomas, David Horne, and Scott Wheeler. Additional composers who have written for the Quartet include Shulamit Ran, Ned Rorem, Bruce Adolphe, Mario Davidovsky, and Tina Davidson. The group has also performed the complete quartets of Arnold Schoenberg in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
The Mendelssohn String Quartet's most recent projects include a 2-CD release on the BIS label of the Mendelssohn Viola Quintets (with Robert Mann, viola), and of composers associated with Harvard University featuring works by Mario Davidovsky, Bernard Rands, Walter Piston, Leon Kirchner, and Earl Kim (with Lucy Shelton, soprano). Other recordings by the Quartet include the Quartets Op. 26 and Op. 70 with the Divertimenti Op. 37 by Ernst Toch for Laurel Records, Tobias Picker's New Memories for String Quartet for Nonesuch, and the music of George Antheil and George Gershwin for Music Masters Classics. Additional recordings on the Music Masters label include the Mozart and Weber Clarinet Quintets (with Charles Neidich, clarinet), and the first quartet of Arnold Schoenberg.
Other distinguished guests who have appeared with the Mendelssohn String Quartet in recent years include pianists Claude Frank, Ursula Oppens, Peter Serkin, and Menahem Pressler; sopranos Phyllis Bryn-Julson and Lucy Shelton; violinists Jaime Laredo and violist Scott Nickrenz; cellist David Soyer; and clarinetists Richard Stoltzman and Charles Neidich.
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