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MusicWeb International Reviews Mozart: Homage

Alexander String Quartet - Mozart: HomageMusicWeb International‘s Brian Reinhart has a new review for our Homage recording of Mozart’s Six Quartets Dedicated to Haydn:

“The Alexander String Quartet manages a double-act of time travel in their Mozart set. Aside from the trip back to Mozart’s day, they also offer a performing style that brings to mind some of the great string quartets of the early stereo era. … These are resolutely romantic performances, with a goal of being just as gorgeous, elegant, and glamorous as can be … and boy, do they succeed. … The Alexanders are a luxury string quartet: big, rich, impeccably tuned instrumental sound. The flowing slow movement of K428 feels like its nine minutes are exhaled in one deep breath. …given the high quality of these performances and the immediate presence of the recording, napping is not something you’re likely to be doing.” —Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International

Read the full review on www.musicweb-international.com

Homage: Mozart’s Six Quartets Dedicated to Haydn on Foghorn Classics

SFCV Reviews Lieder Alive

Kindra ScharichSan Francisco Classical Voice critic Rebecca Wishnia reviews our recent LIEDER ALIVE concert with mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich:

“On Sunday, in a recital at the Noe Valley Ministry hosted by LIEDER ALIVE! — the San Francisco-based organization dedicated to art song performance — violinist Zakarias Grafilo’s arrangements for voice and string quartet helped bring Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder and Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder to life in an invigorating performance by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich and the Alexander String Quartet. … ” —Rebecca Wishnia, San Francisco Classical Voice

Read the full review at sfcv.org

Meet Kindra Scharich

Meet mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich before Sunday’s (6/14/15) Lieder Alive concert:

Kindra Scharich

Mezzo Soprano Kindra Scharich has been praised by The San Francisco Chronicle for her, “noble, vocally assured singing, with stately grace and deep-rooted pathos.” A versatile musician, she has sung over 25 roles in the lyric mezzo repertoire, and is equally at home on the operatic or concert stage.

A dedicated recitalist, Ms. Scharich has presented recitals for the American Composer’s Forum in Los Angeles, Lieder Alive, the Wagner Society Northern California Chapter, and the Yehudi Menuhin Seminar in San Francisco. A great proponent of German Lieder, she and San Diego pianist George Fee have developed numerous programs under the heading “Life in Lieder” , designed to educate and edify the public by means of this magnificent and under-represented genre. Their current season includes multiple concerts throughout northern and southern California.

Enthusiastic about working with living composers, in the spring of 2014 she premiered a new trio by composer Kurt Erickson and is currently collaborating with composer Janis Mattox on her Spanish chamber opera Sueños de Medianoche (Midnight Dreams).

Ms. Scharich studied voice and piano at Eastman School of Music and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocal performance at the University of Michigan. She also completed her post-graduate education at San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

See and Hear more from Kindra!

LIEDER ALIVE!

Noe Valley Ministry
San Francisco, California

Program:

Mahler Rückert-Lieder (arr. Grafilo) with mezzo-soprano, Kindra Scharich
Wagner Wesendonck-Lieder (arr. Grafilo)with with mezzo-soprano, Kindra Scharich

Meet Laura Krumm!

Laura KrummSunday the Alexander String Quartet performs Jake Heggie’s Camille Claudel: Into the Fire with mezzo-soprano Laura Krumm at Kohl Mansion, but you can meet her today:

“Praised for her “exceptionally beautiful mezzo” Iowa native Laura Krumm is a 2013 graduate of the prestigious Adler Fellowship of the San Francisco Opera. Ms. Krumm has been heard in several roles on the company’s mainstage including Rosina in the family matinee performances of The Barber of Seville, as the Countess Ceprano and Page in Verdi’s Rigoletto, and as a Maid in the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne. Ms. Krumm added a number of roles to her repertoire while with the company. She covered Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and Roméo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi. For the San Francisco Opera Center she created the role of Martha in the world premiere of Nolan Gassers’ The Secret Garden and she sang Laura in Jack Perla’s Love/Hate at the ODC Theater in association with the Opera Center. In concert with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Ms. Krumm performed arias from Le Nozze di Figaro, Cendrillon, and La Cenerentola. She joined the distinguished roster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago as a cover in their new production of Dvorak’s Rusalka in 2014 and made her Carnegie Hall debut singing the Alto Solo in Mozart’s Requiem with the New York City Chamber Orchestra also in 2014.…”

Find out more about Laura at www.laurakrumm.com!

Sunday
May 3, 2015
7:00 pm
Music at Kohl
The Great Hall
Burlingame, California

Tel: (650) 762-1130
Web: www.musicatkohl.org

Program:
Mozart Quartet in B-flat Major, KV 589, “Prussian”
Heggie Camille Claudel: Into the Fire with mezzo soprano, Laura Krumm
Brahms Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51 No. 1

Music At Kohl Mansion This Sunday

ASQ returns to Music at Kohl Mansion this Sunday with an exciting program of Mozart, Brahms and Jake Heggie with soprano Laura Krumm:

  • Mozart: Quartet in B-flat Major, KV 589, “Prussian”
  • Heggie: Camille Claudel: Into the Fire with mezzo soprano, Laura Krumm
  • Brahms: Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51 No. 1

Explore Camille Claudel: Into the Fire

Music at Kohl: Make Music Count Campaign!

ASQ Poland Recap

ASQ in Poland

Outside the High School for Music in Krakow

It would be pointless to attempt to conceal that it’s more than two weeks now since the ASQ’s return from our invigorating, unforgettable and soon to be repeated (one hopes!) Polish tour.

Untoward ending:

UNITED AIRLINES dropped the ball in canceling our non-stop return UA 902 from Frankfurt to San Francisco with less than 12 hours electronic notice while failing to protect transit options (5 full-fare paying passengers, including the cello). Lufthansa from Warsaw to Frankfurt and ended up coming home from there in an otherwise un-coordinated and free-form manner through a variety of Munich, Washington Dulles and Houston, arriving in some cases without baggage. United Airlines did not make the mistake of emailing their usual solicitation for our opinion about “our most recent UAL itinerary” – no surprise there…

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Last minute sound check un the Sukkenice in Krakow. Just a “small” sample of the stunning art on display at the National Gallery.

Picking up on the continuation of our trip…

The Gdansk concert at the Baltic Philharmonie was memorable in every sense. The audience was wonderfully attentive, including many children and students. I was pleased to introduce our encore of the Shostakovich 1st Prelude and Fugue (Zak’s transcription) with my heartfelt appreciation of our short but unforgettable visit to this arresting Baltic city and, in particular, my personal gratitude for almost 3 hours spent in the brand new European Solidarity Centre’s Museum. For a very recently published and related article, check out Rick Steve’s syndicated feature article. I heartily endorse his experience as described therein. I certainly plan to return.

Sandy's Birthday Bash

Lining up some of the flavored vodkas to “help” celebrate Sandy’s birthday

Our post-concert celebration at a nearby up-market hotel and restaurant complex involved some local vodka as well as a selection of local beers and an excellent variety of traditional Piroshki (wonderful stuffed pastries with typically savory combinations of spicy vegetables and sometimes meat too). Simple but very satisfying and entirely appropriate. I was personally gratified to forge a spontaneous friendship with a wonderful Polish cellist, Krzysztof Karpeta, principal of the Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra. We sat up until 1:30am trying each other’s cellos, playing Bach while comparing our respective bows and instruments.

The ASQ and our film entourage had an early departure the next morning but we did not escape the touching requests for autographs from our devoted cab drivers who expertly delivered us to the Gdansk train station in good time for our express train, bound for Vienna with a stop in Warsaw — where we disembarked right on schedule at half-past noon. Somehow we came unglued from each other, straggling through an improbable variety of alternative exits from the platform and surfacing in all the wrong places – including in nearby shopping centers! Finally after nearly 20 minutes of unnecessary stress and strife, we congregated in the station arrival hall and convened once again with our trusted fleet of matching black BMWs, spiriting us away once more to the Regent Warsaw Hotel and just a couple of hours to unpack and nap before plunging back into our anticipated rehearsal madness.

Bernd Musing of Arcus Bows with Sany

Sandy with Francis Kuttner’s Egger cello and Bernd Musing of Arcus Bows. Bernd is “helping” decide which Arcus bow to use for the Brahms Piano Quintet in Sunday’s lunchtime recital at the Royal Castle.

A 10 minute chauffeured trip back downtown to the Philharmonic delivered us to our back-to-back rehearsals with our old friend, Spanish clarinetist Joan-Enric Lluna freshly arrived from Geneva — and then on to our “newest” best friend, the renowned pianist, Boris Berman. We were all done by 7:30 allowing enough time to move on to the evening’s recital of Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert in the adjacent large hall of the Philharmonic by Chinese pianist, Zee Zee. Instead however, after a long travel-day for everyone and on top of two back-to-back rehearsals, we crumpled. Back at the hotel, we were greeted by one of the ASQ’s favorite bow-makers, Bernd Müsing of Arcus Bows, who had just arrived by car from Würzburg. We enjoyed a quick and fun supper together and then turned-in early for a much needed good night’s sleep.

The last two days of our Polish tour began early and featured a pair of noon-time concerts in the breathtaking mirrored and acoustically sparkling rooms of the Royal Castle, the whole of which was entirely re-constructed between 1977 and 1989 according to the paintings of Canaletto (painted between 1770-80). We performed both concerts on the Ellen M. Egger string quartet made in 1987 by instrument maker, Francis Kuttner, and Arcus S-8/9 bows by our bow-maker, Bernd Müsing, both or whom were present for both performances in this unique space. What a treat for everyone present!!

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Post-concert dinner at the Hotel Copernicus, Krakow

We loved our reunion with Joan-Enric, as well as our new-minted collaboration with Boris. Such kindred musical-spirits are unmistakable and irresistible, especially when encountered under such happy circumstances. These were “festival” performances indeed, with creative connections to be revisited soon and often. Saturday wound up with an elegant reception hosted by the Ambassador of the United Kingdom at the Philharmonic. Sunday’s finale was a distinguished reception, hosted at the residence of the Spanish Ambassador, in honor of our collaborator, clarinetist Joan Enric Lluna, and of the distinguished young Spanish violinist Leticia Moreno who performed the Shostakovich Concerto #1 that very evening with the Warsaw Philharmonic. Another great program under the direction of the young Armenian conductor, Sergey Smbatyan. What a festival and great way to remember our last evening in Warsaw.

Alexander String Quartet in Poland

In our own shadow in the lobby at the Jaggielonian Library, site of the specially curated manuscripts and scores

This trip to Poland was exceptional – everyone agrees – and how often does that happen?

We’ll hope to return before long — certainly we made wonderful new friends and were welcomed and assisted by exceptionally talented and experienced administrators who’s polished efforts behind the scenes make it possible for so many artists of all stripes, including the ASQ, to step forward and shine. Our gratitude goes to everyone at the Ludwig van Beethoven Association. Their efforts helped reveal the beauty and urgency at the core of the great music of Beethoven and his successors — including many Polish giants — to so many contemporary audiences today.

Our thanks to US Artists International who with funds provided by the N.E.A. and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation helped support the ASQ’s trip to the 19th Annual Easter Beethoven Festival. Thanks also to Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and to San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music for their help and guidance. Also to the Krakow-San Francisco Sister City Commission who graciously provided helpful advice and support and to the DocFilm Institute at SFSU for following and documenting an unforgettable tour. Lastly to all of our Polish friends and supporters, you have our enduring admiration, our gratitude and a special place in our hearts.

ASQ April East Coast Tour

This week, the ASQ prepares to head back to the East Coast for concerts from April 18-26 in Pennsylvania and New York!

Alexander String Quartet

Saturday
April 18, 2015
7:30 pm
Alexander Chamber Music Society
Ann’s Choice Chapel
Warminster, Pennsylvania

Tel: (215) 357-8449

Program:
Mozart Quartet in B-flat Major, KV 589, “Prussian”
Shostakovich Quartet No. 4 in
D Major, Op. 83
Beethoven
Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131

Thursday
April 23, 2015
2:45 pm
Aaron Silberman Concert Series
Baruch College, City University of New York
Engelman Recital Hall
New York, New York

Tel: (646) 312-5073
Web: www.baruch.cuny.edu/
or www.baruch.cuny.edu/bpac/

Program:
Mozart Quartet in B-flat Major, KV 589, “Prussian”
Brahms Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51 No. 1

Friday
April 24, 2015
7:30 pm
Baruch Performing Arts Center
Baruch College, City University of New York
Engelman Recital Hall
New York, New York

Tel: (646) 312-5073
Web: www.baruch.cuny.edu/bpac/calendar/

Program:
Mozart Quartet in F Major, KV 590, “Prussian”
Shostakovich Quartet No. 4 in
D Major, Op. 83
Beethoven
Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131

Saturday
April 25, 2015
8:00 pm
Emelin Theatre
Mamaroneck, New York

Tel: (914) 698-0098
Web: www.emelin.org/events-view/classical

Program:
Mozart Quartet in B-flat Major, KV 589, “Prussian”
Shostakovich Quartet No. 4 in
D Major, Op. 83
Beethoven
Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131

Sunday
April 26, 2015
4:00 pm
Howland Chamber Music Circle
Howland Cultural Center
Beacon, New York

Tel: (845) 297-9243
Web: www.howlandmusic.org/

Program:
Brahms String Sextet in G Major, Op. 36 with violist, Toby Appeland cellist, David Requiro
Brahms String Sextet in B-flat Major, Op. 18 with violist, Toby Appel and cellist, David Requiro

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