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Betsy Jolas World Premiere at Tanglewood

Sandy and Rita at Tanglewood

Pictured outside Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, August 2nd are L-R, Rita Walsh-Wilson, Sandy Wilson, Anne Marie Soullière, Lindsey Kiang, Betsy Jolas, Wes York, Bob Scrofani and Claire Illouz.

The occasion celebrated the World Priemère of Betsy Jolas’s “Rambles through 44, The Mysterious Stranger (by Mark Twain)”. Jolas narrated the engaging tale, accompanied by an impressive Pierrot ensemble comprised Tanglewood Fellows. The new work, commissioned for the Tanglewood Music Center’s 75th Anniversary was welcomed with great appreciation and a terrific ovation.

Vote ASQ for “Best of the Bay”!

San Francisco Classical Voice readers have nominated the Alexander String Quartet for “Best Chamber Performers of 2014-15” in the SFCV‘s first “Best of the Bay” reader poll!

Vote Now!

The voting will remain open until Monday, August 17, end of day. SFCV will announce the winners the next week on their website and in their August 25 newsletter!

2014 World Premiere Performance of Robert Greenberg’s Invasive Species


How could you not vote for these guys? Just look at those socks!

Back on Nantucket Island!

The Alexander String QuartetWhat a joy to be back to play for the Nantucket Musical Art Society, where we have appeared in seasons past, but not for many years. The beautiful, unique ambiance of this historic place, not to mention the unbelievable beaches, definitely explains why people flock here in the Summer time.

I have been reminded of the wonderful experience of performing here in 1991. During that Mozart year the ASQ was performing an all-Mozart program interspersed with readings from letters of Mozart and his family. In each locale the presenters would choose a local person to do the readings. Here we were fortunate to have none other than the brilliant comedienne, Anne Meara, who was a summer resident. She was apologetic at the outset about her lack of knowledge about classical music, saying that her husband, Jerry Stiller, was the real classical music fan in the family (Of course, no one had heard of mega-star Ben yet at that point!)

But when the concert started, we were thrilled with the tone she took with those lively readings. She used her impeccable comic timing and facial expressions to imbue the words of Wolfgang and Leopold with contemporary relevance. Reminding us that these were real people and very humorous ones at that. She was able to capture the windbag Leopold and the playful and irreverent Wolfgang with such loving vividness, that we were starting our performances with tears in our eyes. They were tears of laughter and sometimes sadness, as she could not only convey the humor, but also the pathos of some of the passages (she was an excellent dramatic actress as well).

It really was a tour de force, but far from upstaging the music, she contributed to the depth of our appreciation of Mozart’s works. We were so saddened to hear of her passing recently, but proud that we were once privileged to share the stage with one of Americas most original and profound comic voices.

—Paul Yarbrough

Nantucket Musical Arts Society

August 4, 2015

First Congregational Church of Nantucket
Nantucket, Massachusetts
Mozart Quartet in D Major, KV 499, “Hoffmeister”
Shostakovich Quartet No. 4 in D Major, Op. 83
Brahms Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51 No. 1

Robert Greenberg’s “Invasive Species” — Video

Meet Janna Baty

Janna Baty, mezzo-soprano

Photo by Richard Blinkoff

July 31, ASQ joins soprano Janna Baty, Frank Morelli, and pianist We-Yi Yang in a performance of Thomson, Argento and Copland as part of the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Meet mezzo-soprano Janna Baty here:

Praised by the Boston Globe for “a rich, viola-like tone and a rapturous, luminous lyricism,” mezzo-soprano Janna Baty enjoys an exceptionally versatile career. She has sung with Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Daejeon Philharmonic, Hamburgische Staatsoper,L’Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Longwood Symphony, Hartford Symphony, the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Eugene Opera and Boston Lyric Opera.

She has sung under the batons of James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Michel Plasson, Carl Davis, Robert Spano, Steuart Bedford, Stephen Lord, among numerous others. As a soloist, chamber musician, and recitalist, she has performed at festivals worldwide, from the Aldeburgh and Britten Festivals in England and the Varna Festival in Bulgaria to theSemanas Musicales de Frutillar Festival in Chile and the Tanglewood Festival in the US. A noted specialist in contemporary music, Ms. Baty has worked alongside many celebrated composers, including John Harbison, Bernard Rands, Yehudi Wyner and Sydney Hodkinson, on performances of their music.

She has enjoyed a long collaboration with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and with them has recorded the critically lauded Vali: Folk Songs (sung in Persian); Lukas Foss’ opera Griffelkin; the world-premiere recording of Eric Sawyer’s Civil War-era opera Our American Cousin; and John Harbison’s Mirabai Songs. She joined the faculty of the Yale School of Music in 2008.

Norfolk Presents: Thomson, Argento and Copland

Jul 31
Friday at 8:00 pm
Norfolk Festival Music Shed
THOMSON: 3 Estampas de Niñes (Three Sketches from Childhood)
THOMSON: Stabat Mater for Soprano and String Quartet
ARGENTO: Three Songs from To Be Sung Upon the Water
THOMSON: Mostly About Love
COPLAND: Appalachian Spring

Buy Tickets

Meet Wei-Yi Yang

Wei-Yi Yang, Norfolk Chamber Festival Piano Faculty

Photo by Bob Handelman

August 1, the ASQ joins pianist Wei-Yi Yang at the Yale School of Music’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

Wei-Yi Yang

Pianist Wei-Yi Yang has earned worldwide acclaim for his captivating performances and imaginative programming. Most recently, he was praised by The New York Times as the soloist in a “sensational” performance of Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie at Carnegie Hall. Gold Medal winner of the San Antonio International Piano Competition, Mr. Yang has also performed at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and across Europe, Australia, and Asia.

A dynamic chamber musician with a diverse repertoire, Mr. Yang has collaborated with some of today’s most distinguished artists including the Pacifica, Cassatt, and Tokyo String Quartets, among numerous others. Mr. Yang has curated inventive interdisciplinary projects, such as collaborations with actress Miriam Margolyes as part of the “Dickens’ Women” world tour; lecture-recitals on the confluence of Czech music and literature; and multimedia performances of Granados’ Goyescas with projections of Goya’s etchings.

Mr. Yang studied first in the United Kingdom and then with Arkady Aronov in New York. Under the guidance of Boris Berman, he received his D.M.A. from Yale in 2004. Mr. Yang frequently presents master classes and performances in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Korea, and at Princeton University, Ithaca College, and the Hartt School. Mr. Yang regularly appears at festivals across the United States, from Norfolk to Napa Valley, and abroad, including Germany, Serbia, Montenegro, Mexico, and Scotland. In 2005 he joined the faculty of the Yale School of Music.

Norfolk Chamber Music Festival Tickets

Preview the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival

August 1, the ASQ joins pianist Wei-Yi Yang at the Yale School of Music’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Preview a couple of the works on this program via Spotify:


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