In preparation for their upcoming debut Music at Kohl Mansion performance, Carducci String Quartet violist Eoin Schmidt-Martin took some time to talk with MAKM Honorary Chair Sandy Wilson of the Alexander String Quartet.
Sandy: How are your preparations for this North American trip taking shape? Does this constitute your first trip to Northern California and if so, what are your extracurricular priorities as you plan your limited time here?
Eoin: Preparations are going well! We’re almost there with the packing and looking forward to our trip. We’ve been to Northern California a few times before and on a number of previous trips we’ve been fortunate enough to have had time to explore San Francisco. Michelle and I are bringing our seven-month old daughter with us so any extracurricular activities will certainly be baby friendly. Matthew and Emma are keen runners and plan to do some run-exploring!
Sandy: Given your very recent (early 2012-13 season) activities with your own Festival commitments and and so many touring and contemporary works, how have you prepared and organized your preparation for this short stint in the US? I am asking as a fellow touring quartet member and digging for some “dirt” on your daily in/out routine.
Eoin: I think in the context of what has been a very busy few months learning a lot of exciting new repertoire we wanted to make sure that the program for this trip included repertoire that we a) had performed many times and b) are scheduled for performance over the coming weeks. I’m sure you are all too familiar with the nightmare scenario where you almost have a different program for each day of the week! Nevertheless we have certainly been juggling a lot of repertoire and so have been looking at some pieces weeks (and in some cases even months) in advance.
Sandy: An unique question that I can’t resist (please skip, if you feel it’s too intrusive): How does your extraordinary interpersonal relationship within the quartet as two married couples influence your rehearsal and otherwise daily operational etiquette? The ASQ has become, though not initially, an all-male ensemble with no extra-quartet relationships. (We happen to be each married with children). As a matter of act however, we have worked closely with a few quartets within our Morrison Chamber Music Center Instructional Program as instructor/mentors, we have witnessed some very peculiar accommodations for these intra-quartet relationships, (the Afiara, the Hausmann and the Cecilia Quartets). We are in awe, as four guys who muddle through on a day in day out basis, how four people can work so intimately at work, – and then take it home too?
Eoin: This certainly is an FAQ! Although in a quartet it is somewhat impossible not to take your work home (as you are constantly planning, emailing, practicing etc) you have to try and find some balance between your work and personal lives – whether the quartet has couples in it or not. Certainly having young children will ensure that dinnertime conversations are rarely about work. Also one major bonus of being together in the quartet is all of the amazing experiences and traveling we have shared together over the years.
Sandy: What is on your personal agendas for an “off the map,” must see/do during this short sojourn in Northern California? Can we help?
Eoin: As our time is so limited on this trip I’m not sure if time will permit much. For Michelle and myself, any great family friendly restaurant recommendations would be very welcome. Matt and Emma I’m sure would love any tips on particularly scenic/interesting running routes.
Sandy: Tell us about your program at M@KM and why these selected works fit “your” agenda and how they fit with your extraordinary discography and your most recent concertizing and instructional outreach work?
Eoin: The Haydn “Sunrise” is one of our favorite quartets to perform and we have programmed it a lot this season – it certainly shows Haydn at his best! As 2012 is 150 years since Debussy was born we have been giving many performances of his amazing quartet this season and are particularly looking forward to performing it at Wigmore Hall in January. Mendelssohn’s F minor quartet is another favorite of ours, which we recorded a couple of years ago. When we give outreach presentations in schools we often include excerpts from these (along with many other) pieces, demonstrating the vast array of sounds, colors and textures the string quartet can produce and we’re always amazed at how excited and enthusiastic young kids can be about classical music!
Sandy: We are delighted to help welcome you here to Burlingame’s and one of the S.F. Peninsula’s most prestigious venues for chamber music. It will surely be a memorable debut and we will be sure to prepare to fete the occasion appropriately.
Eoin: Thanks so much for your warm welcome! We are very excited to perform at Kohl Mansion and cant wait to see it.
The Carducci String Quartet Performs at Music at Kohl Mansion:
Sunday, October 21, 2012 – 7 pm
Carducci String Quartet
Haydn: String Quartet in B-flat, Op. 76/4, “Sunrise”
Debussy: String Quartet in G minor
Mendelssohn: String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80
Pre-Concert Talk at 6 pm with Kai Christiansen
Already recognized as one of Europe’s top young quartets, the English-Irish Carducci String Quartet’s North American career began auspiciously with a win at the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Also prizewinners at multiple international competitions including Finland, France, England and Japan, the Carducci tours worldwide, and is in residence at the Aldeburgh Festival and recently launched its own festival in Gloucestershire, UK. Carducci is this season’s Music at Kohl Discovery Artist.