Highlights from the 2012-2013 Season

The Alexander String Quartet | ASQ Blog

It is a rare pleasure to be at home for a couple of weeks with no teaching or administrative obligations at San Francisco State University. I am relishing some slightly less structured family time as well as the opportunity to catch up on a variety of chores and deferred obligations that escape the ASQ members when we’re caught up in the typical season and semester’s whirligig. My colleagues are currently scattered to the four winds, Zak in Hawaii visiting his folks with his young boys in tow. Paul is in Europe visiting family and friends and enjoying a wonderfully Schumann oriented travelogue to boot. We all look forward to hearing his reflections and some photographic journals from that trip on his return. Fred is spending family time on the east coast too and for my own part, I will head to Europe shortly, also to visit my vast extended family who will congregate from four continents in the Lake District in North West England, (a huge undertaking) as well a few side trips in London, Edinburgh and Stockholm.

I have spent a lot of time these few weeks with Lory Poulson and her partner Susan Gluck at PoulsonGluck.com, who together constitute our ever resourceful and “can’t-live-without” all-things-graphic sidekicks, when it comes to putting together our ever expanding catalogue of recordings on our label Foghorn Classics. In another capacity, Lory and Susan also assist us with our asq4.com webpage and now, most excitingly, the about to launch (and long overdue) FoghornClassics.com webpage, dedicated to our label and to the many artistic, whether musical, photographic, literary or technical collaborators who have helped our small label to grow and thrive over what now is nearly two decades. We truly hope that you will visit the new site soon and often and that you’ll provide lots of input and feedback as we get the interface up and running. As you will read there, we have some very exciting new releases in the pipeline and there are some new and exciting ways in which we hope you will consider participating.

Looking back over the ASQ’s season just passed, I am hard pressed to cite the single most memorable or enjoyable event. I fully expect that you will eventually hear something quite different from each of my colleagues. Certainly we were delighted to perform more Brahms quintets and sextets with our dear colleagues, violist Toby Appel and cellist David Requiro, both extraordinary artists and wonderfully generous collaborators. It was a thrill to have them stick around after we were wrung out like wet dishrags after our enormously intensive Menuhin Seminar and Festival at SFSU, to spend an extra week recording that wonderful repertoire. Close on the heels of that extravaganza, we had a wild week with our dear colleague Joyce Yang, visiting here in San Francisco during which we sat down to record the Brahms AND the Schumann Piano Quintets. The recorded evidence of both of these extended collaborations will be available before too long, thanks to Judy Sherman who made the trek from the East Coast to Produce both of these recordings. Hilarious episodes, already recorded in these blog pages document the comedy of the “wrong piano” but thanks to our wonderful friends and collaborators at Pro Piano, all worked out wonderfully well.

There was a lovely treat for all of the ASQ in our collaboration in May for MAKM with Anne-Marie McDermot. The long-anticipated encounter proved thoroughly worth the wait. Although we have crossed paths so many times in all these years, finally getting to play together was a welcome accomplishment for us all.

On the sentimental side, it was a particular pleasure to return to North Carolina and to Duke University where we enjoyed a truly memorable reunion with Eric Pritchard and his family. Eric who has been first violinist in the estimable Ciompi quartet for nearly 20 years was for 10 years, the ASQ’s first violinist. Between 1983 and 1993, Eric helped steer the ASQ through many treacherous waters and even more delightful escapades. We all have a lot of precious memories together and it was a wonderful opportunity for Eric and Zak to meet for the first time.

There are sure to be some wild times ahead for the ASQ in 2013-14 and I will look forward to sharing some of our plans here in the week ahead. Meanwhile, hoping you’ll pardon the lull in postings. We have been far from idle, rather merely preoccupied with keeping the home-fires burning.

— Sandy Wilson

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