December 5, 2016

Earlier this fall, the Dover Quartet made its recording debut with Tribute: Dover Quartet Plays Mozart on the Cedille label. Named “CD of the Week” by Classical Radio Boston, the album scored five-star reviews from Audiophile Audition and Fanfare’s Jerry Dubins, who heralded it as “music-making not of the highest order but of the next order,” and concluded: “How blessed we are to be living in a golden age of string playing. The Dover Quartet now takes that to the next level, platinum.” One of the works featured on Tribute is Mozart’s Quartet in B-flat, K. 589, of which – alongside quartets by Beethoven and Britten – the Dovers offer New York City audiences a live rendition this Saturday, December 10, in their role as the first Ensemble-in-Residence in the 116-year history of the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts. Winter also sees the unstoppable string quartet return to New York, to celebrate Mozart’s birthday with WQXR in a special live event and webcast from The Greene Space (Jan 27); embark on a U.S. tour with mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital (Dec 6; Feb 7, 11-19); and give recitals in Philadelphia (Jan 11 & 29), at Northwestern University (Jan 15), and at Washington’s Kennedy Center (Jan 9), where, as the Washington Post recognized, the Cleveland Quartet Award-winning group’s debut was “a triumph” that showed “why they should be on [music lovers’] must-hear list.”

Residency recitals at NYC’s Peoples’ Symphony Concerts and Northwestern University

In his glowing review of Tribute, Fanfare’s Dubins not only praised the Dovers’ all-Mozart album debut, but also reminisced about witnessing one of their live accounts of Beethoven’s “Razumovsky” Quartets, which he considered “the most electrifying, thrilling performances of the three works I think I’ve ever heard.” Similarly, when the quartet played Mozart and Beethoven to launch the second leg of its prestigious three-year residency at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music in October, Chicago on the Aisle found:

“This is the kind of bedrock repertoire that tests the interpretative mettle of any quartet, and the Dover excelled at every turn. Displaying a maturity that belies the age of its members, the group plays with uncommon intelligence and finesse and a pleasing, well-blended sound. Perhaps most impressive is how comfortable they seem with each other and with this music. …

“Showing its fine tonal blend and interpretative depth to advantage, the ensemble did full justice to [Beethoven’s Cavatina], conveying its devastating emotional impact with beautiful, sustained lines and artful phrasing. It was the kind of ‘wow’ moment that sets this young group apart.”

In this week’s recital at New York’s Peoples’ Symphony Concerts, the Dovers open with Mozart’s penultimate quartet, follow with Britten’s Second, and conclude with Beethoven’s third and final “Razumovsky,” Op. 59, No. 3 in C. The performance marks their first of the season in the venerable concert series, where their residency spans a three-and-a-half-year period through fall 2018, encompassing numerous recitals, outreach activities in city public schools, and the commissioning of a new composition by an emerging composer of their own choosing. They return to the series in late spring for a program of Haydn, Shostakovich, and Brahms, for which they will be joined by clarinetist Richard Stoltzman (May 7). Their Northwestern residency also features a full program of performances, coaching, masterclasses, and open rehearsals spread throughout the season, including a winter recital of Haydn, Smetana, and Britten (Jan 15).

On tour with Avi Avital

Shortly after October’s Northwestern recital, the Dover Quartet wowed the press again on its U.S. tour with five-time Grammy Award-winning double-bassist Edgar Meyer. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

“The Dover Quartet is one of the most lauded string quartets of the new generation, acclaimed not just for its accomplished playing but also for its innovative programming and imaginative interpretations. … Their performance was an exercise in virtuosity but also a gleeful display of humor and the joy of doing the thing they love best.”

For their second high-profile collaboration of the season, the Dovers reunite with Avi Avital – the first mandolin soloist to be nominated for a classical Grammy – to reprise David Bruce’s Cymbeline, which they performed together at the 2014 Savannah Music Festival. Also on the program are Six Miniatures for String Quartet and Mandolin by the late Georgian composer Sulkhan Tsintsadze and Smetana’s First Quartet (“From My Life”). This is their program for performances in Arkansas (Dec 6), Tennessee (Feb 7), and on a West Coast tour that takes in Portland’s Chamber Music Northwest (Feb 15), Eugene’s Oregon Bach Festival (Feb 18), dates in San Diego (Feb 16 & 17) and Vancouver (Feb 19), and Toronto’s Koerner Hall, where they present the Canadian premiere of Bruce’s quintet (Feb 11).

Recitals in Washington and Philadelphia

Dedicated not only to interpreting the classics but also to growing and enriching today’s quartet literature, the Dovers continue to champion two works that were recently commissioned for them, and that they subsequently premiered: Plan & Elevation (The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks) by Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw, and Pale Blue Dot, a depiction of Earth as seen from deep space, by David Ludwig, “a composer with something urgent to say” (Philadelphia Inquirer). Bookended by Mozart’s Quartet in F, K. 590 (as heard on Tribute) and Smetana’s “From My Life,” Plan & Elevation forms their program’s centerpiece when they return to Washington’s Kennedy Center (Jan 9). Both recent commissions will be featured alongside works by North American composers Nathan Currier, Vivian Fung, and Chris Rogerson when the quartet joins William Short, principal bassoon of the Metropolitan Opera, for a new music showcase at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia (Jan 11) and a performance at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York (Jan 14).

The Ethical Society concert marks the first of two upcoming Philadelphia recitals for the Dovers, who return to their alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music, to play Mozart, Britten, and Dvorák’s E-flat quintet with the conservatory’s president and CEO, violist Roberto Díaz (Jan 29). It was at Curtis that the Dover Quartet first formed, and its name pays tribute to Dover Beach by fellow Curtis alum Samuel Barber. Click here to hear the Dovers’ moving rendition of Barber’s Adagio for Strings on A Prairie Home Companion’s November 12 broadcast.

Complete Beethoven cycles in Buffalo, Connecticut, and Montreal

The Dover Quartet is currently undertaking the first complete Beethoven cycles of its career, in programs spread throughout the season in each of three cities. The first takes place at SUNY Buffalo, in the university’s celebrated “Slee Cycle” series. Named for Buffalo resident Frederick Slee, whose wife, Alice, set up a bequest in his name to fund it, and inaugurated in 1955 by the great Budapest Quartet, the “Slee” is probably the only concert series in the world to present Beethoven’s complete string quartets each year. Presenting the repertoire in the special sequence desired by Mr. Slee, the Dovers have four performances still to come (March 8; April 5, 6 & 7). The quartet also continues complete Beethoven cycles at the University of Connecticut (Feb 28, March 2; April 25 & 27) and the Montreal Chamber Music Festival (May 26–June 11). During their Montreal residency, the Dovers also take time out to play Mendelssohn’s beloved Octet with the winners of the upcoming Banff International String Quartet Competition, at which they themselves took the Grand Prize and all three Special Prizes in 2013.

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Dover Quartet: upcoming engagements

Dec 6
Fayetteville, AR
Walton Arts Center
Tsintsadze: Six Miniatures for String Quartet and Mandolin (with Avi Avital, mandolin)
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”
David Bruce: Cymbeline for String Quartet and Mandolin (with Avi Avital, mandolin)

Dec 7–9
Rockport, MA
Rockport Chamber Music Festival
Mozart: Quartet in B-flat, K. 589
Britten: Quartet No. 2 in C, Op. 36
Beethoven: Quartet in C, Op. 59, No. 3

Dec 10
New York, NY
Peoples’ Symphony Concerts
Washington Irving High School
Mozart: Quartet in B-flat, K. 589
Britten: Quartet No. 2 in C, Op. 36
Beethoven: Quartet in C, Op. 59, No. 3

Jan 9
Washington, D.C.
Kennedy Center Fortas Series
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Caroline Shaw: Plan & Elevation (The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks)
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”

Jan 10
Palm Beach, FL
Flagler Museum
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 2 in G, Op. 18, No. 2 (“Compliments”)
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”

Jan 11
Philadelphia, PA
Ethical Society of Philadelphia
Chris Rogerson: Quartet No. 2
David Ludwig: Pale Blue Dot
Caroline Shaw: Plan & Elevation (The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks)
Nathan Currier: TBD
Vivian Fung: Quartet No. 3
(With William Short, bassoon )

Jan 13
London, ON
The Jeffery Concerts
Wolf Performance Hall
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Britten: Quartet No. 2 in C, Op. 36
Shostakovich: Piano Quintet (with Arthur Rowe, piano)

Jan 14
New York, NY
DiMenna Center for Classical Music
Chris Rogerson: Quartet No. 2
David Ludwig: Pale Blue Dot
Caroline Shaw: Plan & Elevation (The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks)
Nathan Currier: TBD
Vivian Fung: Quartet No. 3
(With William Short, bassoon)

Jan 15
Evanston, IL
Recital: Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music
Haydn: String Quartet in D minor, Op. 103
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”
Britten: String Quartet No. 2 in C, Op. 36

Jan 27
New York, NY
The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, 44 Charlton Street
Mozart birthday live event and webcast with WQXR
Details TBA

Jan 29
Philadelphia, PA
Curtis Institute of Music
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Britten: Quartet No. 2 in C, Op. 36
Dvorák: Quintet in E-flat, Op. 97 (with Roberto Díaz, viola)

Jan 30–Feb 1
Evanston, IL
Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music
Educational residency

Feb 7
Chattanooga, TN
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”
David Bruce: Cymbeline for String Quartet and Mandolin (with Avi Avital, mandolin)

Feb 8
Fernandina Beach, FL
Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival
Mozart: Quartet in F Major, K. 590
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”
Britten: Quartet No. 2 in C Major, Op. 36

Feb 11–19
North American tour with Avi Avital, mandolin
Tsintsadze: Six Miniatures for String Quartet and Mandolin
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”
David Bruce: Cymbeline for String Quartet and Mandolin

Feb 11: Toronto, ON (Royal Conservatory of Music, Koerner Hall)

Feb 15: Portland, OR (Chamber Music Northwest)

Feb 16 & 17: San Diego, CA (UC-San Diego – Conrad Prebys Music Center)

Feb 18: Eugene, OR (Oregon Bach Festival)

Feb 19: Vancouver, BC (Vancouver Recital Society)

Feb 20-22
Evanston, IL
Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music
Educational residency

Feb 23
Urbana, IL
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (TBC)
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Caroline Shaw: Plan & Elevation (The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks)
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”

Feb 25
Lewisburg, PA
Bucknell University
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat, Op. 18, No. 6
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”

Feb 26
Harrisburg, PA
Market Square Concerts
Temple Ohev Sholom
Caroline Shaw: Plan & Elevation (The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks)
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 2

Feb 28
Storrs, CT
University of Connecticut
Beethoven Quartet Cycle: Part 3
Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat, Op. 18, No. 6
Beethoven: Quartet in A minor, Op 132

March 2
Storrs, CT
University of Connecticut
Beethoven Quartet Cycle: Part 4
Beethoven: Quartet in D, Op. 18, No. 3
Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, Op. 95, “Serioso”
Beethoven: Quartet in F, Op. 59, No. 1

March 4
Fort Worth, TX
Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth
Barber: Quartet in B minor, Op. 11
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 2

March 8
Buffalo, NY
SUNY Buffalo
Beethoven: Quartet in D, Op. 18, No. 3
Beethoven: Grosse Fuge, Op. 133
Beethoven: Quartet in F, Op. 59, No. 1

March 10–27
European Tour
Program: Beethoven, Schubert, Smetana, Britten, Barber, and Caroline Shaw

 March 11: Lippstadt, Germany

March 12: Wuppertal, Germany

March 14: Salzburg, Austria

March 18: Schwäbisch Hall, Germany

March 19: Göttingen, Germany

March 21: Heidelberg, Germany

March 22: Stuttgart, Germany

March 23: Aschaffenburg, Germany

March 24: Villingen, Germany

March 26: Biel, Switzerland

March 27: Bern, Switzerland

March 31
Fernandina Beach, FL
Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival
Amelia Baptist Church
Caroline Shaw: Plan and Elevation (The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks)
Barber: Quartet in B minor, Op. 11
Beethoven: “Razumovsky” Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2

April 1-4
Savannah, GA
Savannah Music Festival

April 1
Trinity United Methodist Church
Mozart: Quartet in B-flat, K 589
David Ludwig: Pale Blue Dot
Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130 with Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

April 2 (Daniel Hope and Friends featuring Edgar Meyer and the Dover Quartet)
Temple Mickve Israel
Edgar Meyer: String Quintet (with Edgar Meyer, bass)
Mozart: Divertimento in D for String Quintet, K. 136
Arensky: Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, Opus 35a
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48

April 4 (Daniel Hope and Friends featuring David Finckel, Wu Han, and the Dover Quartet)
Trinity: United Methodist Church
Dvorák: Romantic Pieces, Op. 75

April 5
Buffalo, NY
SUNY Buffalo
Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, Op. 95, “Serioso”
Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat, Op. 18, No. 6
Beethoven: Quartet in A minor, Op. 132

April 6
Buffalo, NY
SUNY Buffalo
Beethoven: Quartet in A, Op. 18, No. 5
Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130

April 7
Buffalo, NY
SUNY Buffalo
Beethoven: Quartet in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4
Beethoven: Quartet in F, Op. 135
Beethoven: Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2

April 16-19
Evanston, IL
Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music
Educational residency

April 20
Oakmont, CA
Music at Oakmont
Berger Center

April 22
San Jose, CA
San Jose Chamber Music Society
Haydn: Quartet Fragment in D minor, Op. 103
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 2
Beethoven: Quartet in A minor, Op. 132

April 23
Pasadena, CA
The Coleman Chamber Music Association
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 2
Beethoven: Quartet in A minor, Op. 132

April 25
Storrs, CT
University of Connecticut
Beethoven Quartet Cycle: Part 5
Beethoven: Quartet in A, Op. 18, No. 5
Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130, with Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

April 27
Storrs, CT
University of Connecticut
Beethoven Quartet Cycle: Part 6
Beethoven: Quartet in F, Op. 135
Beethoven: Quartet in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4
Beethoven: Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2

April 29
Baltimore, MD
Shriver Hall Concert Series
Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, Op. 95, “Serioso”
Britten: Quartet No. 2 in C, Op. 36
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 2

April 30
New York, NY
Mannes College – The New School for Music
Schneider Concert Series with Orion String Quartet
Mozart: Viola Quintet in G minor, K. 516
Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat, Op. 20

May 6
Millwood, NY
Friends of Music
Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, Op. 95, “Serioso”
Britten: Quartet No. 2 in C, Op. 36
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 2

May 7
New York, NY
Peoples’ Symphony Concerts
Town Hall
Haydn: Quartet Fragment in D minor, Op. 103
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 2
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 (with Richard Stoltzman, clarinet)

May 9–20
Fayetteville, AR
Walton Arts Center – Artosphere

May 21–23
Evanston, IL
Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music
Educational residency

May 26–June 11
Montreal, QC
Montreal Chamber Music Festival

May 26: Beethoven Quartet Cycle: Part 1

May 28: Beethoven Quartet Cycle: Part 2

June 2: Beethoven Quartet Cycle: Part 3

June 4: Beethoven Quartet Cycle: Part 4

June 8: Concert with Banff International String Quartet Competition winner

June 9: Beethoven Quartet Cycle: Part 5

June 11: Beethoven Quartet Cycle: Part 6

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© 21C Media Group, December 2016