March 10, 2017

This spring, the Dover Quartet – praised by the Washington Post for “impeccable refinement” – performs across Austria, Germany and Switzerland, making debuts on every stop of their eleven-city tour, with a varying program that features Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Smetana, Britten, Barber, and two contemporary composers the group has consistently championed: David Ludwig and Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw. Also this spring, having embarked in the fall on the first complete Beethoven quartet cycles of their career at SUNY Buffalo and the University of Connecticut, they complete the last few concerts of those respective cycles, as well as performing another at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival. Rounding out the quartet’s spring season are three performances at the Savannah Music Festival, a continuation of their residency at Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music, concerts on both coasts of the U.S., including a People’s Symphony Concert in New York’s Town Hall with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and more.

Although no strangers to Europe – in their early years they won a top prize at London’s Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition – the Dovers have yet to appear in any of the eleven cities in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland where they now look forward to making debuts (March 11-27). The program for the tour will vary from city to city, but nine of the performances will feature Mozart’s Quartet in F, K. 590, as recorded on their recently released recording debut, Tribute: Dover Quartet Plays Mozart on the Cedille label. Barber’s B minor Quartet is a close second with seven performances, Beethoven’s Op. 130 and Grosse Fuge get four, and Schubert’s “Rosamunde” quartet and Smetana’s “From My Life” get four each, with miscellaneous pieces by Haydn and Beethoven thrown in for good measure. With an enthusiasm not only for interpreting the classics but also growing and enriching today’s quartet literature, the group also performs 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).

Marking a first this season, the quartet is currently in the midst of two complete Beethoven cycles, and will soon undertake a third. The first began 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 three performances still to come (April 5, 6 & 7). Another cycle, at the University of Connecticut, has two concerts remaining (April 25 & 27), and at the end of May the quartet plays a third during a two-week residency at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival (May 26–June 11). In Montreal the group also takes 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 (June 8).

The remainder of the schedule in the coming months is no less demanding. The tireless quartet continues an educational residency at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music that features a full program of performances, coaching, masterclasses, and open rehearsals. They perform concerts across the U.S., including an appearance at Florida’s Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival; three concerts at the Savannah Music Festival, including one with five-time Grammy Award-winning bassist Edgar Meyer and one with violinist Daniel Hope, who is in his 14th season as Associate Artistic Director of the Festival; three concerts in California; an appearance in Baltimore’s Shriver Hall Concert Series; and the final concert of the season in their capacity as the first Ensemble-in-Residence in the 116-year history of the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts in New York City. Spanning a three-and-a-half-year period through fall 2018, the residency encompasses multiple recitals, outreach activities in city public schools, and the commissioning of a new composition by an emerging composer of the quartet’s choosing. For this spring’s performance they are joined by clarinetist Richard Stoltzman for Brahms’s B minor Clarinet Quintet, on a program that also includes Haydn and Shostakovich.

This past winter saw the Dovers embark on two collaborative U.S. tours, first with Edgar Meyer, with whom Dover cellist Camden Shaw performed Rossini’s Duet for Cello and Double Bass, before the whole quartet joined in on Meyer’s own bluegrass-inflected Quintet for Strings. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found the cello-bass duet “an exercise in virtuosity but also a gleeful display of humor and the joy of doing the thing they love best,” and Seen and Heard International raved that “the young musicians of the quartet … executed Meyer’s funk and humor with élan.” For their second high-profile collaboration of the season, the Dovers reunited 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. Composed for Avital, Cymbeline was the centerpiece of a tour with the Dovers that also included Six Miniatures for String Quartet and Mandolin by the late Georgian composer Sulkhan Tsintsadze. Toronto Concert Reviews found that in the Tsintsadze “Avital and the quartet had unbridled fun with each of these folk song arrangements and the joy spilled out to the audience.” Click here to hear the Dover Quartet and Avital play “Sunrise,” the opening movement of Cymbeline.

The release of the Dovers’ debut CD last fall was greeted with a cascade of positive press. Named “CD of the Week” by Classical Radio Boston, the album also scored five-star reviews from Audiophile Audition and Fanfare. Conceived as a tribute to the legendary Guarneri Quartet, members of which mentored the younger group at the Curtis Institute where they all studied and met, the album also recapitulates the repertoire of the Guarneri’s first recorded effort. Guarneri violist Michael Tree even joins the Dovers on Mozart’s C minor two-viola quintet, about which DC Metro Theater Arts proclaimed: “The sheer invention and fullness of sound that the Dover plus Mr. Tree produces in the Quintet is really breathtaking.” The UK’s Sunday Times found the disc “deeply affecting,” singling out its “surpassing beauty, a glorious timbral richness governed by what feels a continuous thoughtfulness.” Musical Toronto likewise praised the quartet’s “beauty of sound, graceful phrasing, and tempos that allow the music to be heard at its best.” As the review continued:

The Dover Quartet and Michael Tree get more out of this music than I can remember hearing in any previous performance. … This is glorious music-making and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The group has already recorded its follow-up title for Cedille: a World War II-themed collection of quartets by Viktor Ullmann, Simon Laks, and Shostakovich, due for release this fall.

To download recent photos, click here.

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Dover Quartet: upcoming engagements

March 11–27
European Tour

March 11
Lippstadt, Germany
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Barber: Quartet in B minor, Op. 11
Schubert: Quartet in A minor, D. 804, “Rosamunde”

March 12
Wuppertal, Germany
Haydn: Quartet Fragment in D minor, Op. 103
David Ludwig: Pale Blue Dot
Beethoven: Cavatina from Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130
Schubert: Quartet in A minor, D. 804, “Rosamunde”

March 14
Salzburg, Austria
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, Op. 95, “Serioso”
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”

March 18
Schwäbisch Hall, Germany
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Barber: Quartet in B minor, Op. 11
Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130, with Grosse Fuge, Op. 133z

March 19
Göttingen, Germany
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Barber: Quartet in B minor, Op. 11
Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130, with Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

March 21
Heidelberg, Germany
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Barber: Quartet in B minor, Op. 11
Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”

March 22
Stuttgart, Germany
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”

March 23
Aschaffenburg, Germany
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Barber: Quartet in B minor, Op. 11
Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130, with Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

March 24
Villingen, Germany
Mozart: Quartet in F, K. 590
Barber: Quartet in B minor, Op. 11
Beethoven: Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130, with Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

March 26
Biel, Switzerland
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”

March 27
Bern, Switzerland
Barber: Quartet in B minor, Op. 11
Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, Op. 95, “Serioso”
Britten: Quartet No. 2 in C, Op. 36

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, March 2017