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Miró Quartet kicks off spring tour with Carnegie Hall recital

Miró Quartet Returns to Carnegie Hall on Friday, Jan 23 to Give New York Premiere of Kevin Puts’s Credo

“Playing of this caliber casts light on the path ahead.”

– New York Times

On Friday, January 23, the celebrated Miró Quartet kicks off its 2009 touring season with a return to Carnegie Hall, as part of the venue’s “Quartets Plus” series in Weill Recital Hall. The decidedly American program will include Charles Ives’s String Quartet No. 1, “From the Salvation Army” and Dvorák’s String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96, “American”. The recital will also feature the New York premiere of composer Kevin Puts’s Credo, which was commissioned for the Miró Quartet by Chamber Music Monterey Bay. After Carnegie Hall, the Miró Quartet’s spring tour will include stops at Virginia’s Wolf Trap (Jan 30), the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, (Feb 1), the University of Toronto (Feb 2), Dallas (Feb 9), Denver (Feb 18), and the quartet’s home base, the University of Texas at Austin (Feb 5; Mar 24; May 1), where the School of Music has – in part because of the Miró’s residency – just received an unprecedented $55 million gift.

Last season at the University of Texas at Austin, the Miró Quartet presented “Two Faces of America: The Light – The Dark”: two programs, each comprised of three American works for string quartet, which explore the many musical faces of our nation: both its lighter and its darker sides. These eclectic programs included works from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including the premieres of two new works commissioned by the Miró for the series, one of which was Credo by Kevin Puts.

The Quartet decided to commission Credo (“I believe” in Latin) to reflect on our time today in America. “It seems that war, violence, and economic hardship has forced all of us to question today what it means ‘to believe’: in our country, in our world, in ourselves,” explains the quartet’s violist, John Largess. “This poignant work explores the true reasons for hope in our human world: the miracle of the artist, the wonder of technology, the promise of a child, the message of hope for its own sake. This quartet intones a song of change for our world.”

Composer Kevin Puts shares his thoughts on Credo:

“When Daniel Ching of the Mirò Quartet asked me to write a quartet for a program exploring ‘the lighter side of America’, I wasn’t sure I could deliver. It was hard to find things to sing about. The government stubbornly and arrogantly continued to pour young lives and billions of dollars into a hopeless war, one to whose protest millions at home and abroad marched with what E.L. Doctorow described as ‘the appalled understanding that America was ceding its role as the best of hope of mankind,’ that ‘the classic archetype of democracy was morphing itself into a rogue nation.’ Also around this time, a disturbed loner finally enacted his plan to gun down a record-breaking number of his fellow students at Virginia Tech and – amazingly – this failed to prompt any heightened talks over gun control by politicians who feared they might offend their gun-loving constituents before the next election.

“One day on my weekly commute from New York to teach at the Peabody Conservatory, I noticed, as the train pulled into Baltimore, the word ‘believe’ emblazoned across a building. I later learned this was part of a campaign by the city of Baltimore to do something about the fact that ten percent of its population is addicted to either heroin or cocaine. As one who relies little if at all on blind faith, I found this to be a rather alarming approach. On the other hand, sometimes it seems all you can do is believe. For example, many of us believe we’ll find our way out of the mess. In the meantime, I have found solace in the strangest places:

“…in the workshop of a stringed instrument specialist in Katonah, New York, you can believe nothing in the world matters but the fragile art of violins and violas hanging serenely from the ceiling. He listens, chin in hand, as his clients play excerpts for him, then goes to work on their instruments with sage-like assuredness…

“…on the jogging path along the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, you encounter above and below you the steel girders, asphalt, and railroad ties of infrastructure, an immovable network of towering bridges and highways engineered by some deific intelligence…

“…from my apartment, I watched, in a window across 106th Street, a mother teaching her daughter how to dance.”

The Miró Quartet is singled out in $55 million gift to the University of Texas at Austin, the largest ever made at a public music school

The School of Music in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin has been named for Dr. Ernest and Sarah Butler, following the couple’s gift of $55 million, the largest single gift for a music school at a public university.

The naming of the “Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music” recognizes the Butlers for more than 25 years of philanthropic support for the School of Music, where the Miró Quartet is the Faculty String Quartet in Residence.

“We are excited about the future of what is now the ‘Butler School of Music’, and we are very confident about our decision for support,” remarked Dr. Ernest and Sarah Butler. “The Miró Quartet was a very critical and important reason for our additional support for the University of Texas and music and we look forward to a long relationship with the ensemble.”

The Butlers’ gift is designated for student, faculty, and program support, with more than half of the endowment targeting students’ needs. Their gift will be paid in installments over the couple’s lifetime, including a portion as a bequest.

Since 1983, the Butlers have created nine endowments in the School of Music to support students, faculty, and programs. In 2004, the School of Music named its opera program after the couple in appreciation of their $2 million endowment for the opera theater program.

Dr. Butler is a retired physician, who specialized in otolaryngology. He is a member of the College of Fine Arts Advisory Council, and past treasurer and trustee of the Texas Medical Association Foundation. Mrs. Butler is chairwoman of the Ballet Austin Board of Directors, a member of the Blanton Museum Council, and a member of the university’s Development Board. The Butlers are members of the university’s Chancellor’s Council, President’s Associates, and the Texas Exes.

For more information about the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music, visit the Web site at

A list of the Miró Quartet’s 2009 winter/spring engagements follows.

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MIRÓ QUARTET – Winter / Spring 2009

January 23

Carnegie Hall: “Quartets Plus” series

Weill Recital Hall, New York, NY

January 30

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts: “Discovery Series”

The Barns, Vienna, VA

February 1

Eastman School of Music: “Eastman-Ranlet Series”

Kilbourn Hall, Rochester, NY

February 2

University of Toronto: Chamber Music Series

Walter Hall, Toronto, ON, Canada

February 5

University of Texas at Austin, Butler School of Music: Mendelssohn 200th Anniversary Concert

Bates Recital Hall, Austin, TX

February 9

Dallas Chamber Music Society

SMU Meadows School of Arts, Caruth Auditorium, Dallas TX

February 18

Friends of Chamber Music Denver

June Swaner Gates Concert Hall, Denver, CO

February 19

Lincoln Center

University Center for the Arts Griffin Concert Hall, Fort Collins, CO

February 24

Friends of Chamber Music Vancouver

Vancouver Playhouse, Vancouver, BC, Canada

March 24

University of Texas at Austin

Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX

April 6

Faculty and Friends Chamber Music Series

Texas Christian University School of Music, PepsiCo Recital Hall, Forth Worth, TX

April 27

Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society

Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburgh PA

May 1

University of Texas at Austin, Butler School of Music

Bates Recital Hall, Austin, TX

May 9

Chamber Music Society of St. Cloud

Atonement Lutheran Church, St. Cloud, MN

June 5

Georgetown Symphony Society: Georgetown Festival of the Arts

Alma Thomas Theatre, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX

For more information please visit the Miró Quartet’s web site,

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