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Three Debuts, Two World Premieres, and Previews of Recordings to Come Highlight Dover Quartet’s Full Summer Season

After making debut appearances in eleven cities across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland earlier this season, the Dover Quartet – “among the best young quartets today” (Washington Post) – returns to Germany to launch the summer with its first appearance at the Rheingau Music Festival (July 8) and a performance at Schloss Ortenberg (July 9). There, as at its subsequent Minnesota Beethoven Festival debut (July 18) and return to the Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, NY (Aug 6), the group previews music from its forthcoming album release, Voices of Defiance 1943 1944 1945. Highlighting a ten-day residency at Oregon’s Chamber Music Northwest (July 20–30), the quartet gives the world premiere performances of two new commissions – Daniel Schlosberg’s Twin Peaks Fantasy and Chris Rogerson’s Commission – and an all-Schumann program that anticipates its next recording project. Besides returning to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (Aug 16 & 21) and Canada’s Victoria Summer Music Festival (Aug 8 & 9), the group makes its Mexican debut with an appearance at the Festival Internacional de Música San Miguel de Allende (Aug 11–12). These summer festival dates round out another full and triumphant season, crowned by the quartet’s recent Avery Fisher Career Grant win. As Strad magazine notes, “with their exceptional interpretive maturity, tonal refinement and taut ensemble,” the Dovers are “pulling away from their peers.” Click here to hear the Dover Quartet play the first movement of Schlosberg’s Twin Peaks Fantasy in the WQXR studio; here to learn more about the Dovers’ Twin Peaks project on WQXR; here to see it named as one of Rolling Stone’s “Five things you should check out this week”; and here to read a New York Times piece about it by Michael Cooper (who is, as he notes, “no relation to Special Agent Dale Cooper”).

Showcasing music from recordings in Germany, Minnesota, and New York

Due for release this fall, the Dovers’ next album – their second on the Cedille label – is Voices of Defiance 1943 1944 1945, which takes listeners on a powerful, often harrowing journey through three works written during World War II. The least well-known of these is by Polish-Jewish composer and violinist Simon Laks (1901–83), who served as head of the prisoners’ orchestra in Auschwitz, yet went on to survive the war by many decades. Blending Polish motifs with a neoclassical feel for clarity and balance, his String Quartet No. 3 (1945) figures prominently in the Dovers’ summer programming, with performances at Woodstock’s Maverick Concerts – at 102 years old, the nation’s longest-running summer chamber festival – and in its debuts at the Rheingau Music Festival and Minnesota Beethoven Festival.

In Rheingau and Minnesota, the Dovers also revisit Mozart’s “Prussian” Quartet, as heard on their album debut, Tribute, which – offering ‘lightly assertive readings of tremendous control, providing the energy our days demand but with a throwback to the burnished sound of many of the quartets of old” – was heralded as “a smart debut from a quartet that has a brilliant future” (Audiophile Audition).

Chamber Music Northwest: world premieres, Schumann, and more

The Dovers are especially looking forward to returning to Chamber Music Northwest, where they perform a full five programs at multiple festival locations. The second of these pairs the world premieres of two new works, both of which were written expressly for the quartet (July 24 & 25). Twin Peaks Fantasy (2017) is by Brooklyn-based composer Daniel Schlosberg, whose honors include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Morton Gould Young Composer Award. An ardent aficionado of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, Schlosberg discovered the quartet members to be fellow fans during their collaboration at a previous edition of Chamber Music Northwest.  Encouraged by that realization, he set about writing them a new composition drawing on Angelo Badalamenti’s original, Grammy Award-winning score for the surreal cult TV series. As Scholsberg told the New York Times for its recent article about the project,

“It’s something where I want to capture obviously the melodies, the harmonies – the really beautiful, evocative musical things that [Badalamenti] did. But also just the kind of psychodrama of the series as a whole, and the ability to kind of move between vastly different psychological registers: between a more dreamlike state, and a more grounded reality.”

Badalamenti comments:

“It’s always an honor to hear my music performed by artists in the classical realm. And it’s a particular thrill for me to have the Dover Quartet introduce a new arrangement of my music from Twin Peaks by Daniel Schlosberg. I’m very much looking forward to hearing their new Twin Peaks Fantasy.”

Dover Quartet cellist Camden Shaw adds:

“We are all fans of the original show, but it was the fantastic composer and our good friend Dan Schlosberg whose passion for this project was so infectious that we simply had to make it a reality.”

Click here to learn more about the project on WQXR.

Schlosberg’s piece shares the program with the premiere performance of Commission (2017), a wittily titled new work by Chris Rogerson. Hailed as a “fully-grown composing talent” (Washington Post) and a “confident new musical voice” (New York Times), Rogerson is another young composer whom the Dovers count among their friends — in this case since their student days together at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. As dedicated to growing and enriching today’s quartet literature as they are to interpreting the classics, the quartet’s Chamber Music Northwest lineup also includes performances with soprano Cree Carrico of David Lang’s Simple Song #3, a nominee for the 2016 Academy Award for best original song (July 27 & 28).

After hearing the group play Schumann’s First String Quartet in recital, the Chicago Tribune concluded that “expert musicianship, razor-sharp ensemble, deep musical feeling and a palpable commitment to communication made their performances satisfying on many levels.” For their next recording project, the Dovers look forward to taping a complete cycle of Schumann quartets. By way of a preview, they perform all three at Chamber Music Northwest (July 20), in addition to showcasing the second in upcoming performances at Rheingau, Santa Fe, and New York’s Maverick Concerts. Click here to see the Dover Quartet play the fourth movement from Schumann’s First String Quartet.

Spring dates at Northwestern, Montreal Chamber Music Festival, and Le Poisson Rouge

Before heading into the summer, the Dovers give their third and final complete Beethoven cycle of the season at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival (May 26–June 11), besides playing all-Beethoven programs in a special event exclusively for supporters of Carnegie Hall (May 24), and to conclude the second leg of a newly created three-year faculty residency at Northwestern University (May 23). They also preview selections from Schlosberg’s Twin Peaks Fantasy at downtown New York City hotspot Le Poisson Rouge, alongside excerpts from the original Twin Peaks score and recent commissions by David Ludwig and Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw (May 30).

Meanwhile filming is almost complete for a feature-length documentary about the quartet that is due for release next year. Directed by filmmaker Bruce Broder, of the award-winning jazz documentary Chops (2007), the film follows the Dovers to Salzburg, the Kennedy Center, and other stops on their journey over the past six months, celebrating the passion and youthful positivity they bring to the art of chamber music.

2016-17 highlights

This full spring and summer lineup concludes another thrilling and prolific season for the Dover Quartet. Recently recognized with a string of honors that include the Cleveland Quartet Award, an inaugural Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, and a 2017 Avery Fisher Career Grant, the group is fast becoming a major presence on the international scene. Besides the quartet’s recording debut with the release of Tribute on the Cedille label, recent highlights include a pair of North American tours, first with double-bassist Edgar Meyer and then with mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital; debuts in eleven cities across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland; performances at Washington’s Kennedy Center and in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, and two dozen more U.S. cities; and the second leg of a newly created three-year residency at the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts in New York City, where the quartet is the first Ensemble-in-Residence in the series’ 116-year history. The first Beethoven quartet cycles of the Dovers’ career included performances at SUNY Buffalo, where they followed in the footsteps of the Budapest, Guarneri and Cleveland Quartets by performing the master composer’s complete quartet output in the university’s famous “Slee Cycle” series. As the Chicago Tribune put it, “The Dover Quartet players have it in them to become the next Guarneri String Quartet – they’re that good.”

Click here to download high-resolution photos.

Dover Quartet: summer engagements


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

May 23:
Beethoven: String Quartet in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4
Beethoven: String Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2, “Razumovsky”

May 26, 28; June 2, 4, 8, 9, 11
Montreal, QC
Montreal Chamber Music Festival
McGill University, Pollack Hall
May 26: Beethoven String Quartet Cycle: Part 1
May 28: Beethoven String Quartet Cycle: Part 2
June 2: Beethoven String Quartet Cycle: Part 3
June 4: Beethoven String Quartet Cycle: Part 4
June 8: Concert with BISQC Winner
June 9: Beethoven String Quartet Cycle: Part 5
June 11: Beethoven String Quartet Cycle: Part 6

May 30
New York, NY
Le Poisson Rouge
Angelo Badalamenti (arr. for string quartet): Snapshot from Prague and other excerpts from original Twin Peaks score
Caroline Shaw: Plan & Elevation (The Grounds of Dumbarton Oaks)
David Ludwig: Pale Blue Dot
Daniel Schlosberg: Twin Peaks Fantasy (selections from work-in-progress)

July 8
Ellwangen, Germany
Rheingau Music Festival (debut) 
Mozart: String Quartet in F, No. 23, K. 590, “Prussian”
Simon Laks: String Quartet No. 3
Schumann: String Quartet in F, Op. 41, No. 2

July 9
Schloss Ortenburg, Germany

July 18
Winona, MN
Minnesota Beethoven Festival (debut)
Mozart: String Quartet in F, No. 23, K. 590, “Prussian”
Simon Laks: String Quartet No. 3
Beethoven: String Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130, with Grosse Fuge, Op. 133

July 20–30
Portland, OR
Chamber Music Northwest Summer Festival

July 20:
Schumann: Quartet in A minor, Op. 41, No. 1
Schumann: Quartet in F, Op. 41, No. 2
Schumann: Quartet in A, Op. 41, No. 3

July 24 & 25:
Chris Rogerson: Commission (world premiere)
Daniel Schlosberg: Twin Peaks Fantasy (world premiere)
Bach: Trio Sonata from The Musical Offering (BWV 1079)

July 26:
Ellington (arr. David Schiff): Ducal Suite

July 27 & 28:
David Lang: Simple Song No. 3 for soprano and strings

July 29 & 30:
Bach: Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2, 3, & 6

Aug 6
Woodstock, NY
Schumann: String Quartet No. 2 in F, Op. 41, No. 2
Simon Laks: String Quartet No. 3
Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 11

Aug 8 & 9
Victoria, BC, Canada
Victoria Summer Music Festival

Aug 11–12
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Festival Internacional de Música San Miguel de Allende

Aug 16–21
Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival 
Aug 16:
Poulenc: Sonata for Flute & Piano
William Bolcom: Sextet
Schumann: String Quartet No. 2 in F, Op. 41, No. 2
Aug 21:
Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 11
Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57

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© 21C Media Group, May 2017

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