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Chamber music by heart in Montgomery

On Sunday, March 18, at 3 p.m. the Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) will perform on the Grand Montgomery Chamber Music Series at Village of Montgomery Senior Center (36 Bridge Street). The quartet will perform Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10 and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 – without printed music, or “by heart.”

The Chiara String Quartet has been playing string quartets and asking probing questions since 2000. Always interested in engaging with the music at its core as well as reaching audiences, the quartet has dedicated itself to finding ways to make the musical experience meaningful for all involved. In this pursuit, the quartet has performed in venues from major concert halls to clubs, created interactive programs for all ages, and most recently taken to performing and recording from memory, or “by heart.” Described by an audience member as “a 3-D experience for the listener,” playing by heart is deeply rewarding for the Chiara as well; memorizing the score helps them to closely relate to the composer’s compositional process.

The Chiara String Quartet has announced that 2017-2018 will be its final concert season. The group will end full-time work performing together in September 2018, and characterizes its decision as made, “in a spirit of tremendous gratitude and love.” Although the members of the group are each planning solo performance and teaching careers moving forward, the group plans to reunite regularly for special projects and performance opportunities. Learn more about future plans for the Chiara members at chiaraquartet.net.

Renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire as well as for creating insightful interpretations of new music, the Chiara String Quartet captivates its audiences throughout the country. The Chiara’s “highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing” (The Boston Globe) has established the quartet as among America’s most respected ensembles. They are currently Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence at the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and were the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University from 2008-2014. For the 2015-2016 season, the Chiara was the quartet-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Chiara Quartet is widely sought out for its innovative work in engagement with urban and rural communities of all ages. In 2012 the Chiara appeared with the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Michigan as residents in the community, performing in unusual venues including a vacant storefront and a Toyota factory. In 2011, the Chiara was the first judge of the online string quartet competition “The Quartet Project Challenge,” an opportunity for young quartets from around the world to post performances on YouTube and receive comments from a professional quartet. In the 2011-12 season, the Chiara presented a concert series at Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach, a unique organization serving the working poor and homeless in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Chiara has been committed to the creation of new music for string quartet since its inception, and has commissioned composers including Gabriela Lena Frank, Jefferson Friedman, Nico Muhly, Daniel Ott, Huang Ruo, Robert Sirota, Hans Tutschku, Carl Voss, and Michael Wittgraf, among others. Recent collaborators in performance include The Juilliard and St. Lawrence String Quartets, Joel Krosnick, Roger Tapping, Todd Palmer, Robert Levin, Simone Dinnerstein, Norman Fischer, Nadia Sirota, and Paul Katz, as well as members of the Orion, Ying, Cavani, and Pacifica Quartets.

In the summer, the Chiara Quartet is in residence at Greenwood Music Camp as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Chamber Music Institute. The Chiara trained and taught at The Juilliard School, mentoring for two years with the Juilliard Quartet, as recipients of the Lisa Arnhold Quartet Residency.

Admission is free. Call 457-9867 or visit the Village of Montgomery website, villageofmontgomery.org for more information.

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