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Q&A – The Parker Quartet
Submitted by Amy Acheson on Mon, 08/19/2013 - 9:36pm
Tuesday evening’s Bridge Chamber Music Festival performance will feature the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and takes place at St. Olaf College, Christiansen Hall of Music in Urness Recital Hall. Tickets are $5 at the door.
The Parker Quartet consists of violinists Daniel Chong and Ying Xue, violist Jessica Bodner, and cellist Kee-hyun Kim.
This brief interview is with Daniel Chong, first violinist for the quartet.
Please share with us some insights into the world of chamber music. What is its appeal, intrigue and overall experience?
Chong: Chamber music is one of the most intimate sub-genres of western classical music. Although the trio sonatas from the Baroque era can be considered the original impetus, chamber music today can consist of anywhere between two individuals to a fairly large ensemble with one individual to a part and usually no conductor. This last aspect contributes to the intimacy and intensity of this type of music-making because it requires everyone on stage to be communicating with each other as true equals with individual personalities.
The string quartet medium represents the crown jewel of chamber music. Not only because of the extensiveness and richness of the repertoire, but more importantly, because the string quartet has a history of inspiring composers to write some of their most personal and daring compositions. Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Haydn, Mendelssohn and Schoenberg are only a few of the great composers who used the string quartet as a platform striving for incredible beauty, creativity, and depth.
What works will The Parker Quartet be performing on August 20th in Northfield and why have you chosen these specific pieces?
Chong: Tuesday night's program includes works of Mozart, Bartók, and Dvorák. Mozart's K.428 quartet is the third of six quartets dedicated to Franz Joseph Haydn - widely regarded as the father of the string quartet and mentors to both Mozart and Beethoven. Although he dashed off five of the six quartets with ease this one took a little time which is a bit ironic considering it is one of his most genial and good-natured works. Bartók is a composer we love exploring. His Quartet No.3 was written in 1927 and is his most compact and concentrated quartets. Bartók was an ethnomusicologist in addition to being a composer so you can hear him implement a lot of folk music into his works. Dvorák is at the heart of the Romantic period. A Czech composer with a flair for joy, a sweetness for love, and most of all a composer who has an incredible ability to bring out the spirit of fun with wonderful creativity, his Quartet in C Major, Op.61 encompasses all of this and is a work that we have thoroughly enjoyed playing this season.
The Parker Quartet originally formed in 2002 at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Over the course of the last 10 years the quartet has accomplished a great deal including a robust touring schedule that has spanned over five continents and garnering several awards, most notably the 2011 GRAMMY Award for Best Chamber Music Performance – the last string quartet to have won this category.
In addition to its touring schedule, the quartet has a strong interest in teaching. Having held numerous visiting residencies at universities such as Carnegie-Mellon and University of Minnesota, the quartet is currently Quartet-in-Residence at the University of South Carolina and Artists-in-Residence at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
Q&A provided by the Bridge Chamber Music Festival. Visit http://bridgechamberfestival.org/ for a list of upcoming concerts.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.