November 11, 2012 @3pm
Fletcher Opera Theater
And the GRAMMY goes to… The Parker Quartet for Best Chamber Music Performance! Hailed by The New York Times as “something extraordinary”
Pärt: Fratres for String Quartet
Britten: String Quartet No. 2 in C Major, Op. 36
Dvořák: String Quartet in C Major, Op. 61
Master Class: November 11, 10am-noon, Carswell Concert Hall at Meredith College
Hailed by The New York Times as “something extraordinary,” the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation. The quartet began its professional touring career in 2002 and garnered international acclaim in 2005, winning the Concert Artists Guild Competition as well as the Grand Prix and Mozart Prize at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition in France. In 2009, Chamber Music America awarded the quartet the prestigious biennial Cleveland Quartet Award for the 2009-2011 seasons.
Performance highlights of the quartet’s 2011-12 season included a European tour, with appearances at Wigmore Hall in London, Stadthalle Marburg, Kultur im Oberäu, and Concerts Classiques d’Épinal; appearances with pianist Shai Wosner at Amherst College and Carnegie Hall; and visits to many of the leading colleges and universities of the United States, including the Eastman School of Music, San Francisco State University, and UCLA.
Successful early concert touring in Europe helped the quartet forge a relationship with Zig-Zag Territoires, which released their debut commercial recording of Bartók’s String Quartets Nos. 2 and 5 in July 2007. The disc received high praise by numerous critics, including Gramophone: “The Parkers’ Bartók spins the illusion of spontaneous improvisation… they have absorbed the language; they have the confidence to play freely with the music and the instinct to bring it off.” The quartet’s second recording, of György Ligeti’s String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 and Andante & Allegretto, was released on Naxos in December 2009 to critical acclaim. The Ligeti recording won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance. The quartet’s next disc will be a selection of Haydn string quartets, produced by Grammy Award-winner Judith Sherman.
The Parker Quartet has been profiled in Time Out NY, The Boston Globe, Chamber Music Magazine, and on Musical America.com for their pioneering performances for audiences in non-traditional venues. In addition to concerts in bars and clubs nationwide, the ensemble was the first String Quartet-in-Residence at Barbès Bar and Performance Space in Brooklyn, New York, in 2007. The residency embraced a series of collaborative concerts with artists of various genres including jazz, folk, and world music. This season, the quartet also collaborated with slam poets through the organization With Our Words. Their collaboration included pianist Seth Knopp and baritone William Sharp in a program that interwove poetry and music to illuminate both mediums.
The Parker Quartet served as Quartet-in-Residence with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 2008 through 2010 and were the first-ever Artists-in-Residence with Minnesota Public Radio for the 2009-2010 season. In the 2011-12 season, they are in residence at the University of Minnesota, working throughout the year with chamber music students. They are also teaching instrumental lessons at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.
The Parker Quartet’s members hold graduate degrees in performance and chamber music from the New England Conservatory of Music and were part of the New England Conservatory’s prestigious Professional String Quartet Training Program. Their mentors include the Cleveland Quartet, Kim Kashkashian, György Kurtág, and Rainer Schmidt.