Alexander String Quartet
UC Davis Mondavi Center
June 2, 2019

with Joyce Yang


UC Davis Mondavi Center
9399 Old Davis Rd, Davis, CA, 95616, US


Sunday, June 2, 2019

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Alexander String Quartet Biography

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2006, The Alexander String Quartet has performed in the major music capitals of four continents, securing its standing among the world's premier ensembles. Widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, and Shostakovich, the quartet has also established itself as an important advocate of new music through over 25 commissions and numerous premiere performances. In 1999 BMG Classics released the Quartet's nine-CD set of the Beethoven cycle on its Arte Nova label to tremendous critical acclaim. The FoghornClassics label released a three-CD set of Mozart quartets in 2004; as part of an ongoing project, that label released the first three CDs of the Shostakovich cycle in March 2006. The Alexander String Quartet's annual calendar of concerts includes engagements at major halls throughout North America and Europe. The Quartet has appeared at Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City; Jordan Hall in Boston; the Library of Congress and Dumbarton Oaks in Washington; and chamber music societies and universities across the North American continent. Recent overseas tours have brought them to the U.K., the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Greece, the Republic of Georgia, and the Philippines. The many distinguished artists to collaborate with the Alexander String Quartet include pianists Menahem Pressler, Gary Graffman, Roger Woodward, Jeremy Menuhin, and James Tocco; clarinetists Eli Eban, Charles Neidich, Joan Enric Lluna, and Richard Stoltzman; cellist Sadao Harada; soprano Elly Ameling; and saxophonists Branford Marsalis and David Sánchez. The Alexander String Quartet's 25th anniversary is also the 20th anniversary of its association with New York City's Baruch College as ensemble-in-residence. This landmark was celebrated through a performance by the ensemble of the Shostakovich string quartet cycle at Engelman Recital Hall in the Baruch Performing Art Center in April 2006. Of these performances, The New York Times wrote, "The intimacy of the music came through with enhanced power and poignancy in the Alexander quartet's vibrant, probing, assured and aptly volatile performances." The Alexander was also awarded Presidential Medals in honor of their longstanding commitment to the Arts and Education and in celebration of their two decades of service to Baruch College. The 2006-2007 season is highlighted by the conclusion of a Beethoven cycle for San Francisco Performances and a series of concerts featuring Mozart's "Haydn" quartets for Mondavi Center. The quartet celebrates the 100th anniversary of Shostakovich's birth in late September with a two-day festival for San Francisco Performances in collaboration with Roger Woodward. Other performances include the New Orleans Friends of Music, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, two installments of the Beethoven cycle for the University at Buffalo, and a residency at Lafayette College, as well as continuing residencies at Allegheny College, and St. Lawrence University. The quartet continues its collaboration with jazz saxophonist David Sánchez in performance of Eddie Sauter's "Focus," a 1960 composition written for Stan Getz, with a performance and residency at the Charles W. Eisemann Center in Richardson, Texas. Among the Quartet's recent premieres are "Rise Chanting" by Augusta Read Thomas, commissioned for the Alexander by the Krannert Center and premiered there and simulcast by WFMT radio in Chicago. The Quartet has also premiered String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 by Pulitzer Prize-winner Wayne Peterson and works by Ross Bauer (commissioned by Stanford University), Richard Festinger, David Sheinfeld, Hi Kyung Kim, and a Koussevitzky commission by Robert Greenberg. Upcoming premieres include a new work being commissioned by San Francisco Performances from Jeeyoung Kim. At home in San Francisco, the members of the Alexander String Quartet are a major artistic presence, serving as Ensemble in Residence of San Francisco Performances and as directors of the Morrison Chamber Music Center at the School of Music and Dance in the College of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University. The Alexander String Quartet was formed in New York City in 1981 and the following year became the first string quartet to win the Concert Artists Guild Competition. In 1985, the Quartet captured international attention as the first and only American Quartet to win the London International String Quartet Competition, receiving both the jury's highest award and the Audience Prize. In May of 1995, Allegheny College awarded Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees to the members of the Quartet in recognition of their unique contribution to the arts. Honorary degrees were conferred on the ensemble by St. Lawrence University in May 2000. Zakarias Grafilo, violin Frederick Lifsitz, violin Paul Yarbrough, viola Sandy Wilson, cello

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