7 to 8:30 pm ET
Parker Quartet. (Image: Beowulf Sheehan)
Parker Quartet: Music by Felipe Lara
The quartet, celebrating its 20th anniversary, makes its Music of the Americas debut with the NYC premiere of the Brazilian composer's latest piece.
On March 8, we will host this concert in person, and tickets are free.
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Felipe Lara (b.1979): Sonare (2021)
Valentin Silvestrov (b.1937): String Quartet No.3 (2011)
Daniel Chong and Ken Hamao, violins
Jessica Bodner, viola
Kee-Hyun Kim, cello
The composer writes about the piece:
"This commission has been made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The string quartet’s agility, blend, range, timbral palette, and non-tempered tuning possibilities make it one of the standard chamber formations that I revisit periodically. Sonare is my third and largest work for the medium to date. The title translates to 'to sound,' or 'to ring' from archaic Italian, but also refers to the origins of the term Sonata. Consequently, it simultaneously refers to my fascination with the physical sensation of sound, as well as the large-scale architectural possibilities for engaging and transforming recognizable musical objects non-linearly across time, through imagined labyrinths, compositional wormholes, déjà vu, and premonitions, all which are made possible writing/notation. Ultimately, I am interested in designing musical paths across opposite fields between elemental and static sonic landscapes, to ever-changing musical mosaics. Furthermore, the piece explores various musical obsessions of mine, such as instrumental virtuosity, continuums between pitch/noise, timbre/harmony, stability/movement, as well as the coexistence of self-similar micro- and macro-temporal articulations."
Internationally recognized for their “fearless, yet probingly beautiful” (The Strad) performances, the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet has distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation, dedicated purely to the sound and depth of their music. Inspired performances and exceptional musicianship are hallmarks of the quartet, having appeared at the world’s most illustrious venues since its founding in 2002.
Recent seasons included performances around the United States and Europe, including Wigmore Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Music Toronto, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Strathmore, San Antonio Chamber Music Society, University of Chicago, the Schubert Club, and Kansas City’s Friends of Chamber Music.
Their 20th anniversary was marked in the 2022/23 season with The Beethoven Project, a multi-faceted initiative that includes performances of the complete cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets; the commissioning of six composers to write encores inspired by Beethoven’s quartets; the creation of a new video library spotlighting each Beethoven quartet; and bringing Beethoven’s music to non-traditional venues around the quartet’s home base of Boston, including homeless shelters and youth programs.
The quartet is committed to working with composers of today—recent commissions include works by Augusta Read Thomas, Felipe Lara, Jaehyuck Choi, and Zosha di Castri. Celebrating the process of creation, the Quartet recorded three new commissions by Kate Soper, Oscar Bettison, and Vijay Iyer as part of Miller Theatre’s Mission: Commission podcast.
Additionally, the quartet regularly collaborates with a diverse range of artists, which have included pianists Menahem Pressler, Orion Weiss, Shai Wosner, Billy Childs, and Vijay Iyer; members of the Silk Road Ensemble; clarinetist and composer Jörg Widmann; clarinetists Anthony McGill and Charles Neidich; flutist Claire Chase; and violist Kim Kashkashian, featured on their recent Dvořák recording. The quartet also continues to be a strong supporter of Kashkashian’s project Music for Food, participating in concerts throughout the United States for the benefit of various food banks and shelters.
Recording projects continue to be an important facet of the quartet’s artistic output. Described by Gramophone Magazine as a ”string quartet defined by virtuosity so agile that it’s indistinguishable from the process of emotional expression,” their newest release for ECM Records features Dvořák's Viola Quintet as well as György Kurtág's Six Moments Musicaux and Officium breve in memoriam. The Strad also declared the album as “nothing short of astonishing.” Under the auspices of the Monte Carlo Festival Printemps des Arts, they recorded a disc of three Beethoven quartets, of which Diapason “admired the group’s fearlessness, exceptional control, and attention to detail.” The quartet can also be heard playing Mendelssohn on Nimbus Records, Bartók on Zig-Zag Territoires, and the complete Ligeti Quartets on Naxos, for which they won a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance.
The members of the Parker Quartet serve as Professors of the Practice and Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University’s Department of Music. The Quartet also holds a visiting residency at the University of South Carolina and spends its summers on faculty at the Banff Centre’s Evolution: Quartet program. For the 2023/24 season they will be involved in a visiting residency at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, in Natick, MA, working with gifted high school musicians.
Founded and currently based in Boston, the Parker Quartet’s numerous honors include winning the Concert Artists Guild Competition, the Grand Prix and Mozart Prize at France’s Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition, and Chamber Music America’s prestigious Cleveland Quartet Award.
Praised by the New York Times as "a gifted Brazilian-American modernist" whose works are “brilliantly realized,” “technically formidable, wildly varied,” and possess “voluptuous, elemental lyricism,” Felipe Lara’s work—which includes orchestral, chamber, vocal, film, electroacoustic, and popular music—engages in producing new musical contexts by means of (re)interpreting and translating acoustical and extra-musical properties of familiar source sonorities into project-specific forces. He often aspires to create self-similar relationships between the macro- and micro-articulation of the musical experience and highlights the interdependence of acoustic music composition and technology, including the application of electroacoustic paradigms as catalysts for both entire structures and local textures. His music has been recently commissioned by leading soloists, ensembles, and institutions and presented by festivals and venues in Europe, Brazil, and the United States. While most of his works are conceived for the concert hall, he has recently collaborated with electronic dance music producer Jesse Houg (The Scumfrog) and flutist Claire Chase, written string arrangements for the album Conversas, Desenhos, Pinturas, by Brazilian popular music artists Milton Nascimento and Ricardo Vogt, as well as composed the score for the feature film A Fera Na Selva (2017).
Since 2009, he has been actively engaging with local artists, non-profit organizations, and public school students from the Brazilian Mantiqueira Forest area on interdisciplinary and collaborative works that focus on the local APAs (Areas of Environmental Protection), with the common theme of sustainability. The exchange culminated in several projects presented in the local town hall and venues in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Lara was the recipient of a 2015 Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship at Harvard and received numerous fellowships in Brazil and the United States. Recent recordings of his music include Metafagote by Rebekah Heller and Parábolas na Caverna and Meditation and Calligraphy by Claire Chase, among others. He holds a PhD in music composition from New York University, a master's from Tufts University, and a bachelor's degree from Berklee College of Music. Lara is Associate Professor and Chair of Composition at Peabody Institute, and has taught at NYU, the Universidade Federal da Bahia, Berklee, and Harvard.
The MetLife Foundation Music of the Americas concert series is made possible by the generous support of Presenting Sponsor MetLife Foundation.
The Spring 2024 Music program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, by the Howard Gilman Foundation, by the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation, by the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, by the Augustine Foundation, and by the Mex-Am Cultural Foundation.
Additional support for new music concerts comes from the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, and The Amphion Foundation.