Bard Festival String Quartet with pre-concert lecture by Christopher Gibbs
This FREE concert (no tickets required) will be held in Roberts Hall, Marshall Auditorium on the Haverford College Campus, 370 Lancaster Avenue, in Haverford. Doors open at 2:15 pm. Parking is free (shuttle service available) and the auditorium is wheelchair accessible. For more information call 610.896.1011.
Comprised of four stellar musicians, including Haverford College alumni Robert Martin and Christopher Gibbs, the Bard Festival String Quartet is renowned for the clarity and boldness of its interpretations of both classical and modern repertoires, which they have played and (as scholar-musicians) explicated to audiences throughout the U.S. and abroad. Their program at Haverford will consist of two monumental works, Beethoven's C# minor Quartet and Schubert's G Major Quartet, and the connections between them (as the performers will illustrate, both verbally and musically).
This event is made possible by a generous grant from the Leaves of Grass Foundation through the Hurford Humanities Center of Haverford College, along with additional support from the Department of Music and Distinguished Visitors Office, Haverford College.
“Every phrase of the performance sounded genuine, as if it were deeply felt by the musicians”
Zachary Lewis, Harrisburg Patriot News
The BARD FESTIVAL STRING QUARTET, formed at the Bard Music Festival in 1995, has won praise for the lyricism and intensity of its performances. In keeping with the festival’s “Rediscoveries” theme, the ensemble has performed quartets by Milhaud, Magnard, Stanford, and d’Indy, as well as quartets of Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Debussy, Bartók, Borodin, Schoenberg, and others. The members of the Bard Festival String Quartet are Laurie Smukler and Patricia Sunwoo, violins, Ira Weller, viola, and Robert Martin, cello. Laurie Smukler and Ira Weller were founding members of the Mendelssohn String Quartet; Patricia Sunwoo was a member of the Whitman String Quartet from 1997 to 2002; and Robert Martin was cellist of the Sequoia String Quartet from 1975 to 1985. Together their years of string quartet experience find new focus and expression in the Bard Festival String Quartet.
ROBERT MARTIN, cello, is artistic codirector of the Bard Music Festival and vice president for academic affairs of Bard College. He studied cello at the Curtis Institute of Music with Leonard Rose and Orlando Cole and liberal arts at Haverford College. He made his New York recital debut, with pianist Richard Goode, in the Young Concert Artists series. During his doctoral studies in philosophy at Yale University he was principal cellist of the New Haven Symphony and cellist of the Group for Contemporary Music, then at Columbia University. After receiving his doctorate, he pursued a dual career in music and philosophy, holding joint appointments at SUNY at Buffalo and Rutgers University. He was cellist of the Sequoia String Quartet from 1975 to 1985, during which time the ensemble made many recordings and toured internationally. He was assistant dean of humanities at UCLA and also founded and produced the Los Angeles chamber music series “Music for Mischa.” He is currently president of Chamber Music America.
LAURIE SMUKLER, violin, is an active performer as soloist and recitalist and has established a reputation as one of the finest chamber musicians in the country. This year she has major engagements in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Houston. In New York, she appears regularly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with the Festival Chamber Music Society, the Bard Music Festival, and in the “Collection in Concert” series, which she codirects, at the Pierpont Morgan Library. Dedicated to teaching as well as performing, she is professor of violin and head of the string area at the Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase, where she is also artistic director of the “Faculty and Friends” concert series.
Ms. Smukler’s wide musical interests include contemporary music, and she has premiered works by many composers, including Ned Rorem, Morton Subotnik, Steven Paulus, Shulamit Ran, and Bruce Adolphe. She was a founding member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet. Her recordings with the quartet include works by Dvorák, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schoenberg, Weber, and Ran, as well as a recording of Dvorák’s Terzetto and the Kodaly Serenade with Ira Weller and Krista Bennion-Feeney.
She teaches and performs at the prestigious Kneisel Hall Festival (Blue Hill, Maine) in the summer. She has been an invited guest at many summer festivals, including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, the Bard Music Festival, Mostly Mozart, the Skaneateles Festival, and the Acadia Festival.
PATRICIA SUNWOO, violin, made her orchestral debut in 1995, performing Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto at Alice Tully Hall and has since been active as a recitalist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Canada. She has won prizes from the Canadian Music Competition, Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition, and CIBC Festival of Music. As a member of the Whitman String Quartet, winner of the 1998 Walter W. Naumburg Award, she has performed to critical acclaim at major venues and festivals across the United States, France, and South America, recorded works of Artur Schnabel and Michael Whalen for labels CP2 and Arabesque, been broadcast by National Public Radio and Japan’s NHK and lectured at major American universities.
Ms. Sunwoo is an active advocate of music education and has been a teaching artist for the Midori Foundation, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Da Camera Society of Los Angeles and Carnegie Hall. In 2001 she joined the faculty at Binghamton University. Her major teachers include John Loban in Vancouver, the Juilliard String Quartet, and Sally Thomas at the Juilliard School, where she received her doctorate degree.
IRA WELLER, viola, has a wide range of performing experience and is highly regarded as a soloist and chamber musician. In addition to his duties as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, his concerts this year include performances with the Bard Music Festival and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is artistic codirector of the Collection in Concert series, presenting “aural exhibitions” of the astonishing collection of musical manuscripts in the Pierpont Morgan Library.
Mr. Weller has performed with Da Camera of Houston, the Bard Music Festival, the Skaneateles Festival, and at Kneisel Hall. He has also been an invited guest with Barge Music, Da Capo, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the New York Chamber Soloists, Music from Marlboro, and Chamber Music Northwest. He has collaborated with many distinguished artists, including James Levine, Menahem Pressler, Dawn Upshaw, Rudolf Firkusny, Evelyn Lear, Robert Mann, Janos Starker, and Richard Stoltzman. His vital interest in contemporary music has led to premieres by Rorem, Laderman, Dello Joio, Picker, Ran, and Zwilich.
As a founding member and violist for the first ten years of the Mendelssohn String Quartet, Mr. Weller has recorded works by Dvorák, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schoenberg, Weber, and Ran.
CHRISTOPHER H. GIBBS is James H. Ottaway Jr. Professor of Music at Bard College and codirector of the Bard Music Festival. He edited the Cambridge Companion to Schubert (1997) and is the author of The Life of Schubert (2000). Gibbs received the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award in 1998 and during the 1999–2000 academic year was a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. As an active critic, program annotator, and lecturer, he works with many of the country’s leading musical institutions. He was the musicological director for the final three years of the acclaimed Schubertiade at the 92nd Street Y and for the past four seasons has written the program notes for the Philadelphia Orchestra. He frequently gives lectures for that orchestra, as well as for the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and “Great Performers” at Lincoln Center. Mr. Gibbs is also a Haverford College Alumni.