Fine Arts Quartet Opens New Season

World-class quartet returns to its home base to perform Dvořák, Haydn and Shostakovich.

By - Jul 12th, 2019 03:07 pm
Fine Arts Quartet (L to R, Ralph Evans, Efim Boico, Gil Sharon, Niklas Schmidt

Fine Arts Quartet (L to R, Ralph Evans, Efim Boico, Gil Sharon, Niklas Schmidt

The Fine Arts Quartet (violinists Ralph Evans and Efim Boico, violist Gil Sharon and cellist Niklas Schmidt) returns to Milwaukee this weekend for three concerts. Following the end of the long residency at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the concerts are supported by community donations raised through Arts Wisconsin and an annual campaign by the Friends of the Fine Arts Quartet.

On Sunday afternoon, July 14 they will play works by Antonin Dvořák, Joseph Haydn, and Dmitri Shostakovich.
The Dvořák work will seem very familiar. Dvořák was writing mature works at the time and increasingly incorporated folk music and rhythms of his native Czechoslovakia in his compositions. Today, the melancholy of a traditional dumka and the rapid and fiery rhythms of the furiant will sound familiar to many who like the very approachable style of Dvořák’s work. But the String Sextet in A Major, Op. 48 is rarely heard simply because logistically quartets rarely arrange for two additional players. Two members of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, cellist Scott Tisdel and violist Alejandro Duque will perform with the Quartet.
The concert will open with a dramatic string quartet by Joseph Haydn, String Quartet in B Flat Major, Op. 76, No. 4. Nicknamed ‘Sunrise,’ the sun indeed rises in the opening phrases. Written as Haydn was seeking to appeal to a broader public after years with a single patron, this advanced work demonstrates that appeal. Arguably one of the greatest of the classical string quartet in the repertoire, this work has been performed often in Milwaukee.
One may associate a first effort with a composer’s early career, but Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 1, Op. 49 (1938) was written after he was well known. Battle-scarred by the mixed reception to his opera Lady Macbeth of Minsk and pleased with the popular acclaim for his Symphony No. 5, Shostakovich wrote a pleasant, less intense string quartet. The work presents an accessible style with more immediate appeal than his intense, bleak, later works.
The Fine Arts Quartet has thrived internationally, with 36 events scheduled for 2019. A large audience of Milwaukee fans is expected to welcome them back to Milwaukee.
The Fine Arts Quartet concert will perform in a familiar venue, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Helene Zelazo Center, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd. The concert begins at 3:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Seats are not reserved and no ticketing is required.
WHAD classical radio host Lori Skelton will present a pretalk at 2:00 p.m. in an adjacent room. The auditorium will open at 2:40 p.m.
A concert Tuesday, July 14 at Saint John’s On The Lake required reservations and is no longer available.
The Fine Arts Quartet returns to the Zelazo Center Thursday evening, July 18 for a concert featuring a world premiere transcription by Cliff Colnot of W.A. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 10 for two pianos.

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