On March 9, 2016

The Chiara String Quartet plays music by heart

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Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. — RANDOLPH — The Chiara String Quartet, much venerated by Chandler audiences over the years, makes its return to Randolph on Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. On the program will be two works by composer friend Gabriela Lena Frank and a quartet by Bela Bartok. A complimentary reception follows the concert in the Gallery.

Straying from current chamber music tradition, the quartet will have no music stands and no written scores. The Chiara Quartet is moving forward, taking a cue from the past. Hearkening back to a tradition that is centuries old and still common among soloists, they have adopted a new way of performing: from memory, without printed sheet music, or “by heart.” After spending countless hours working towards playing their repertoire by memory, they now feel that the score is a distraction to the performance instead of an aid. After memorizing a work, the Quartet is rewarded with deeply gratifying performances where each member feels fully present in the moment, “truly performing with heart, by heart.”

Gabriela Frank draws on her Peruvian roots for the work, Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout for String Quartet, which was written expressly for the Chiara Quartet. The ensemble contrasts this piece with her transcriptions of Bela Bartok’s piano music arranged for string quartet and with the final work of the evening, Bartok’s String Quartet #4.  Bartok traveled to the far corners of his native Hungary as a young man and collected a vast reservoir of folk music. He incorporated many elements of this peasant music into his own works and became one of the founders of comparative musicology.

The Chiara, now in its 16th season, is currently recording “Bartok by Heart,” featuring all six of the Bartok string quartets, played entirely from memory. The 2-CD set is slated for release this year. Their most recent album, “Brahms by Heart,” was released in March, 2014.

The Quartet is made up of violinists Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Yoon, violist Jonah Sirota, and cellist Gregory Beaver. In addition to the Quartet’s regular performances in major concert halls across the country, including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery in Washington D.C., the ensemble has completed international tours of China, Korea, and Sweden.  They are currently the quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The quartet will be giving a chamber music master class at the Upper Valley Music Center at their home at 63 Hanover Street in Lebanon, N.H. on Friday, March 11 from 4 to 6 p.m. Participants will include middle school/teens and adults. The event is open to the public and offers a great opportunity to watch master artists work with young players and experienced adult amateurs. For more information, call UVMC at 603-448-1642.

Tickets for the Chandler concert are available online at www.chandler-arts.org or by calling the box office at 802-728-6464 weekdays between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m.

Chandler Music Hall is fully accessible and equipped for the hearing impaired. Chandler Center for the Arts is located at 71-73 Main Street, Randolph.

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