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"Artistry of uncommon insight and cohesion" —Gramophone

Exclusive New York engagement
Cypress String Quartet
      Cecily Ward, violin
      Tom Stone, violin
      Ethan Filner, viola
      Jennifer Kloetzel, cello


DVOŘÁK: Selections from Cypresses
      No. 12, "You ask why these songs of mine"
      No. 3, "When your sweet glances on me fall"
      No. 7, "There lived once my sweetheart"
      No. 11, "A soft slumber lies over the land"

TSONTAKIS: String Quartet No. 6 (New York premiere)
SCHUBERT: String Quartet in G major, D. 887

 

  92Y Concerts at SubCulture is a co-presentation of 92Y and SubCulture.

This concert takes place in SubCulture, 45 Bleecker St.

Cypress String Quartet YouTube Channel

Cypress String Quartet
Dvořák: Cypresses for String Quartet – No. 12. Allegro animato
(Avie)


Interview with cellist Jennifer KIoetzel by John Clare about the Cypress Quartet’s recording of Dvořák’s Cypresses for String Quartet on Texas Public Radio, March 27, 2013. Here are two highlights:

On the name Cypress
People often think we named ourselves after the cypress tree, because they are indigenous to the California coast, but actually these wonderful gems by Dvořák are how we chose our name.

On what makes Dvořák special
What I think really makes his music stick out is the way he uses textures, especially in his 13th quartet on this disc. You'll hear these unbelievable textures of what he is doing with rhythmic feelings with viola, the cello, the second violin, and the interplay between them.

Cypress String Quartet playing first movement of Dvořák’s String Quartet in F major, Op. 96, "American," on WBGH-FM Boston’s “Drive Time Live,” December 8, 2011.

Cypress String Quartet playing second movement of Barber String Quartet in B minor, best known as “Adagio for Strings,” on WBGH-FM Boston’s “Drive Time Live,” December 8, 2011.

Cypress String Quartet playing second movement of Beethoven's String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130.

On the Blog

(Click the names below to expand info)

From mercurynews.com:


Rave review of the Cypress’s premiere of Tsontakis’ String Quartet No. 6 (which receives its NYC premiere at SubCulture). Here is an excerpt:

Like other works by Tsontakis, this one is warmly shadowed, lyric yet somber. It's exuberantly rhythm-driven, yet also behaves as if suspended in some free-floating chamber, where time doesn't even exist. It's hypnotic, a work of imagination, a fascination.

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From sfcv.org:


Article on the Cypress String Quartet’s “Call & Response” concert that included premiere of Tsontakis’ String Quartet No. 6. Here is an excerpt:

In both the Tsontakis, and the Schubert after intermission, the Cypress showed its superior interpretive qualities with rightly chosen tempos and an expressive dynamic range. Their service to the future of music in the Bay Area is immense.

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From wqxr.org:


Profile of the Cypress String Quartet as part of its WQXR Café Concert performance. Here is an excerpt:

The Cypress has long used the kind of DIY approach more common among indie rock bands than chamber groups. They came together in 1996, not as an outgrowth of a music conservatory program, as many quartets are, but through an open casting call. “The other violinist and I both studied with the same teacher and we had the idea that when we finished school we'd put a quartet together," said [violinist Tom] Stone. "We talked to Jennifer [Kloetzel, the cellist], who is recommended to us by a mutual friend, and talked to her about this crazy idea we had."

The crazy idea, said Kloetzel, was "there was no job and no guarantee. We were all finished up with grad school. I had friends in New York who said, 'if you do this you're going to fall off the face of the earth.' It was a leap of faith for all of us."

The members all moved to San Francisco and started rehearsing together in living rooms and garages for five hours a day, talking about their dreams and surviving on Ramen noodles.

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Explore the Music

(Click the names below to expand info.)

Artists' Note

by Jennifer Kloetzel, cello

As the Cypress String Quartet, we are thrilled to be making our 92nd Street Y debut on April 1. We formed nearly 18 years ago in San Francisco, and in many ways we are a true “American” quartet. Each of us comes from a different part of the country—Baltimore, Chicago, Salt Lake City and San Francisco—and we trained at many of America’s finest conservatories.

The greatest classical composers have written for the string quartet since the time of Haydn, often reserving their most personal expressions for this art form. It is this music that inspired and moved us to make quartet playing our life’s focus and full-time job: to delve deeply into the greatest quartet repertoire and devote our entire energies to exploring the form. The great Schubert Quartet on our April 1 92Y program is an example of the music that brought us together—we love Schubert’s music and will be releasing a Schubert disc on the Avie label in May.

We discovered soon after working together (5-6 hours a day, rehearsing in our basements and living rooms in those early years!) that all four of us felt a need to seek out the great living composers of our time—to help keep this art form relevant and vital. We’ve been building relationships with composers ever since and have premiered more than 30 new works!

On April 1, we are thrilled to give the New York premiere of George Tsontakis’ Sixth String Quartet—the second piece he has written for us. George has been a friend since 2006 when we commissioned his Fifth Quartet, now a staple of our repertoire. His Sixth Quartet's first movement, titled "Stroph", is filled with lush chords and beautifully lyrical lines. The second movement, "Blaze" has delightful interweaving accompaniment figures and beautiful colors, and ends with a thrilling coda. It is a magical work, and we hope to perform it many times in the future! We consider it a duty to champion composers that we commission. It is an honor, to get to know and become friends with the great musical minds of our generation—and to have them write for us, with our sound and sensibilities in mind!

Completing our 92Y program is a work that is truly near and dear to us—our namesake pieces—a set of the Cypresses by Antonín Dvořák. A wonderful story lies behind these “songs” for string quartet: In his youth, Dvořák fell in love with a woman who did not return his affections, and in his heartbreak, he poured out his feeling in a song cycle entitled Cypresses. Dvořák set this music aside and in fact later married the woman’s younger sister, managing through the happy union to remain close to his original love. He returned to the cycle throughout his life, occasionally mining it for melodies he would use in other works, and he eventually set 12 of the original 18 songs for string quartet. They are simply beautiful and fit perfectly into a category of music that we like to call “Forgotten Jewels”—music that has been overlooked for one reason or another by history.

We are very excited to present music that speaks to our mission as a quartet—and we hope to see you there!

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Artist Bio

Cypress String Quartet

Known for its elegant performances and clear, transparent sound, the Cypress String Quartet (Cecily Ward, violin; Tom Stone, violin; Ethan Filner, viola; Jennifer Kloetzel, cello) was formed in San Francisco in 1996. The Quartet takes its name from The Cypresses, a set of twelve love songs for string quartet by Dvořák. During initial rehearsals the ensemble created its signature sound through intense readings of Bach chorales.

The Cypress maintains a busy national and international tour schedule, making appearances on concert series and in venues including Cal Performances, The Kennedy Center, The Library of Congress, Stanford Lively Arts, Krannert Center and the Ravinia Festival. The quartet’s collaborators include Leon Fleisher, Jon Nakamatsu, Awadagin Pratt, Gary Hoffman, Atar Arad, James Dunham and Zuill Bailey.

On May 13, the Cypress will release its latest CD on the Avie Records label: an all-Schubert disc of the String Quintet in C major, featuring cellist Gary Hoffman, and the Quartettsatz. Last year the quartet released two CDs: in February came an all-Dvořák disc that included the quartet’s namesake piece, The Cypresses, plus the String Quartet in G major, Op.106; among its accolades, the recording was named a “CD of the Week” by New York’s WQXR. It was followed in November by The American Album, which included Dvořák’s “American” Quartet, Op. 96; Barber’s String Quartet, Charles Tomlinson Griffes’ Two Sketches Based on Indian Themes and Kevin Puts’s Lento Assai. Other discography highlights include a complete three-CD set of Beethoven’s Late Quartets, released in 2012 on the quartet’s own label.

The Cypress String Quartet has gained national attention for its innovative Call & Response program. The Cypress commissions and premieres new string quartets from both emerging and celebrated composers, asking them to write in response to already established chamber repertoire. To date, the Cypress Quartet has commissioned and premiered over 30 pieces, four of which were chosen for Chamber Music America’s list of “101 Great American Ensemble Works.” Commissioned composers include Benjamin Lees, Jennifer Higdon, Kevin Puts, George Tsontakis and Elena Ruehr.

Before coming together as a quartet, the Cypress members received degrees from leading conservatories and music schools in New York, Cleveland, San Francisco and London. After a residency at the Banff Centre and a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies of the Aspen Music Festival, the Quartet coached intensively with the Amadeus Quartet in London. The instruments of the Quartet include a 1681 violin by Antonio Stradivarius, a 1733 violin by Carlos Bergonzi, a 1947 viola by Vittorio Bellarosa and a 1701 cello by Hieronymus Amati II. The Quartet’s website is cypressquartet.com.

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Details & Ordering


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IN THE NEWS: Cypress String Quartet’s all-Dvořák CD named WQXR’s Album of the Week.


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