“Artistry of uncommon insight and cohesion”—Gramophone
Share your love of music with your family. These hour-long concerts are hosted by engaging, dynamic artists who delight in working with younger audiences. Held in 92Y’s Buttenweiser Hall, each program has its own theme, with music and discussion, followed by a fun-filled Q&A.
Direct from San Francisco, the Cypress String Quartet appears at 92Y for the first time. (It heads downtown to SubCulture on Apr 1.) The Quartet is famous for mixing beloved quartet works with new music, so this concert will be full of fun surprises!
Cypress String Quartet
Cecily Ward, violin
Tom Stone, violin
Ethan Filner, viola
Jennifer Kloetzel, cello
The Family Music Series is underwritten by Eva Colin Usdan and John Usdan. Generous support is also provided by The Brodsky Family Foundation.
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.