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Ying Quartet Visits the Redfern

KEENE, N.H., 2/19/10 - The Ying Quartet, a string quartet known for its imaginative view of chamber music, will celebrate Robert Schumann’s 200th birthday performing the composer’s “Clara” quartet during a Wednesday, March 3, concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Alumni Recital Hall of the Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond at Keene State College. In addition to this performance, the Ying Quartet will present a lecture-demonstration at 2 p.m. the same day in the same location. The lecture-demonstration is free and open to the public. Tickets to the evening concert range from $26 for adults to $14 for children.

Schumann’s Quartet in A Major, is subtitled “Clara,” after the composer’s beloved wife. The first movement of this romantic piece opens with a slow introduction that seems to be calling out, “Cla-ra.” The slow movement is considered one of Schumann’s finest compositions.

Another quartet with romantic yearnings, “Intimate Letters” by Leo Janácek will be on the March 3 program. The music describes the composer’s soaring passion for a young married woman. Janácek is considered to be one of the great composers of Eastern Europe, often grouped with Smetana and Dvorak as one of the three pillars of Czech music.

The Ying Quartet will conclude the evening with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Quartet in C Major, subtitled “The “Hero” or “Eroica.” Just as Beethoven’s Eroica symphony vastly expanded the scope of symphonic writing, so the grandiose finale of his “Eroica” quartet made all previous string quartets seem modest by comparison.

The Ying Quartet occupies a position of unique prominence in the classical music world, combining brilliantly communicative performances with a fearlessly imaginative view of chamber music in today’s world. The Los Angeles Times declared the Yings “as close to the ideal as possible, delivering chamber music of astonishingly refreshing exaltation and exhilaration.”

This season, versatile violinist Frank Huang joins the quartet, becoming the only non-family member. Huang fills the chair of Timothy Ying, the original first violinist of the all-sibling quartet. Timothy and his siblings, cellist David, violist Phillip, and violinist Janet, are the ensemble’s founding members.

The Ying Quartet’s recordings reflect many of the group’s wide-ranging musical interests and have generated consistent, enthusiastic acclaim. Their 2007 Telarc release of the three Tchaikovsky Quartets and the Souvenir de Florence was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Chamber Music Performance category. Their much-heralded collaboration with the Turtle Island Quartet, 4 +Four, explored the common ground between the classic string quartet tradition, jazz, and other American vernacular styles, and won a Grammy Award in 2006. Dim Sum (Telarc) is the Ying’s most recent recording, featuring music by Chinese-American composers that merges the Western string quartet with traditional Chinese music.

To request accommodations for a disability, please call the Redfern Arts Center at least two weeks before the performance. For further information about the performance and the lecture-demonstration, call the box office, 603-358-2168, or visit, where you can view video clips of the Ying Quartet and other upcoming performances at the Redfern Arts Center.

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