On Sunday afternoon, March 20th, at 5 pm, the Lipkind Quartet, one of Europe’s newest and most exciting young chamber ensembles, will make its American debut in the first classical music concert in the auditorium of the new HMFH designed Rashi School in Dedham. This unusual string quartet, founded by cellist Gavriel Lipkind, who received his Artist Diploma in 2003 from New England Conservatory, has come to stand apart for the radical and deep thought it invests in every stage of its work.
The program, “In Search of New Worlds,” includes Night, by Ernest Bloch; String Quartet in b minor, op. 11, by Samuel Barber; String Quartet No. 1 in F Major by Sergei Rachmaninoff; Three Pieces for String Quartet by Igor Stravinsky; and String Quartet No. 12 in F Major, op. 96, “American,” by Antonin Dvorák.
When asked what lies behind their unusual approach to quartet playing, including their unusual seating arrangement (first and seconds violins opposite with cellist and violist on risers behind), Lipkind explained:
Being a musician, working as a musician, and collaborating with other musicians in a chamber group on a regular basis in the 21st century requires a fundamental review and a radical rethinking of the traditional ways of working, based upon past realities that are light years away from those of the present, in order to fit the way quartets can live and sound today.
Traditionally, most string quartets have been composed of players from a single country or, in many cases, players who have spent their formative years studying at the same conservatory. The Lipkind Quartet, by contrast, is a truly multinational ensemble. It is composed of violinists Artiom Shishkov (Belarus), Yusuke Hayashi (Japan), violist Nora Romanoff-Schwarzberg (America and Austria), and cellist Gavriel Lipkind (Germany and Israel).
The members of the Lipkind Quartet generate one new program in each calendar year and perform it along with previously produced programs. Thanks to this working model, each program turns into a kind of year-long intensive case study of a specific stylistic and technical framework, the results of which are taken on stage in the following year and finally recorded on the Lipkind Productions label (in collaboration with Naxos of America and King International of Japan.) An additional feature of their live performances is the marvelous acoustic experience generated by the unusual seating arrangement of the players and the fact that the two violinists alternate the leading part in each work.
After many years of preparation, the Lipkind Quartet finally embarked upon its first concert season in 2008-09. Along with over 20 concert performances, it took a prominent part at the Gaia Festival in Thun, Switzerland, the Zeist Festival in the Netherlands; the Rheingau Music Festival; and numerous special events in Germany, Israel, Luxemburg, Belgium, Norway and Austria. A one-hour television broadcast on Dutch National TV (VPRO) opened the following season. At the beginning of this 2010/11 concert season, the Lipkind Quartet opened the biggest music festival in Belgium (the Klara Festival), followed by two tours in the BeNeLux countries. The season also sees the Lipkind Quartet undertaking tours of Israel and Central Europe and making its debut in the Japan and Russia as well as its American debut. They are particularly excited that it is here in Boston.
Their first album featuring this season’s program, “In Search of New Worlds,” was produced in the renowned Galaxy Studios in Belgium in 2010 and will be released in the summer of 2011. This is the program that will be performed in Boston this weekend.
Gavriel Lipkind explains:
On the surface, the program would appear to deal mainly with works that have been written in or under the impression of America – the New World. However, the real theme of the program has more to do with the general notion of a New World and the related hope for a “better life,” the search and longing for an alternative reality. The composers of these otherwise very different works had a deep state of mind in common when writing these pieces: a state of hope, longing, and discovery.
The concert is at Rashi School, located on the campus of Newbridge-on-the-Charles, 8000 Great Meadow Road, Dedham, MA (at the intersection of Routes 128 and 135). For information and directions click here.