Takács Quartet will play “Three Bs” plus one

Beethoven, Bartok, Beach and Barber part of the varied spring concert series

By Peter Alexander Jan. 10 at 11:30 a.m.

The Takács String Quartet is offering music by “Three Bs” for their spring concert series in Boulder — in fact, “Three Bs” plus one.

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Takács Quartet. Photo by Amanda Tipton.

These are not the traditional “Three Bs” of music history, Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Beethoven is there, but alongside him will be the Hungarian Béla Bartók, the remarkable American composer Amy Beach, and another American, Samuel Barber.

These composers and others will be featured across three different concert programs, performed on Sunday afternoon and Monday evening pairs: Jan. 13–14, Feb. 10–11 and April 28–29. As they often do, the quartet has invited colleagues from the CU College of Music to join them on two of the programs; pianist Jennifer Hayghe in January and baritone Andrew Garland in February.

The guests bring with them pieces from outside the quartet repertoire. With Hayghe the quartet will play the Quintet for piano and strings by Beach in January. With Garland, the February program will feature songs with string quartet by Barber (Dover Beach) and Ned Rorem (Mourning Scene).

Beyond those pieces, the bulk of the music on the three programs will comprise six works from the quartet repertoire, two each by Haydn, Beethoven and Bartók, and the less known Edvard Grieg String Quartet.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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Takács String Quartet
All performances in Grusin Music Hall, Imig Music Building

4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14

Haydn: String Quartet in G major, op. 76 no. 1
Beethoven: String Quartet in F major, op. 135
Amy Beach: Piano Quintet in F-sharp minor, op. 67
With Jennifer Hayghe, piano

Sold out

4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11

Samuel Barber: Dover Beach, op. 3
Ned Rorem: Mourning Scene
With Andrew Garland, baritone
Bartók: String Quartet No. 6
Grieg: String Quartet in G minor, op. 27

Limited seats available

4 p.m. Sunday, April 28 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 29

Haydn: String Quartet in C major, op. 33 no. 3
Bartók: String Quartet No. 5
Beethoven: String Quartet in C major, op. 59 no. 3

Limited seats available

Tickets 

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Takacs Quartet presents campus series with new second violinist Harumi Rhodes

Programs from the heart of the chamber music repertoire

By Peter Alexander Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

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Takacs Quartet: Edward Dusinberre, Geraldine Walther, Harumi Rhodes, and András Fejér (L-R). Photo by Amanda Tipton

The Takacs Quartet launches their 2018–19 CU campus concert series, the first with new second violinist Harumi Rhodes, Sunday and Monday (Sept. 23–24).

Rhodes joined the quartet last spring, following the retirement of founding second violinist Károly Schranz. She has made one recording and toured with the quartet over the summer, but this will be her first year-long series as a member.

The program for the fall’s opening concerts features works by three great composers of chamber music for strings: Joseph Haydn, Schubert and Shostakovich. Two of the pieces are not well known, as they are not performed often—Haydn’s Quartet in D major, op. 20 no. 4, and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 4. In contrast, the third work on the program, Schubert’s String Quintet in C major, is one of the greatest and most beloved chamber works of the 19th century.

Cellist David Requiro, a member of the College of Music faculty, will join the members of Takacs for the Schubert’s Quintet.

The second concert of the fall semester is scheduled for Oct. 28 and 29. It will feature another piece by Haydn—the Quartet in D minor, op. 76—alongside works by Bartók and Brahms. Notably, both concerts feature composers considered to be the heart of the Classic-Romantic chamber music repertoire.

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Edward Dusinberre

You might think that changing members in a well tuned ensemble such as the Takacs Quartet would require difficult adjustments, but Edward Dusinberre, the quartet’s first violinist, says that has not been the case. “We feel very comfortable with her,” he says of Rhodes. “We’re having a great time. She’s got chamber music and string quartets in her blood.”

He also points out that playing in a string quartet is always a process of negotiation among the ensemble members, and Rhodes fits into the environment very well. “When you’re playing chamber music, every phrase is an adjustment,” he says. “She’s got a very strong artistic voice, and that’s one of the reasons we chose her.

“Within the group there are always three or four different opinions, so that doesn’t change. It’s not like she’s coming into a situation where three of us have a standardized view of how things should be played. It’s totally not like that, so (adding Rhodes) feels like continuing the good work.”

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Harumi Rhodes

The transition has been very positive for Rhodes, too. She was a unable to speak to me, but sent some written observations: “Everything about joining the Takacs has changed my life for the better,” she wrote. “As soon as I joined the Takacs, I assumed a new identity. Filling this role with pride and joy is what every bone in my body was made to do.”

She has played chamber music for many years, but she has found new pleasures in the Takacs. “The biggest surprise has been the luxury of performing the same piece many times. I’ve always enjoyed the process of rehearsing and performing. But the trajectory is completely different when you have a life-long relationship with this music in this way, a relationship that spans many concerts in one season. This is new to me.”

Her email to me concluded with great enthusiasm: “I look at the season ahead and can’t wait to dive in.”

Dusinberre says that whether the pieces are familiar or not, everything on the Sept. 23–24 concerts is music the quartet enjoys. “Haydn’s Op. 20 No. 4 is one of our favorite pieces,” he says. “It’s got a slow movement where the solos are very well distributed between the parts. The minuet is tremendously fun, sort of off-kilter—Haydn tricking his audience, tricking us sometimes!”

According to Dusinberre, the first movement is one of the places where quartet playing does require negotiation among the members. “It’s got a rather simple opening theme that comes back many times, in different ways. There’s different ways of bowing it, and it’s like opening a can of worms to find out what bowing we’re going to do. We’ve already had some entertaining rehearsals on that.”

David Requiro

Cellist David Requiro

The Shostakovich Fourth Quartet is actually one that the Takacs has not played before. “It’s quite fun because it’s new for all of us, and not just Harumi, and I think that’s quite nice, because it sort of levels the playing field,” he says. “It’s a wonderful piece (that has) a strong sense of folk melodies early in the piece, and then it turns into something a bit darker and more dramatic and more exciting.”

The Schubert Quintet in C major is part of larger plans by the quartet. “We’re playing (the quintet) on the road with David (Requiro), at the White Lights Festival at Lincoln Center in October,” Dusinberre says.

“He’s a wonderful player. We’re very excited to explore this piece with him.”

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Takacs Quartet
CU Fall Concerts

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Takacs Quartet. Photo by Amanda Tipton.

4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24
Grusin Music Hall

Haydn: String Quartet in D Major, op. 20 no. 4
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 4 in D Major, op. 83
Schubert: String Quintet in C Major, D956
With David Requiro, cello

4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29
Grusin Music Hall

Haydn: String Quartet No. 2 in D minor, op. 76
Bartók: String Quartet No. 1
Brahms: String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, op. 51

Tickets

CU Presents Artists Series 2018–19 features Venice Baroque, Sarah Chang, Tafelmusik

Dates announced for Takács Quartet, Eklund Opera performances, other events

By Peter Alexander April 1 at 11:40 p.m.

CU Presents has announced its 2018–19 season of music, dance and theater, including significant classical music performances by guest artists and CU organizations.

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Venice Baroque Orchestra

The return of the Venice Baroque Orchestra to Macky Auditorium  will lead off the schedule of classical guest artists Nov. 2. Violinist Sarah Chang will present a solo recital Nov. 16, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the Toronto-based historical-performance group, will present “The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House” March 4.

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Sarah Chang. Photo by Colin Bell for EMI

There is also good news for those interested in world music. The Silkroad Ensemble, founded 20 years ago by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, will perform in Macky Jan. 31, and the remarkable Japanese drumming ensemble Kodo is scheduled for Feb. 16.

Boulder audiences have long relished the world-renowned Takács Quartet. With new second violinist Harumi Rhodes, they will present two performances each of five programs September through April. The Carpe Diem Quartet, featuring CU assistant prof. and Boulder Philharmonic concertmaster Charles Wetherbee as first violinist, will appear on another pair of concerts on the Takács series in November.

Finally, the Eklund opera program will feature two Macky Auditorium productions—a work celebrating the Leonard Bernstein centennial Oct. 26–28, and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin March 15–17—and Benjamin Britten’s setting of Henry James’s creepy ghost story Turn of the Screw in the Imig Music Building Music Theatre April 25–28.

The full listing of classical music events is below. Season ticket sales begin at 10 a.m. Monday, April 2, and single tickets will be available beginning Aug. 20. A listing of all CU Presents events, including theater and dance, popular attractions, and Holiday performances, can be found at the CU Presents Web page.

Tickets are available here,  or by phone at 303-942-8008.

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CU Presents Classical Guest Artists 2018–19
Performances in Macky Auditorium

Venice Baroque Orchestra
With Anna Fusek, recorder
7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2

Sarah Chang, violin
7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16

Tafelmusik
“The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House”
7:30 p.m. Monday, March 4

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Tafelmusik. Photo by Sian Richards.

Takács Quartet
Sundays sold out by subscription; Mondays have limited availability
All performances in Grusin Music Hall

4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23
7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept 24

4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28
7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29

Sunday, Nov. 25, 4 p.m. (featuring the Carpe Diem String Quartet)
7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26 (featuring the Carpe Diem String Quartet)

4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13
7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14

4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10,
7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11

4 p.m. Sunday, April 28
7:30 p.m. Monday, April 29

Eklund Opera Program

Title TBA*
Music by Leonard Bernstein
7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27
2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28
Macky Auditorium
*Due to contractual obligations, the title of this production will not be announced until May 1, 2018

Eugene Onegin
By Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
7:30 p.m. Friday, March 15, and Saturday, March 16
2 p.m. Sunday, March 17
Macky Auditorium

The Turn of the Screw
By Benjamin Britten
7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25; Friday, April 26; and Saturday, April 27
2 p.m. Sunday, April 28
Music Theatre, Imig Music Building

World Music Events

Silkroad Ensemble
7:30 p.m.. Thursday, Jan. 31
Macky Auditorium

Kodo
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Macky Auditorium

Takacs Quartet and guest Nicolò Spera will perform music for strings and guitar

‘I cannot wait,’ the guitarist says

By Peter Alexander March 10 at 1:30 p.m.

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Guitarist Nicolò Spera. Photo courtesy of CU College of Music

Nicolò Spera is excited.

The guitarist and CU College of  Music faculty member will perform Sunday and Monday with the Takacs Quartet, and he’s really pumped for the occasion. “I’m not sleeping at night, because I know it’s going to be one of the most exciting, incredible musical experiences of my life,” he says. “I cannot wait!”

The Takacs has long made it a point to include CU music colleagues on their concerts. In the words of second violinist Karoly Schranz, “it feels like a family, the College of Music. We have such a close connection with the faculty, it’s always a great feeling to play with them.”

In addition to Spera, the Takacs has already appeared this year with tenor Matthew Chellis and pianist Andrew Cooperstock from the CU faculty, and later in the spring they will also host violist Erika Eckert and cellist David Requiro as guest artists.

The program for the March 10–11 concert includes two works for the quartet alone, Mozart’s String Quartet No. 21 in D major, K575, and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, op. 131. Both are late works of the respective composers, and are among the great treasures of the repertoire.

With Spera, they will play portions of two different works: two movements from Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet in D major, known as the “Fandango” Quintet, and a movement from Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Quintet for Guitar and Strings.

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Luigi Boccherini

Spera didn’t want to play only the Boccherini on the concert because he has played it so often. But the entire Castelnuovo-Tedesco Quintet was too long to fit with the rest of the Takacs program, so he and first violinist Ed Dusinberre came up with the idea of playing individual movements from the two pieces.

“As crazy as it may seem, it sort of makes sense, because they have a lot of things in common,” Spera says of the two quintets. “Boccherini and Castelnuovo-Tedesco both loved the guitar, even though they didn’t play it. They both wrote guitar quintets, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco was inspired by Boccherini to write his own.

“The pairing of Fandango Quintet and the second movement of Castelnuovo-Tedesco Quintet works very well, for two reasons. The most important one is that they’re both very Spanish sounding. Boccherini was in Spain when he wrote the Fandango Quintet, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco was from a Sephardic Jewish family from Spain. And the keys (of the movements) work too.”

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Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

The movement by Castelnuovo-Tedesco is specifically about his family’s relationship with Spain. Titled Souvenir de España, it expresses the composer’s nostalgia for Spain when he was living in America, exiled from Europe by World War II. “It has the most beautiful theme which is introduced by the viola, and then one by one by all the members of the quartet, and then last you hear the voice of the guitar,” Spera says.

Returning to the subject of performing with the Takacs, Spera has one more thing he wants to say. “They are humble people, but for me they’re superstars. It’s a very humbling and very beautiful opportunity for me.”

Incidentally, the concert will be the final full performance by the Takacs with Schranz playing second violin. He announced his retirement earlier this year, effective May 1. He will be replaced by Harumi Rhodes, a member of the CU College of Music faculty.

For the Takacs Quartet’s final concert of the 2017–18 season, April 29–30, Schranz will play with the quartet for half of the concert, with Rhodes taking over second violin for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s String Sextet, “Souvenir de Florence.” Eckert and Requiro will complete the ensemble for that work.

Both performances of the coming concert are listed as “sold out,” but there may be tickets available at the last minute from the box office in the lobby of the Imig Music Building.

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Takacs Quartet. Photo by Keith Saunders

Takacs Quartet with Nicolò Spera, guitar

Mozart: String Quartet No. 21 in D Major, K.575
Excerpts from Boccherini: Guitar Quintet in D Major, G.448; and
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Quintet for Guitar and Strings, Op. 143
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131

4 p.m. Sunday, March 11
7:30 p.m. Monday, March 12
Grusin Hall, Imig Music Building

SOLD OUT; last minute seats may be available

EDITED March 11 to add the full name of cellist David Requiro, whose given name was inadvertently omitted in the original article.

Violinist Harumi Rhodes will join Takács Quartet; founding second violinist retires

Karoly Schranz, one of the original Takacs members, will retire May 1

By Peter Alexander Feb. 22 at 9:20 pm.

The Takács Quartet and the CU College of Music today announced the retirement of Karoly Schranz, the founding second violinist of the group. His position will be taken by current CU faculty member Harumi Rhodes, effective May 1.

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As of May 1, Takács Quartet members will be (l to r) Geraldin Walther, András Fejér, Edward Dusinberre, and Harumi Rhodes.

The other members of the quartet are Edward Dusinberre, first violin; Geraldine Walther, viola; and András Fejér, the sole remaining original member of the quartet, cello.

Takacs Quartet Publicity Photo

Karoly Schranz

The original Takács Quartet, comprising Gábor Takács Nagy, Gábor Ormai, Schranz and Fejér, first came to Boulder in 1986 as artists-in-residence at the CU College of Music. In addition to maintaining a high profile international career, the quartet presents an annual concert series on the CU campus that sells out two performances of each program, and frequently collaborate with their faculty colleagues.

In an e-mail message, Dusinberre commented, “[Schranz] has sustained his career so wonderfully over 43 years, and we’re very happy to welcome Harumi in a couple of months.” He also was quoted in at CU news release: “Individually, I have learned a huge amount from Károly and will always be profoundly grateful for the support he gave me after I joined the quartet.”

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Harumi Rhodes

Members of the quartet declined further interviews, saying they prefer to let the CU news release stand on its own. In the release, the quartet was quoted collectively saying “We are thrilled that Harumi has accepted our invitation to join the quartet. She is a wonderfully versatile violinist and chamber musician, and we greatly look forward to working with her.”

The Takács Quartet’s remaining programs for the 2017–18 season will be March 11–12 with guitarist Nicolò Spera; and April 29–30 with violist Erika Eckert and cellist David Requiro. (Follow the links for more information and tickets.)

The April concerts will feature both the final campus performances by Schranz as a member of the quartet, and Rhodes’ first performances. Schranz will play the second violin part for the first half of the program, featuring string quartets by Ernö Dohnányi and Shostakovich. Rhodes will then join with the other members of the Takács as second violin, along with guest artists Eckert and Requiro, to perform Tchaikovsky’s String Sextet, “Souvenir de Florence.”

Schranz plans to continue his career playing chamber music and teaching. You may read the full news release announcing the change in personnel here.
_____
Edited Feb. 22 to clarify the personnel of the April concerts.

 

 

Takacs Quartet welcomes pianist Cooperstock and tenor Chellis Feb. 4-5

Pieces by Mozart, Vaughan Williams and Dohnányi are on the program

By Peter Alexander Feb. 1 at 8:00 a.m.

One of the attractions that brought pianist Andrew Cooperstock to the University of Colorado faculty 18 years ago was, he says, “the idea of chamber music and collaboration among the faculty.”

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Pianist Andrew Cooperstock. Photo by Peter Schaaf.

Nothing embodies the collaborative environment in the College of Music better than the Takacs Quartet, with whom Cooperstock will be performing in Grusin Hall Sunday and Monday (4 p.m. Feb. 4 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5). “I love that they want to collaborate with faculty,” he says. “It’s been wonderful over the years.”

Members of the quartet feel the same way. “We have such a close connection with the faculty,” second violinist Károly Schranz says. “It’s always a great feeling to play with them.”

For the upcoming concert, Cooperstock and the Takacs will repeat a piece they first played together in 2002, the Second Quintet for piano and strings by the Hungarian composer Ernö Dohnányi. Another faculty guest will also appear on the program when tenor Matthew Chellis joins Cooperstock and Takacs violist Geraldine Walther to perform Four Hymns for tenor, viola and piano by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The Takacs will open the concert with Mozart’s String Quartet in G major, K387. The first of the quartets Mozart dedicated to Joseph Haydn, it is sometimes known as the “Spring” Quartet in spite of having been finished on Dec. 31, 1782.

More than just an homage to the older composer, K387 and the other quartets dedicated to Haydn show Mozart’s full understanding of the new quartet style Haydn had developed. Compared to Mozart’s earlier divertimento-like quartets, the movements are more expansive and serious, the voices are more independent, and there is much more use of counterpoint. Indeed, Mozart’s “Haydn Quartets” are considered among the greatest works of the Classical period.

While Mozart’s quartets are familiar to chamber music audiences, the same cannot be said of anything by Dohnányi. Active in the early 20th century, he wrote in an attractive late-Romantic style. “The Quintet is just a gorgeous piece,” Cooperstock says. “It’s very tightly composed, with themes that come back in the last movement to tie everything together. Everybody gets solos, and the interaction of the piano and strings is great!”

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Takacs Quartet: Károly Schranz, Geraldine Walther,  András Fejér, Edward Dusinberre. Photo by Keith Saunders

He is delighted to have the chance to play the quintet again so many years after his first performance with the Takacs. “It’s one of my favorite quintets,” he says. “In 16 years, you have a chance to forget and remember, so we’re learning it all over again.”

The original members of the Takas Quartet, who came from Hungary in the 1980s, have their own link to the composer. Denes Koromzay, the CU faculty member who brought the Takacs to Boulder as CU quartet-in-residence and served as a mentor, had studied with Dohnányi in Budapest.

“We heard many stories about Dohnányi from Koromzay,” Schranz says.  “He was student at the Franz Liszt Academy when Dohnányi was teaching there. He told us Dohnányi was not only a great composer, but also an amazing artist and piano player.”

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Matthew Chellis

Vaughan Williams’s Four Hymns is one of very few pieces written for the combination of tenor, viola and piano. “I’ve played a fair amount with viola, and I’ve played a fair amount with singers, but to get to play with both at the same time is very special,” Cooperstock says. “It’s a privilege to play with Matthew Chellis. He’s a terrific tenor.”

The hymns are based on religious poetry by four different English writers, from the 17th to the 19th centuries. “The pieces are very powerful,” Cooperstock says. “They’re very tuneful, but with a lot of contrast of character and sound and tempo. And there’s a certain soulfulness that the viola adds into the mixture.”

As much as he likes the music on the program, Cooperstock is particularly outspoken about the experience of performing with the Takacs Quartet. “It’s amazing to play with a group that’s been together for so long, because the ensemble is so tight, and their sense of timing and sound is so unified,” he says. “There’s a depth that they have that other quartets don’t have. To get to come into that picture is amazing.

“I’m very honored to participate with them, and I’m glad that they asked me to play with them again.”

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Takacs Quartet with Matthew Chellis, tenor, and Andrew Cooperstock, piano

Mozart: String Quartet No. 14 in G Major, K.387
Vaughan Williams: Four Hymns for Tenor, Viola and Piano
Matthew Chellis, tenor; Geraldine Walther, viola; and Andrew Cooperstock, piano
Dohnányi: Quintet No. 2 in E-flat minor for Piano and Strings, Op. 26
With Andrew Cooperstock, piano

4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4
7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5

Tickets

 

 

Busy Altius Quartet returns to CU Jan. 21–22

Three concerts by the Takacs Quartet will feature appearances by CU faculty artists

By Peter Alexander

The Altius Quartet is on the move.

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altos Quartet. Photo by Courtney Huffmann.

Formerly quartet-in-residence with CU’s esteemed Takacs Quartet, Altius has found themselves very busy, building their already-blossoming career. Since completing the residency, the group—comprising Andrew Giordano and Joshua Ulrich, violin, Andrew Krimm, viola, and Zachary Reaves, cello—has kept Colorado as their home base while recording two CDs, taking a trip to Beijing to collaborate with composer Bright Sheng, completing a tour of California, and giving other performances in Boulder and elsewhere.

Next they will appear on the Takacs concert series, with performances in CU’s Grusin Music Hall Sunday and Monday, Jan. 21 and 22. The series continues through the spring, with performances by the Takacs Quartet Feb. 4-5, March 11-12 and April 29-30.

A major work on the Jan. 21-22 program is taken from Altius’s recent CD of music by Shostakovich, the personal and darkly expressive String Quartet No. 8. Written in a time of despair for the composer, it is dedicated “to the victims of fascism and war,” but it is above all a reflection of Shostakovich’s own bleak thoughts at the time.

Other works on the program are Haydn’s well known “Emperor” String Quartet in C major, which includes a set of variations on “God Save Emperor Francis,” the anthem the composer wrote for Austrian Emperor Francis III; Through Fog, written for the Altius Quartet by JP Merz; and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in E minor, op. 44 no. 2.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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Altius Quartet
Music of Haydn, Shostakovich, JP Merz and Mendelssohn

4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 21
7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22
Grusin Music Hall

Takacs Quartet
Music of Mozart, Vaughan-William and Dohnányi
With Matthew Chellis and Andrew Cooperstock, piano

4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4
7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5
Grusin Music Hall

Music of Mozart, Boccherini, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Beethoven
With Nicolò Spera, guitar

4 p.m. Sunday, March 11
7:30 p.m. Monday, March 12
Grusin Music Hall

Music of Dohnányi, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky
With Erika Eckert, viola, and David Requiro, cello

4 p.m. Sunday, April 29
7:30 p.m. Monday, April 30
Grusin Music Hall

All tickets through CU Presents