Franklin Countys First News

ArtsFarmington presents The Cassatt String Quartet


FARMINGTON - ArtsFarmington is sponsoring a Maine Mountain Chamber Music concert featuring the very prestigious Cassatt String Quartet. They will perform Mendelssohn’s Quartet in a minor; Dvorák’s Piano Quintet in A Major, with Yuri Funahashi playing the piano; and The Incomplete Journey by XinYan Li. Two Pieces for viola and cello by Rebecca Clark will be performed by Betsy Anderson, cello, and Laurie Kennedy, viola. The performance will take place in Nordica Auditorium (in Merrill Hall) at the University of Maine at Farmington, starting at 3 p.m.

Acclaimed as one of America's outstanding ensembles, the Manhattan-based Cassatt String Quartet has performed throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East, with appearances in London for the Sapphire Jubilee Celebration of Queen Elizabeth II, the Beijing Modern Music Festival, New York's Alice Tully Hall and the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Theater, the Kennedy Center and Library of Congress in Washington, DC, the Theatre des Champs in Paris and Maeda Hall in Tokyo. The Quartet has been presented on major radio stations such as National Public Radio's Performance Today, Boston's WGBH, New York's WQXR and WNYC, and on Canada's CBC Radio and Radio France.

Recent 2017 reviews state "...the Cassatt String Quartet is certainly one of the great ensembles of our age" (Concerto Net) and "... a wonderful performance, with a beautifully integrated sound..." (Jeffrey James for SoundWordSight). It has been cited numerous times in The New Yorker magazine's Best Of...CD Selection. The Cassatt String Quartet is named for the celebrated American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.
Laurie Kennedy and Yuri Funahashi, founders (in 2002) and co-directors of Maine Mountain Chamber Music, have been providing the community with the very best of chamber music. Laurie Kennedy has been Principal Violist and concerto soloist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra since 1981, and has performed at chamber music festivals throughout the Northeast. She received her Masters and the Performers Certificate from Indiana University School of Music. Yuri Funahashi has performed in Japan, Australia, Canada, throughout Europe and in many of the major halls in the U.S. She is a performing member of the Festival Chamber Music Society in New York City, and has collaborated with the Verdehr Trio, and the Brentano and Cassatt String Quartets. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

About the music, briefly:
Dvorák’s Piano Quintet in A Major is one of Dvorák’s most characteristic and idiomatic compositions; it is ranked as one of the finest works of its kind. The British scholar Alex Robertson called it "simply one of the most perfect chamber music works in existence...the melodies are of the greatest beauty and freshness, and a joyous springtime happiness flows through the music. [From a Kennedy Center program / © Robert Markow]
Mendelssohn's rise to mature talent was precocious and meteoric: he wrote the Overture to the Midsummer Night's Dream at seventeen and the String Quartet in a minor at eighteen. The quartet is lyrical, intensely passionate and utterly winning. Its structure revolves around a tender love song (compose by Mendelssohn) which makes literal appearances in both outer movements while lending its spirit to the inner ones, all movements being bound into stunning thematic unity. [from earsense.org, by Kai Christiansen]

Rebecca Clarke’s Two Pieces – Lullaby and Grotesque – for Viola and Cello, were written around 1916. Clarke was an English composer best known for her highly imaginative and accessible chamber works for strings, and her virtuosic performances on the viola. Although she had great successes, especially in the U.S., as a woman, she found acceptance of her work difficult, and did not compose or perform for the last 35 years of her life.
Admission for the concert: $15 / free for 18 & under and for students with UMF ID. For more information: 207-778-5074, or check the ArtsFarmington home page at artsfarmington.org .

Arts Farmington is affiliated with the University of Maine in Farmington

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