Presents Pacifica String Quartet Friday, February 13, 2004 Bowker Auditorium, 10AM Study guides are also available on our website at www.fineartscenter.com - select Performances Plus! from Educational Programs, then select Resource Room BIOGRAPHIES Quartet Biography: One of today’s most dynamic and exciting string quartets, the Pacifica Quartet continues to win the hearts of audiences around the world with its impassioned interpretations and unique musical voice. The New York Times calls the Quartet "brilliant" and "astounding," and The Los Angeles Times writes, "There’s no point in predicting future greatness for the young Pacifica Quartet. That future has arrived." Formed in 1994, the Pacifica Quartet quickly achieved international stature when it captured three of chamber music’s most important awards, winning Grand Prize at the 1996 Coleman Chamber Music Competition, top prize at the 1997 Concert Artists Guild Competition, and the 1998 Naumburg Chamber Music Award. The Pacifica Quartet’s multi-disc recording contract with Cedille Records has thus far produced acclaimed recordings of Dvorak's chamber works (including the viola quintet with Michael Tree), and the complete quartets of Easley Blackwood. Its next scheduled release is the complete string quartets of Felix Mendelssohn. Cited by the Denver Post for their "zest for performance that carries the listener along breathlessly, passionately," the Pacifica is a leading advocate of contemporary music, commissioning and performing as many as eight new works a year. As resident string quartet for the Contemporary Chamber Players, one of the country’s leading contemporary music organizations, the Quartet presents a series of concerts each year devoted exclusively to new music. Recent performances have included premieres of works by Easley Blackwood, Maurice Gardner, and Robert Lombardo, and collaboration with Steve Mackey in a performance of his Troubador Songs. In the fall of 2003, the Pacifica Quartet became Faculty Quartet in Residence at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana and concurrently continues as Quartet in Residence at the University of Chicago, where it is the first resident ensemble in the history of the institution. Reflecting its dedication to musicians and music lovers of the next generation, the Pacifica Quartet was instrumental in creating the Music Integration Project, an innovative program that provides musical performances and teacher training to inner-city elementary schools. Individual Biographies Simin Ganatra, violin, has won wide recognition for her performances throughout the United States and abroad. She has been described by critics as an "excellent and unique violinist" and heralded for "creating a miraculous sense of flow and other worldly beauty." She has performed in such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, the Corcoran Gallery, and Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall. She is the recipient of several awards and prizes, including the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, top prizes at the Concert Artists Guild Competition and the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, and first prizes in the Union League of Chicago Competition, the Pasadena Instrumental Competition, the Minnesota Sinfonia Competition, and the Schubert Club Competition. Originally from Los Angeles, Ganatra studied with Idell Low, Robert Lipsett, and most recently Roland and Almita Vamos. She is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, where she was concertmaster of the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra and recipient of the Louis Kaufman Prize for outstanding performance in chamber music. She is currently on the faculty of University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana and the University of Chicago. Sibbi Bernhardsson, violin, began his violin studies at the age of five in Iceland, his native country. His teachers included Gudny Gudmundsdottir, Roland and Almita Vamos, Matias Tacke, and Shmuel Ashkenasi. He has received several awards and prizes, including the Icelandic "Lindar" award, and the release of his solo CD on the Icelandic label Skref, won praise for its "beautiful tone and fantastic performance." A graduate of the Reykjavik College of Music, Mr. Bernhardsson also earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he was elected to the Honorary Society, and a Master of Music degree from Northern Illinois University. As a member of the Icelandic String Octet, he performed across Europe, the United States, Asia, South America, and Canada. His international television appearances have included the MTV awards, Saturday Night Live, and the Jay Leno show with the award-winning pop star Bjork. He has served as Visiting Professor at the Oberlin Conservatory and is currently on the faculty of University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana and the University of Chicago. Masumi Rostad, viola, has been heralded as headed for "the big career" by New York Magazine and has distinguished himself with numerous prizes and awards. Rostad was winner of the Bronx Arts Ensemble's Young Artist Competition Grand Prize and the Lillian Fuchs Award for outstanding graduating violist at the Juilliard School, where he received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. As a Juilliard competition winner in 1999, Mr. Rostad performed the world premiere of Michael White's Viola Concerto in Avery Fisher Hall with conductor James DePreist. Rostad has performed internationally as a member of the International Sejong Soloists and the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra and has participated in the Marlboro Music Festival. He is currently on the faculty of University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana and the University of Chicago. Brandon Vamos, cello, has performed solo and chamber music recitals both in the U.S and abroad to critical acclaim. Praised by critics as a "first rate cellist" who plays with "gutsy bravura," Vamos has appeared as soloist with several orchestras worldwide including performances with the Taipei City Symphony, the Suwon Symphony in Seoul, the Samara Symphony in Russia, and the New Philharmonia Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. He was awarded Performer's Certificate at the Eastman School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music Degree as a student of Paul Katz. Vamos has also studied with distinguished artists such as Tanya Carey in Macomb, Illinois and Aldo Parisot at Yale University, where he earned a Master of Music Degree. He is currently on the faculty of University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana and the University of Chicago. For more information regarding the quartet, please visit their website www.pacificaquartet.com What is a String Quartet? A string quartet is typically made up of two violins, a viola, and a cello all working together as if they were one musical instrument. Good quartets spend hours each day practicing together to try to make the tone of the instruments blend well with each other. In order to accomplish this, the musicians need to work on how the instruments are bowed and to make sure they all play in tune. They also spend time deciding on how they will interpret the music written by the composer. The Violin The violin is the soprano member of the orchestral strings. The violin has a long history, which can be traced back hundreds of years. Various types of two, three, and four string fiddles exist in many different cultures all over the world, and many scholars believe the predecessors to the four string violin, which developed in Europe during the 1500’s, originated from the Middle East. The violin was used primarily to accompany vocal music and dancing during the Renaissance. During the 1600’s, composers began writing more for the violin and making greater demands on the instrument. These musical innovations were possible because of a school of Italian violinmakers who developed instrument making to a very high level. The modern bow was developed in the late 1700’s, and the chin rest was developed in 1820. The violin has not had any significant developmental changes in design since the 18th century. The Viola The viola is the alto member of the orchestral string family. It is held under the chin like a violin, but it is tuned a Perfect 5th lower. The size of a viola can vary greatly, with string length varying from 14" to 16" or greater. Violas are acoustically imperfect; the body of a viola would have to be an impractical size to correctly accommodate the string length, which explains why the viola has a different type of tone from the violin. A viola can be thin and cutting in the high register, yet very resonant in the mid to lower register. The viola developed alongside the violin, and their role within the modern string ensemble became standardized in the mid 1700’s. The viola typically plays the crucial middle voice that fills in the harmony. The Cello The cello, or violoncello, is the bass instrument of the violin family. It is tuned to the same pitches as the viola, one octave lower. The cello developed alongside the violin and viola, with several different sizes and tunings being experimented with during the 1500s and 1600s. The tuning of the instrument and size have been standardized since the late 1600s, although experiments such as the violoncello piccolo and a 5-string cello were developed in the 1700s. The cello was held between the legs of the performer until the late 1700s-early 1800s, when the endpin came into widespread use. Today, cellists are continuing to experiment with the length and shape of the endpin. From http://www.uvm.edu/~mhopkins/string/?Page=basics.html FAMOUS COMPOSERS Works by the following composers will be performed by the Pacifica String Quartet: Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) More than any other composer, Franz Joseph Haydn deserves to be named “father of the symphony.” Haydn, who was born in 1732 in the small village of Rohrau, Austria, developed the first symphony and wrote 104 symphonies throughout his lifetime. He was so well known that many later composers, including Mozart and Beethoven, went to study with him. Haydn's "paternity" is just as clear in the string quartets. He helped transform the genre from little more than a string divertimento (with the emphasis on the top voice) to a type of chamber music in which all parts play an equal role. These ideas directly influenced Mozart, who responded with six quartets dedicated to Haydn (1782-1785). His style is also detectable in the early music of Beethoven as well. Haydn and his contemporaries established the Classical tradition, reinventing musical forms at the end of the Baroque Era, the period of music from 1600 to 1750. He composed in just about every form, style and expression. He wrote operas, oratorios, and other vocal pieces, piano and string trios, string quartets, divertimentos, and many symphonies. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Mozart was an Austrian composer who was considered one of the leading composers of the Classical era and a master in all genres. As a child, he seemed gifted beyond all measure, playing at age six before the empress and composing at an even earlier age. By twelve, he had written an opera, and his talents seemed to know no bounds. From this auspicious beginning, one would have predicted a future filled with prestigious royal appointments. But his career, which ended tragically with his death at age thirty-five, was a constant disappointment. When once asked about a meager court appointment he held, Mozart replied: "I get paid far too much for what I do, and far too little for what I could do." His music did not always please those in power: "Too many notes," Emperor Joseph II was reported to have said. And Mozart himself, who always felt that his talents were never adequately recognized, was often difficult. The difficulties of Mozart the man, however, are eclipsed by the enormous power of Mozart the musician. His music was often joyous and almost raucous, and yet he could also write melodies of simple and haunting beauty. Similar to Haydn and Beethoven, other famous Classical composers, Mozart was just as comfortable writing simple, direct melodies as he was writing complicated contrapuntal works. There seems to have been no genre in which he was not comfortable, and we can rightly point to his best work in any of them as the epitome of that genre. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer. He first studied music with his father, who was a singer. After awhile, even though he was still only a boy, he started traveling far and wide to perform and was soon supporting his family. Beethoven studied with famous composers like Hadyn and Mozart. Beethoven was a musical genius, but writing did not come easy. He was constantly changing the music he wrote. It got even harder for him when started going deaf at the age of thirty. Even though he could no longer hear, he continued to write some of his best music! Beethoven is famous for his nine symphonies, but he also wrote many other kinds of music, including chamber and choral music, music for piano and string quartets, ballets, and an opera. He spent most of his adult life in Vienna and, because of his great music, came to be known as the most important composer who has ever lived. Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) The only contemporary composer to whom the students will be introduced, Astor Piazzolla’s music infused Jazz, classical music, and experiments in sound with Tango to produce his own unique sound. Born in Argentina, Piazzolla’s first instrument, the bandoneon – an instrument similar to an accordion – helped to shape his love of Tango music. In what appeared to be a brash decision, Piazzolla decided to leave the bandoneon and Tango music behind in order to pursue classical music. However, he quickly began to miss the bandoneon and Tango music and decided to combine the structure of classical music with the passion of the Tango. Piazzolla wrote compositions for both orchestras and movies. His opus, comprising more than 1000 works, a characteristic career and an undoubtedly Argentinean flavor, continues to influence the best musicians in the world of all generations. From www.essentialsofmusic.com, www.classicsforkids.com, and http://www.piazzolla.org/biography/biography-english.html RHYTHM As part of the Quartet’s performance, the Quartet will teach the audience certain beat patterns often found in music. During their performance of the Toy Symphony, six students will be chosen to come on stage and play the rhythm patterns on toy instruments with the Quartet! There are many different ways you can engage students in their learning about rhythm and beats, and the following is a game from www.classicsforkids.com that can be played with students as a means of teaching them about rhythm and beats: 1. Provide students with a half sheet of paper and have them draw a quarter note on the paper: 2. Have the students write the word "TA" under it. 3. Turn the paper over and draw a picture of a quarter rest. 4. Have the students practice saying and clapping “TA” when they see the quarter note and put their hands on their lap while saying “Rest” when they see the quartet rest. 5. Then, have students create their own rhythm patterns by organizing the notes and rests in whatever pattern they like! You can also try to incorporate some other notes and rhythms from the following chart into the rhythm pattern. The chart is from www.classicsforkids.com and shows different music symbols and their rhythmic names. Although this is a simple rhythm game, if you would like to further prepare your students for the rhythm game, please consult library books, the Internet, or your school’s music department! From www.classicsforkids.com QUIZ In addition to performing (both as a Quartet and with students), the Quartet will also introduce the audience to their instruments and to famous composers. The Quartet will then ask three volunteers to come on stage and participate in a quiz show with questions about what they have learned. In preparation for the Quartet’s quiz, students can complete the following quiz by referencing this study guide, the library, the Internet, and the school’s music department! 1. Identify the following notes and rests: 2. What is a measure of music? 3. If a time signature is how many beats per measure are there? 4. What instruments comprise a String Quartet? 5. Name two additional composers other than the ones included in this guide. 6. What instrument generally plays the middle voice? 7. Who composed the “Toy Symphony”? 8. Which composer composed the most pieces of music in his lifetime? 9. Which composer continued to write music even after he started going deaf? 10. Which instrument is the soprano member of the orchestral strings?