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April 6, 2019 – Rolston String Quartet High Note

Dear friends,
THE ROLSTON STRING QUARTET won the 12th Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC) in 2016.

Their win represents a remarkable musical success for Canada, as it marked the third time (out of 12) that a Canadian ensemble won the BISQC in front of an international jury, surpassing young string quartets from around the globe.

The Rolstons have since performed over 100 concerts around the world to great critical acclaim, as characterized by a reviewer from Ludwig van Toronto who wrote: “They performed with a maturity and cohesion rivaling the best string quartets in the world.”

When I heard them showcasing this January at the Chamber Music America conference in New York, it was clear that their performance was exceptional and stood out as the best of the two dozen other ensembles we heard.

The Rolston String Quartet begins their VIRTUOSI CONCERT with Haydn’s “Sunrise” Quartet (No. 63 in B flat major, Op. 76, No. 4). It was composed in 1797 and is long considered his finest among his 83 quartets. According to Melvin Berger in Guide to Chamber Music, the nickname comes from the opening passage “… where the first violin traces a loving curve of ascent…much as the sun gloriously rises to bathe the earth in its radiance.”

The Debussy Quartet in G minor (Op. 10) was composed almost 100 years after the Haydn quartet in 1893. It launched the musical impressionist movement which mirrored the revolution in French painting begun some 25 years earlier – both breaking away from the restraints imposed by their teachers and “The Academy”. As Pierre Boulez put it, Debussy’s intention was to liberate music from “rigid structure, frozen rhetoric and rigid aesthetics.” The focus was on modernity, new sonorities, and sensuous lines that are emotionally subtle and intense. Ravel modelled his quartet after Debussy and both quartets have the sound of the new century – even today in the 21st !

Brahms continually revised his String Quartet in A minor (Op. 51, No. 2) for many years before its publication in 1873. Melvin Berger wrote that if Beethoven was the inspiration for Brahms’ first quartet, “the spirit that informs the second belongs to Bach.” Yet we will not have Bach in mind when we listen to the finale – a wild Hungarian czardas! Indeed, there are references to Romani music throughout the piece.

CLICK HERE to listen to the opening of the Brahms quartet, performed by the Jerusalem Quartet

Young Artist Program
Elisheva Schwartz, a 15-year old cellist from Winnipeg, is pursuing her ARCT in Cello Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She is currently studying with Yuri Hooker, and has had the pleasure of working with Desiree Abbey, as well as several other distinguished musicians through summer programs and festivals.  Elisheva has had the honour of performing for the Governor General of Canada at Ottawa’s National Art Gallery. Most recently, Elisheva was a runner-up for the Aikins Memorial Trophy at the 2019 Winnipeg Music Festival. She has always been enthusiastic about spreading her love of music within her community, and is excited to be developing as a musician with hopes of pursuing a professional career!

Beginning our lovely evening of string music, Elisheva will be opening Saturday’s concert with the third movement from Gaspar Cassadó’s Suite for Cello Solo.

Enjoy this fabulous concert —

And don’t forget about our Pre-Concert Chat at 6:45, hosted for this concert by Madeline Hildebrand!

See you there!