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Jupiter String Quartet

Thursday, November 29, 2012
12:15 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Concert Hall

Jupiter String Quartet

A midday program of Kurtag's profound 12 Microludes and Schubert's beloved G Major Quartet. This free Performing Arts Series recital is made possible with generous support from the Institute for Clinical Science and Art, in memory of F. William Sunderman Jr. and Carolyn Reynolds Sunderman. Residency activities are made possible by the Rothrock Family Fund for Experiential Learning in the Performing Arts, established in 2011, which supports opportunities that broaden the scope of Middlebury students' experience in the performing arts. Free; no tickets required.
Read the press release>>





KURTAG “Hommage à Mihály András”, 12 Microludes, Op. 13

IV.    Presto
V.     Lontano, calmo, appena sentito
VIII. Con slancia
X.     Molto agitato
XII.   Leggiero, con moto, dolce


SCHUBERT Quartet in G Major, D. 887

Allegro molto moderato
Andante un poco moto
Scherzo: Allegro vivace
Allegro assai


Ensemble Biography

The JUPITER STRING QUARTET, formed in 2001, is a particularly intimate group, consisting of violinists Nelson Lee and Megan Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel (older sister of Meg), and cellist Daniel McDonough (husband of Meg, brother-in-law of Liz). As they enter their eleventh year of making music together, this tightly knit ensemble has firmly established itself as an important voice in the world of chamber music. The Jupiters are thrilled to be joining the faculty of the University of Illinois as String Quartet-in-Residence this year. In addition, they hold visiting faculty residencies at Oberlin Conservatory and Adelphi University, and will continue a multi-year residency at Atlanta’s beautiful Spivey Hall.

The Quartet concertizes across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. They have enjoyed playing in some of the world’s finest halls, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall, Mexico City's Palacio de Bellas Artes, Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center and Library of Congress, and Seoul’s Sejong Chamber Hall. They have also been enthusiastically received at several major music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival (where they recently performed their first complete Beethoven quartet cycle), the Caramoor International Music Festival, Music at Menlo, the Honest Brook Festival, the Yellow Barn Festival, the Skaneateles Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, and the Seoul Spring Festival.

In addition to its formal concert schedule, the Jupiter String Quartet places a strong emphasis on developing relationships with future classical music audiences through outreach work in the school systems and other educational performances. They believe that chamber music, because of the intensity of its interplay and communication, is one of the most effective ways of spreading an enthusiasm for “classical” music to new audiences. 

Indeed, it was early exposure to chamber music that brought these four musicians to found the Jupiter String Quartet. Meg and Liz grew up playing string quartets with their two brothers, Ben and J. Rehearsals were often quite raucous, but they grew to love chamber music during weekly coachings with Oliver Edel, a wonderful cellist and teacher who taught generations of students in the Washington, D.C. area. Nelson also comes from a musical family–both of his parents are pianists (his father also conducts) and his twin sisters, Alicia and Andrea, play clarinet and cello. Although Daniel originally wanted to be a violinist, he ended up on the cello because the organizers of his first strings program declared that he had “better hands for the cello.” He remains skeptical of this comment (he was, after all, only five), but is happy that he ended up where he did. 

The Jupiter Quartet also feels great indebtedness to the wise instruction of members of the Takacs and Cleveland Quartets, who guided them through the early years of their development as an ensemble. The quartet chose its name because Jupiter was the most prominent planet in the night sky at the time of its formation and the astrological symbol for Jupiter resembles the number four. 

The Jupiters have been fortunate to receive several chamber music honors over the course of their career. In 2008 they received an Avery Fisher Career Grant and, in 2007, they were given the Cleveland Quartet Award from Chamber Music America. Before that, the Jupiters were awarded first prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition (where they also received the Szekely Prize for best performance of a Beethoven quartet), and grand prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. The quartet’s career began to take off after being selected in the Young Concert Artists International auditions in 2005. From 2007-2010, the Quartet was in residence at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Two and, in 2009, they received a grant from the Fromm Foundation to commission a new quartet from Dan Visconti for a CMSLC performance at Alice Tully Hall. 

While relishing the opportunity to work with living composers, the Jupiters still feel a strong and fundamental connection to the core string quartet literature, particularly the wonderful set of sixteen quartets by Beethoven and the six quartets of Bela Bartok. The quartet has recorded works by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Britten for Marquis records. American works by Barber, Seeger, and Gershwin were also recorded for iTunes in conjunction with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Deutsche Grammophon.

The Jupiter Quartet is managed by Bill Capone of Arts Management Group (

Ensemble Website



Press Quotes

“From beginning to end, they played as if they were on fire, with passion and energy galore. But what was most impressive was the vibrant approach they brought to the work. The music was always changing, with shifting dynamics, crisp articulations and exciting phrasing.” --Kansas City Star

“Every so often a performance leaves us in awe of its loving sophistication, its attention to the finest details of balance and expression. That’s how it was with the Jupiter String Quartet’s performance…"--Dallas Morning News

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
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(802) 443-2834 fax