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Jupiter String Quartet; 11/16/2014


Jupiter String Quartet

Nelson Lee, violin
Megan Freivogel, violin
Liz Freivogel, viola
Daniel McDonough, cello
November 16, Sunday
3:00 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Concert Hall

Entering its second decade of making music together, the Jupiter String Quartet has firmly established itself as an important voice in the world of chamber music. “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. The Jupiters return to Middlebury to perform Bach, Bartok’s sixth quartet, and Beethoven’s op. 132.

This free Performing Arts Series concert 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. Free, no tickets required

Photo Brian Stauffer

Read the press release>>
Associated Activity:


Pre-concert Lecture for PASS Members

November 16, Sunday
2:00 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Room 221

Members of the Performing Arts Series Society (PASS) are invited to a talk by Associate Professor of Music Larry Hamberlin about the music to be performed by the Jupiter String Quartet. Enjoy a backstage peek into the preconcert experience. A members-only event; membership information: 802.443.PASS (7277) or Free


The Jupiter String Quartet performs Mendelssohn's Quartet in f minor, op. 80, mvmt. 1 at the awards ceremony for the 2008 Avery Fischer career grants. Live from the Rose Studio at Lincoln Center.


J.S.BACH/MOZART Well-Tempered Fugues

Fugue in C minor, BWV 871
Fugue in E-flat Major, BWV 876
Fugue in E Major, BWV 878
Fugue in D minor, BWV 877
Fugue in D Major, BWV 874

BARTOK Quartet No. 6, Sz. 114

Mesto: più mosso, pesante
Mesto: Marcia
Mesto: Burletta: moderato
Mesto: Molto tranquillo


BEETHOVEN Quartet in A minor, Op. 132

Assai sostenuto – Allegro
Allegro ma non tanto
Molto adagio
Alla marcia, assai vivace
Allegro appassionato


Jupiter String Quartet

Nelson Lee, violin 
Meg Freivogel, violin 
Liz Freivogel, viola 
Daniel McDonough, cello

The Jupiter String Quartet 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 thirteenth year of making music together, the members of this tightly-knit ensemble have firmly established their quartet as an important voice in the world of chamber music. In addition to their performing career, the Jupiters are the String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where they maintain private studios as well as responsibility for running the chamber music program.

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, Austria’s Esterhazy Palace, and Seoul’s Sejong Chamber Hall. They have also been enthusiastically received at many major music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival (where they performed their first complete Beethoven quartet cycle), West Cork (Ireland) Chamber Music Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Music at Menlo, Maverick Concerts, Madeline Island Music Festival, Rockport Music Festival, the Banff Centre, Yellow Barn Festival, Skaneateles Festival, and the Seoul Spring Festival, among others.

The Jupiters have been fortunate to receive several chamber music honors over the course of their career. In 2008 they were awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant and, in 2007, they were given the Cleveland Quartet Award from Chamber Music America. Previously, 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.

The Jupiters’ relationship with CMSLC continued with a series of performances alongside vocalist Thomas Hampson, including a new commission for quartet and voice by Mark Adamo. The quartet also helped to commission a new quartet by the composer Hannah Lash, which they premiered at the Great Lakes and Aspen Music Festivals. Current projects include a second Beethoven cycle, this time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Bartok cycle (to premiere at the University of Illinois) and two upcoming recording projects, the first of which will include Visconti's string quartet as well as the Dvorak "American" quartet--interspersed with a selection of spirituals arranged for voice and quartet. The Jupiters just finished a multi-year visiting residency at the Oberlin Conservatory, and will continue their regular series of concerts as resident quartet at the beautiful Krannert Performing Arts Center in Champaign-Urbana.

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 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 form 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 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, are both musicians. Although Daniel originally wanted to be a violinist, he ended up on the cello because the organizers of his first string 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 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. Most recently, they collaborated on a collection of works by Ravel (Ravel: Intimate Masterpieces) on the Oberlin College label. Two upcoming recordings are in the works on the Azica label this season.

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. They are also proud to list among their accomplishments in recent years the addition of five quartet children--Pablo (5), Lillian (2), Clara (2), Dominic (0), and Felix (0). You may spot some of these miniature Jupiters in the audience or tagging along to rehearsals, along with their grandparent babysitters.

Ensemble Website:

Press Quotes

"The Jupiter Quartet offer[ed] an unforgettable performance… The group has a pleasing stage presence… the pleasure they take in one another’s musical company was palpable."--The Boston Globe

“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
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax