Middlebury

Adventurous and talented string quartet performs November 2 in Concert Hall

October 21, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? On Sunday, Nov. 2, the dedicated and dynamic Keller Quartett will perform an afternoon concert at 3 p.m. in the Kevin P. Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall, located on South Main Street (Route 30).

Keller Quartett includes András Keller and Janós Pilz on violin, Zoltán Gál on viola and Judit Szabó on cello. Founded in 1987 at the Liszt Conservatory of Music in Budapest, the group received international attention in 1990 after winning first prizes at both the Evian and Borciani competitions. The quartet celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2007 with concerts at London's Wigmore Hall and Berlin Philharmonie as well as in Milan, Hamburg and Brussels.

Eager to explore the relationship between musician and composer and the juxtaposition of old and new, the Keller Quartett is known for their adventurous programming and profound musical curiosity. In one particularly well known program, the quartet intertwines parts of Bach's "Art of the Fugue" with works by György Kurtág. With composer Jörg Widmann, the group developed a program in which Widmann composed his "choral quartet" in relation to Joseph Haydn's "Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross." During the performance both pieces are interwoven. The Keller Quartett premiered this program in Germany in July 2003, and has performed it in various cities since.

In the 2004-2005 season, the ensemble performed a six-concert cycle in Rome, each time performing one Bartók quartet coupled with a late Beethoven quartet and one of the quartets that Mozart dedicated to Haydn. In addition to concerts all over Europe, they were invited to play at Carnegie Hall in March of 2005. In the summer of 2006, the quartet taught and performed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and has been invited back this year.

The quartet has had a long and fruitful relationship with Munich-based ECM, producing recordings of Bach's "Art of the Fugue," the complete works for string quartet by Kurtág, Schnittke's "Piano Quintet" with Alexej Lubimov, and Shostakovich's last string quartet. A recording of all Bartók duos for violins by the two violin players of the quartet was also released by ECM.

Though the members of the quartet all studied as soloists, it was their passion for ensemble playing that drew them together. The instruments of the Keller Quartett were manufactured by violinmaker Peter Greiner in 2000.
The performance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series. Reserved seating tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for seniors. A pre-performance brunch begins at 1:30 p.m. at Rehearsals Cafe in the Center for the Arts Reservations are required. For information, tickets or dinner reservations, contact the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433, or visit the Web site at www.middlebury.edu/arts.