From left to right: Alexandra Kazovsky, Jan Grüning, Amit Even-Tov and Gershon Gerchikov are the Ariel Quartet. Photography by Saverio Truglia.
The Ariel Quartet proudly presents its first Beethoven Cycle during a series of six concerts in January, February and March of 2014. The acclaimed string quartet-in-residence at CCM will present a complete tour of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 17 string quartets (including the “Große Fuge” or “Grand Fugue”) in a performance series dubbed “The Cycle.”
With this series, the Ariel Quartet (Alexandra Kazovsky and Gershon Gerchikov, violinists; Jan Grüning, violist; and Amit Even-Tov, cellist) is poised to become one of the first professional Quartets to publicly perform the complete Beethoven cycle before its members reach the age of 30.
These six concerts will also mark the first time a complete cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets has been performed at CCM. The series is believed to be Cincinnati’s first complete Beethoven Cycle, as well.
“The members of the Ariel Quartet and I began speaking of their interest in performing the Beethoven Quartet Cycle almost as soon as they began their CCM residency,” explains Peter Landgren, Dean and Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music at CCM. “I view the performance of all of the Beethoven String Quartets as the scaling of Mount Everest for not just the performers, but also the listeners.”
Beethoven’s 17 string quartets are considered by many to be the greatest achievement in the history of western chamber music. The members of the Ariel Quartet have had a longstanding fascination with these pieces, exploring Beethoven’s quartets one by one as a young ensemble.
“The quartets exhibit the gradual transformation of Beethoven’s musical language and were of tremendous influence on the development of music history,” the members of the Quartet explain. “Beethoven’s tragedies and struggles in life come through this music. The complete cycle of his string quartets translates into a journey leading to the most intimate and spiritual heights of the human soul.”
While many Quartets perform the cycle over a year’s time or longer, Dean Landgren challenged the Ariel Quartet to consider a “festival-style” approach to its upcoming cycle, keeping the performances in close proximity. The result is a concert series running on three pairs of consecutive Thursdays and Saturdays at the end of January, February and March. See complete schedule below.
“Hearing these masterpieces performed by the Ariel Quartet – not one member of which will be 30 years old at the time of these performances – will be life-changing for our audiences,” says Dean Landgren. “We have plans to record these live performances for posterity.”
For their part, the members of the Ariel Quartet are equally enthused about this concert series. “After exploring these works for so many years, we feel very lucky to have the opportunity to perform all of them as a cycle following the historical path these quartets reveal. This will be our first complete cycle, which will add so much to the unbelievable excitement and thrill!”
“The Cycle” will be held in UC’s acoustically stunning Corbett Auditorium with performances scheduled for 8 p.m. on January 23 and 25, February 20 and 22 and March 27 and 29, 2014.
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