When the Calidore String Quartet takes the concert stage at the University of Delaware on Friday, Dec. 8, the award-winning musicians will be celebrating a successful first year as UD’s visiting guest artists and looking forward to a busy and productive 2018.
“It was really fortuitous that we were able to come to the University of Delaware last spring,” said violinist Ryan Meehan. At the time, the quartet had completed a two-year artist-in-residence appointment at Stony Brook University, where Dennis Assanis, now UD’s president, had recently served as provost.
At UD, Meehan said, “We’ve had great opportunities to perform, and we always find time to work with students. We’re very indebted to all the people who have helped us in our careers, so we feel strongly about paying it forward.”
The Calidore musicians—Meehan and fellow violinist Jeffrey Myers, cellist Estelle Choi and violist Jeremy Berry—have worked individually with UD students, coaching them and leading master classes. They’ve also held informal get-togethers and question-and-answer sessions where they’ve offered students advice about pursuing careers in music.
Shortly after joining UD as visiting guest artists in early 2017, the Calidore headlined a three-day Mendelssohn Festival on campus, performing the works of Felix Mendelssohn in three concerts, including one with the University’s Serafin Quartet.
“This is a very exciting time for music at the University of Delaware,” Russell Murray, chair of the Department of Music, said at the time. “With such well-considered support and high-caliber visiting artists, we can continue and accelerate the growth of our outstanding music program.”
The quartet has performed several other concerts at UD during 2017, in addition to touring widely. In February, the Calidore was honored by New York’s Lincoln Center with its Emerging Artist Award, which cited the ensemble’s “outstanding artistry and promising future.”
A performance at Lincoln Center in May, reviewed in The New York Times under the headline “A Quartet With Sunny Energy and Grunge-Band Grit,” called the Calidore a “charismatic young ensemble.”
Citing the quartet’s “deep reserves of virtuosity and, above all, irrepressible dramatic instinct,” reviewer Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim described the musicians playing “with synergistic brilliance and ferocious commitment.”
About the Dec. 8 concert and 2018
The Calidore String Quartet will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 8, in Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts at UD.
The program will feature Brahms’ String Quartet No. 1, Op. 51; György Kurtág’s Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánsky, Op. 28; and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 9.
“This concert will show some different flavors, with Russian, German and Hungarian composers,” Meehan said. “It will really demonstrate the capacities of the string quartet.”
Kurtág’s work is especially distinctive, he said, including an unusual collection of extremely short pieces. “I’m so excited to bring it to UD,” he said.
Tickets, at $15 for adults, $10 for UD faculty, staff and alumni and $5 for students, are available at the REP Box Office by phone or in person, Monday through Friday, from noon-5 p.m. at (302) 831-2204 or at the door subject to availability, by cash or check only.
In 2018, the quartet is planning a focus on Beethoven as they hope to play the composer’s full string quartet cycle of 16 pieces he wrote between 1799 and 1826.
Playing the cycle in a given period of time can be “a Herculean task,” Meehan said, but it’s one that most string quartets aspire to.
About the Calidore String Quartet
The ensemble’s musicians met as students at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles and have been performing together since 2010. They have been mentored throughout their careers by the award-winning Emerson String Quartet.
The Calidore has been praised by the Los Angeles Times for its “balance of intellect and expression” and by the Washington Post as “already world-class.” It made international headlines as the winner of the $100,000 Grand Prize of the 2016 and inaugural M-Prize International Chamber Music Competition, the largest prize for chamber music in the world.
Also last year, the quartet became the first North American ensemble to win the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and was named BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists, an honor that brings with it recordings, international radio broadcasts and appearances in Britain's most prominent venues and festivals.
The Calidore String Quartet regularly performs in prestigious venues throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has released three commercial recordings.