UCLA's Clark Library announces its 2012-13 chamber music season
By Meg Sullivan September 06, 2012 Category: Arts & Humanities
On two occasions, the modernist tendencies of Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich nearly cost him his life, as first Stalin and then fellow composers and a cultural minister denounced his work.
But after each offense, Shostakovich promptly returned to the aesthetic party line, creating what has been described as a kind of "musical socialist realism," cheering the Soviet state's successes and mourning its losses.
On the side, however, the "shackled genius," as the persecuted writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once referred to the composer, continued to pour his heart — and his countrymen's heartaches — into profoundly personal quartets that managed to fly below the Soviet radar.
In the coming year, UCLA's William Andrews Clark Memorial Library will launch a four-year project to present all 15 of these string quartets at the hands of the highly acclaimed Pacifica Quartet.
In addition to the Pacifica's performance of the first four of the Shostakovich quartets, highlights of the 2012–13 season of Chamber Music at the Clark include performances by the Leipzig String Quartet, widely considered one of the premier classical ensembles in the world, and the meteoric Attacca Quartet, which is enjoying a string of victories in recent music competitions.
"We're really excited about our coming season, and it's very much in the tradition of Chamber Music at the Clark," said Barbara Fuchs, director of the Clark Library.
Over the course of its 18-year history, Chamber Music at the Clark has earned a reputation as a showcase for up-and-coming American ensembles and for established European talent seeking to break into the U.S. market. The approach has proven so successful that groups return to the Clark long after becoming established, and demand consistently outstrips available seating in the intimate venue.
In response to the series' popularity, organizers distribute tickets by lottery. Submissions are due approximately five weeks prior to each concert, with the first deadline on Oct. 1. The seven-concert season begins Oct. 28.
Here's the complete 2012–13 schedule:
The American String Quartet, the country's most august American chamber music ensemble, returns for its sixth performance at the Clark. Highlights include selections from Bach's "The Art of the Fugue," which, according to many sources, the composer died while writing. Composed for the keyboard, the piece is rarely performed by string quartets. Rounding out the concert will be the final quartets composed by two other masters: Beethoven's String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135 ("Muss Es Sein?") and Bartok's String Quartet No. 6 in D Major, Sz. 114. The concert is the quartet's first West Coast appearance of the season.
Performance: Sunday, Oct. 28
(Lottery closes Oct. 1.)
The Parisii Quartet, a Paris-based ensemble that is gearing up for its 30th anniversary in 2013–14, will perform the U.S. debut of one of three programs specifically chosen to celebrate that milestone. The concert will be the ensemble's second at the Clark. In addition to pieces by Ravel and Debussy (whose 150th birthday is being marked worldwide this year), the all-French concert includes a string quartet by rarely performed French Romantic composer Ernest Chausson. Chausson died while composing the String Quartet in C Minor, Op.35.
Performance: Sunday, Nov. 4
(Lottery closes Oct. 8.)
The Israeli Chamber Project, which showcases rising young Israeli musicians as well as Israeli composers, returns for its second Clark performance. One of the few woodwind ensembles that have been asked to play the Clark, the Israeli Chamber Project features a clarinetist in addition to strings and piano. The program includes a trio by 20th-century Israeli composer Mordecai Seter; Brahms' reflective and autumnal Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A Minor, Op. 114; and Schumann's popular and lyrical Fantasiestücke for Cello and Piano, Op. 73.
Performance: Sunday, Dec. 2
(Lottery closes Oct. 29)
The Zodiac Trio, a young ensemble associated with the Boston New Music Project, makes its Clark debut with a completely 20th-century program. The season's most modern lineup, the concert will include works by two living composers — the astringent and modern masterpiece "End of Summer" by American Ned Rorem, who turns 90 in 2013, and "Klezmer Fantayze," a 2011 homage to klezmer music by Andrew List, a Berklee College of Music professor who has composed pieces for the six-year-old Zodiac, which features clarinet, piano and violin. Rounding out the concert will be Stravinsky's popular "A Soldier's Tale"; a trio by Shostakovich protégé Galina Ustvolskaya, who is rarely performed in the West; and a late Bartok piece commissioned in 1938 by Benny Goodman.
Performance: Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013
(Lottery closes Jan. 2, 2013)
The Leipzig Quartet makes its second appearance at the Clark — and the only one this season in Southern California. The alumni of the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig will present Haydn's popular quartets "Sunrise" and "The Lark," as well as Schubert's quartet "Rosamunde." According to the Washington Post, the Leipzig "reached some sublime heights" and was "intensely great" when it presented a Haydn–Schubert program in February in Washington, D.C.
Performance: Sunday, March 10, 2013
(Lottery closes Feb. 4)
The Attacca Quartet, the current graduate resident string quartet at the Juilliard School, received the 2012 Arthur Foote Prize from the Harvard Musical Association and won prominent international chamber music competitions in Osaka and Melbourne in 2011. The ensemble, which began performing professionally a decade ago, has attracted attention for its interpretations of the work of contemporary American minimalist composer John Adams. At the Clark, they present Adams' "Fellow Traveler," selections from his "John's Book of Alleged Dances" and the second movement of his 2008 String Quartet — pieces featured on an Attacca recording to be released in January 2013. The ensemble also will perform Schubert's light-hearted String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major and Dvorak's folk-inspired String Quartet No. 13.
Performance: Sunday, March 17, 2013
(Lottery closes Feb. 11)
The Pacifica Quartet returns for its second concert at the Clark and its third at UCLA, having performed last year at UCLA Live. Following a three-year tour of duty as the quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a 2009 Grammy Award, the ensemble was recently named the quartet-in-residence and full-time faculty at Indiana University's prestigious Jacobs School of Music. Beginning with the 2010–11 season, the quartet has performed the complete Shostakovich cycle to considerable acclaim in New York, Chicago, Urbana, Montreal and London. "The remarkable Pacifica Quartet ... coaxed the music's unfathomable sorrows, fleeting joys and macabre humor to the surface as if creating it on the spot," the Chicago Tribune wrote. The Clark is the only venue where the Pacifica is meting out the Shostakovich experience over multiple years. It will be returning to the Clark through 2015–16 to complete the cycle.
Performance: Sunday, April 21, 2013
(Lottery closes March 18)
Admission to performances is $25 for the general public ($10 for UCLA students), thanks to support from the Ahmanson Foundation, the Edmund D. Edelman Foundation for Music and the Performing Arts, and several individual donors.
The Sunday afternoon concerts offer an opportunity to visit the rare-book library that was donated 86 years ago to UCLA by philanthropist and copper fortune scion William Andrews Clark Jr., who also founded the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The 2 p.m. performances take place in a sumptuous 100-seat drawing room specifically created by Clark, a talented musician himself, for his own chamber concerts. Modeled on a magnificent hall in the Doge's Palace in Venice, Italy, the wood-paneled room is renowned for its acoustics and features two ornate fireplaces, elaborate murals and vistas of the library's formal gardens. A reception with the musicians follows each concert.
Lottery instructions and submission forms are available at this website: www.c1718cs.ucla.edu. Submissions must either be hand-delivered or postmarked by the deadline to UCLA's Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies, 310 Royce Hall, Box 951404, Los Angeles, Calif. 90095-1404.
The Clark Library is located at 2520 Cimarron St. For information, call 310-206-8552.