They are our faculty string quartet-in-residence and one of the rising talents in the classical music world, and they will be performing twice before spring arrives. They are the Jupiter String Quartet. The Foellinger Great Hall of Urbana’s Krannert Center will host concerts on January 30 and March 15 that just might convince a seasoned concert-goer that this new faculty quartet is something really special.
As they enter their first full academic year, one cannot help but note how the number of their campus concerts and the variety of those concert programs has increased. As the Pacifica Quartet announced its departure to the wealthier environment of Bloomington, Indiana, some set of local heroes realized this fine ensemble was available and would be a superlative fit for the School of Music’s faculty quartet-in-residence. First violinist Nelson Lee remembers, “We were contacted in March of 2012 about the residency. Having been on the lookout for an opportunity like this, we leapt at this chance to apply.”
Established in 2001 in the Boston area, and recent winners of such prestigious honors as the Cleveland Quartet Award and Banff International String Quartet Competition, this exceptional young group seemed ideal as teaching faculty and performers. Their concert schedule remained intact, and it would be set in the future around their campus residence time, but always there to promote the University of Illinois and the quartet to the world of classical music.
“I think there there is a collective understanding that is it a great way to be ambassadors for the School of Music and to increase the School of Music’s exposure around the country,” Lee noted about the quartet’s concert schedule. But, he made it clear that the Jupiter Quartet members are faculty members with faculty responsibilities: “As a resident quartet, we become members of the string faculty at the School of Music. As a result, we each have a studio of private students and also coach student chamber groups.”
The January 30 concert, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Great Hall, will feature works that cover almost 200 years of musical history. Dan Visconti’s (b. 1982) work, Ramshakle Songs, will represent the current trends in composing. Benjamin Britten’s String Quartet #3 will represent the 20th century, and Schubert’s String Quartet #14 (“Death and the Maiden”) will give listeners some familiar sounds from the 19th century.
Then, on March 15, music lovers can assemble at 10:00 a.m. at the Great Hall for Bagels and Beethoven. Yes, it’s a morning concert with breakfast in the lobby and two Beethoven quartets on the menu in the concert hall.
This extraordinary young quartet is quickly establishing its world-class credentials way beyond its five or so CDs and growing concert schedule. With the University of Illinois as the quartet’s home base, those of us in the C-U area with a love for classical fare are fortunate to be witnesses to the further development of a world-class ensemble.
For information on both concerts go to: www.krannertcenter.com.