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I’d like to recommend this lecture.

IVES COLLECTIVE OPENS SEASON WITH
Joaquin Turina, Ernst von Dohnányi & Gabriel Fauré
Bruce Adolphe uses Fauré’s Op.45 Piano Quartet as a starting point for a virtuosic discussion about music history, the nature of harmony, and Fauré’s unusual education and life. It is hugely entertaining!
– Stephen

2016-2017 Ives Collective Concert Series

 

FALL COLLECTIVE

Roy Malan, violin; Susan Freier, violin; Nancy Ellis, viola; Stephen Harrison, cello; Keisuke Nakagoshi, piano

PROGRAM:

     Joaquin Turina: Il Circulo for Piano Trio, Op.91,

     Ernst von Dohnányi: String Quartet No. 2 in Db Major, Op.15

     Gabriel Fauré: Piano Quartet No.2 in G Minor, Op.45

Sunday, October 2, 2016, 3PM

First Congregational Church, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, October 23, 2016, 4PM

Old First Church, San Francisco, CA
 

 

WINTER COLLECTIVE

Kay Stern, violin; Susan Freier, violin/viola; Stephen Harrison, cello; Susan Vollmer, horn; Julie Gregorian, bassoon; Carlos Ortega, clarinet; Arnold Gregorian, string bass; Lori Lack, piano.

     PROGRAM: It’s all Beethoven!

     Ludwig van Beethoven: String Trio in C Minor, Op.9, No. 3

     Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Quartet in Eb Major, Op.16

     Ludwig van Beethoven: Septet in Eb Major, Op.20

Friday, January 27, 2017, 7:30PM

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, January 29, 2017, 4PM

Old First Church, San Francisco, CA

 

SPRING COLLECTIVE

Roy Malan, violin; TBD, violin, Susan Freier, viola; Stephen Harrison, cello; Elizabeth Schumann, piano; Susanne Mentzer, Mezzo Soprano

     PROGRAM:

     Ottorino Respighi: Il Tramonto

     Johannes Brahms: Songs for voice, viola and piano, Op.91

     Johannes Brahms: Piano Quartet in C minor, Op.60.

Friday May 5, 2017, 7:30PM

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, May 7, 2017, 4PM

Old First Church, San Francisco, CA

 

Our Flex Pass subscribers may use their tickets at Old First Church in San Francisco or at First Congregational Church  or St. Mark’s Church in Palo Alto.

All programs, artists and policies of the Ives Collective are subject to change without notice.

2015-16 Ives Collective Concert Series

Concert Winter Series

FALL COLLECTIVE

 
Roy Malan, violin; Susan Freier, violin/viola; Paul Yarborough, viola: Stephen Harrison, cello; Keisuke Nakagoshi, piano.
 

Program: Great Romantic Works

Felix Mendelssohn:, Piano Trio in C minor, Op.66
Robert Schumann::, Piano Quartet in Eb Major, Op.47
Ernst von Dohnányi:, Piano Quintet No.2 in Eb minor, Op.26
 

First Congregational Church

Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, October 4, 2015, 3PM*

*Please note, this is an afternoon concert.
 

Concert Winter Series

WINTER COLLECTIVE

 

Susan Freier, violin; Stephen Harrison, cello; Elizabeth Schumann, piano; Peter Joseff, clarinet

 

Program: The End of Time

 
Olivier Messiaen: The Quartet for the End of Time
Paul Hindemith: Quartet
 

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Palo Alto, CA

Friday, January 29, 2016, 8PM

 

Old First Church

San Francisco, CA

Sunday, January 31, 2016, 4PM

 
*Please note, this is an afternoon concert.
 

Concert Spring Series

SPRING COLLECTIVE

 
Roy Malan, violin; Susan Freier, violin; Stephen Harrison, cello: Laura Dahl, piano; Ken Goodson, baritone.
 

Program: A Samuel Barber Celebration

 
Samuel Barber
String Quartet, Op 11
Cello Sonata, Op. 6

Dover Beach, Op. 3

Serenade for String Quartet, Op.1
3 Barber Songs: The texts of James Joyce’s Chamber Music (1907)
“Rain Has Fallen” “Sleep Now” “I Hear an Army”

 

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Palo Alto, CA

Saturday, April 23, 2016* 8PM

*Note this is a Saturday evening performance.

 

Old First Church

San Francisco, CA

Sunday, April 24 2016, 4PM

 

Our Flex Pass subscribers may use their tickets at Old First Church in San Francisco or at St. Mark’s Church in Palo Alto.

All programs, artists and policies of the Ives Collective are subject to change without notice.

IVES QUARTET SEASON 16

2014-2015 

HOME CONCERT SERIES

FALL

St. Mark’s: Friday, November 7, 2014, 8PM

Old First Concerts: Friday, November 14, 2014, 8PM

William Bolcom: Three Rags (Poltergeist; Graceful Ghost; Incineratorag)

Quincy Porter: String Quartet No. 9

Antonin Dvorak: String Quintet No. 3, Op. 97, Guest violist, Jenny Douglass

WINTER

St. Mark’s: Friday 27, 2015, 8PM

Old First Concerts: Sunday, March 1, 2015, 4PM

Joseph Haydn: Two movements for String Quartet in D Minor, Op. 103

George Rochberg: String Quartet No. 6, selections

Franz Schubert: String Quartet No. 15 in G Major, D. 887

 

SPRING

St. Mark’s: Friday, April 24, 2015, 8PM

Old First Concerts: Sunday, April 26, 2015, 4PM

Elinor Armer: Piano Quintet

Darius Milhaud: String Quartet No. 1, Op. 5

César Franck: Piano Quintet in F minor

Guest pianist, Mack McCray

Our Flex Pass subscribers may use their tickets at Old First Church in San Francisco or at St. Mark’s Church in Palo Alto. Unfortunately, we are no longer performing at Le Petit Trianon in San Jose.

 

MUSIC IN CONTEXT

Palo Alto Salon Series

Sundays at 4PM. Limited seating.

Tickets available by phone only: 650-224-7849

Please join us:

October 5, 2014

March 15, 2015

May 17, 2015

WINTER CONCERT SERIES: Each an Experiment

St. Mark’s: Friday, February 21, 8PM

Old First Concerts: Sunday, February 23, 2014, 4PM

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: String Quartet in E-flat major, K.428
  • Henry Cowell: String Quartet No. 3, Mosaic
  • Felix Mendelssohn: String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80

The searching Mozart, the experimenting Cowell and the grieving Mendelssohn make up the winter program.  In emulation of Haydn, Mozart seeks a more complex quartet style while Cowell’s Mosaic is just that—a free-form composition whose movements can be played in any order.  Mendelssohn’s last major work before his death, the F minor quartet, is subtitled “Requiem for Fanny” in memory of his beloved sister.

Ives Quartet concerts are possible because of YOUR generosity!

Gifts such as yours help pay for more than half of the Ives Quartet expenses, so we may provide our audience with extraordinary concerts and memorable music at affordable prices.

YOUR generous gift touches many lives.

In 2012-13, over 2,500 patrons enjoyed concert and salon performances locally, in Palo Alto, San Jose and San Francisco, as well as in other California communities where we were delighted to be guest artists. Our school concert programs, in partnership with Music for Minors, reached over 3,500 students, ages 5-14, introducing them to the joys of live music. IQ’s educational outreach program to under-served schools reached an additional 500 students. We also performed for seniors with mobility issues who enjoyed our concerts at local residences and community centers.

We highlight these activities and accomplishments as a way of sharing with you how your annual tax-deductible gift has such an important impact on so many members of our community.

As a patron of the arts, we believe that you belong to an exceptional group of people who are instrumental in maintaining music in our community. We invite you to support this special 15th anniversary year by clicking on the DONATE button at the top of the page.

Thank you for your continued enthusiasm and support.

Bettina, Susan, Jodi and Stephen

 

The Ives Quartet begins their season with operatic influences

 

November 4, 2013

The Ives Quartet begins their season with operatic influences

by Stephen Smoliar, SF Classical Music Examiner

This season the San Francisco performances of the subscription concerts offered by the Ives Quartet (violinists Bettina Mussumeli and Susan Freier, violist Jodi Levitz, and cellist Stephen Harrison) are taking place at Old First Church as part of the Old First Concerts series. That season began yesterday afternoon with a program entitled From Opera to Quartet. The program featured string quartets by two of this year’s “anniversary composers” of opera, the only mature purely instrumental work by Giuseppe Verdi (whose 200th birthday was celebrated last month on both October 9 and October 10 to account for any uncertainty), a four-movement string quartet in E minor composed in 1873, and the third published string quartet by Benjamin Britten (whose 100th birthday will be on November 22), his Opus 94 composed in 1975, not long before his death. These two major achievements were separated by “Crisantemi” (chrysanthemums), an elegy composed by Giacomo Puccini in 1890.

Verdi composed his string quartet in Naples “just to pass the time” (his words), due to delays in the revivals of Don Carlo and Aida. Jane Troy Johnson’s notes for yesterday’s program booklet observed that Verdi reportedly kept scores of the string quartets of Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven by his bedside. (This might explain why one of the more vigorous choral passages in Simon Boccanegra has a motivic trace of the Presto movement from Beethoven’s Opus 130 in B-flat major.) That “bedtime reading” served him well in his 1873 quartet, particularly in the energetic fugue of the final movement. The opening movement, on the other hand, offers an intriguing allusion to Aida (which was clearly on his mind at the time of composition); and the second movement Andantino could easily be called a song (or aria) without words.

The Ives Quartet performance proved to be quite effective. One could appreciate the music as the work of a composer whose bread-and-butter came from opera but whose admiration for Beethoven could sustain his attention at the end of a “typical working day.” Mussumeli got to “play the role of the diva” in the second movement but never neglected her allegiance to the more “democratic” interactions required by this string quartet. That “democratic stance” emerged in full glory with the concluding fugue, which may well have inspired Verdi to conclude Falstaff with an even more elaborate instance of fugal composition.

Britten’s last years were spent in the shadow of death. He had a heart valve replaced at the National Heart Hospital in May of 1973 but suffered a slight stoke after the surgery, which affected his right hand. One of nurses at the National Heart Hospital moved to Aldeburgh in 1974 and took care of him until his death in December of 1976.

It was in this setting that he composed (with his weakened right hand) the Opus 94 quartet. As might be suspected, his final opera, Death in Venice, was much on his mind. The fifth movement of the quartet, which is entitled “La serenissima” (the most serene one), had been composed while Britten was in Venice (probably in 1956). The “serenissima” theme became part of the opera; and the quartet movement became the conclusion of Opus 94. In sharp contrast that movement is preceded by a raucous burlesque that reflected Britten’s friendship with Dmitri Shostakovich. Shostakovich died on August 9, 1975, and his health had been deteriorating for several years. Thus, the shadow that death cast over Opus 94 was also being cast over Shostakovich at the same time.

One could thus appreciate the bleak rhetorical stance taken by the Ives Quartet in performing Opus 94. They even explained why they had selected to begin their program with it. Harrison observed that it is music that can only be followed by extended silence. However, because the mood is so dark, he felt that the break afforded by an intermission would be preferable to sending the audience home with the haunting qualities of Opus 94’s final measures as the most salient memory.

Ironically, the darkness “healed” by the intermission was followed by Puccini’s elegy. (In Italy the chrysanthemum is a flower of mourning.) Musically, however, this was a far briefer ternary-form composition that would probably have been called an intermezzo by Puccini’s Viennese predecessors. Many will recognize some of the thematic material, because Puccini subsequently used it in Manon Lescaut for several of that opera’s less cheerful moments. Johnson’s notes for the program book described those themes as “dripping with sentiment.” Fortunately, the Ives Quartet chose to dwell more on an informed account of Puccini’s approach to chromaticism than on playing up that sentimentality, providing an opportunity to appreciate not only the instrumental side of Puccini but also the impact of his capacity for brevity.

 

Subscriptions and single tickets now on sale for SEASON 15

Ives Quartet Season 15
FALL: From Opera To Quartet
St. Mark’s: Friday, November 1, 2013, 8PM
Old First Concerts: Sunday, November 3, 2013, 4PM

Benjamin Britten: String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94
Giacomo Puccini: I Crisantemi
Giuseppe Verdi: String Quartet in E minor

Beloved opera composers, Verdi, Puccini and Britten, also wrote a handful of gems for string quartet. Our program honors Britten’s centennial and Verdi’s bicentennial with performances of Britten’s last and Verdi’s single quartet, his only purely instrumental work. Puccini’s elegiac movement is one of his rare contributions to quartet literature and the only one still in the repertory.

WINTER: Each an Experiment
St. Mark’s: Friday, February 21, 8PM

Old First Concerts: Sunday, February 23, 2014, 4PM

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: String Quartet in E-flat major, K.428
Henry Cowell: String Quartet No. 3, Mosaic
Felix Mendelssohn: String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80

The searching Mozart, the experimenting Cowell and the grieving Mendelssohn make up the winter program. In emulation of Haydn, Mozart seeks a more complex quartet style while Cowell’s Mosaic is just that—a free-form composition whose movements can be played in any order. Mendelssohn’s last major work before his death, the F minor quartet, is subtitled “Requiem for Fanny” in memory of his beloved sister.

SPRING: East and West
St. Mark’s: Friday, April 25, 2014, 8PM
Old First Concerts: Sunday, April 27, 2014, 4PM

Julian Waterfall Pollack: String Quartet, co-commissioned with Telluride Music Festival
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: String Quartet No.3 in E-flat minor, Op.30
Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Quintet, in G minor, Op.57, guest pianist Miles Graber

Bay area native, Julian Waterfall Pollack, is an accomplished composer and a consummate jazz artist whose love of classic standards, romantics and minimalism influence this new work written for the IQ. Because of its deeply felt and immediately popular Andante funebre, Tchaikovsky’s Third Quartet, written in memory of a colleague, was played in memorial performances for the composer himself. For Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet, a 1940 masterpiece drawing inspiration from Bach, our good friend Miles Graber will join IQ.

MUSIC IN CONTEXT
Palo Alto Salon Series
Sundays at 4PM

October 6, 2013
Giuseppe Verdi: “Is There Opera in Here?”

Giuseppe Verdi, almost exclusively an opera composer, wrote one solely instrumental work, his String Quartet in E minor. What in Verdi’s unique voice travels across these seemingly disparate genres? IQ looks into the effect Verdi’s operative writing had on our musical decisions and rehearsal process.

March 9, 2014
Henry Cowell: California Maverick

We’ll focus on Mosaic and United, the third and fourth of Cowell’s quartets. What is experimental about these pieces? How do they fit into what was considered “modern” in Cowell’s time?

May 18, 2014
Julian Pollack: Popular music becomes “Classical”

Composer Julian Waterfall Pollack and IQ explore those qualities that cross-traditional boundaries in the composer’s new work. How did Pollack’s love of vernacular music find its way into the structure of a string quartet?

IQ will perform at The American Liszt Society's 2013 Festival

Friday, May 31, 2013, 2:30PM
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Brochure available at: http://www.sfcm.edu/american-liszt-society-festival

We're busy working on our 2nd Quincy Porter CD!

Enjoy a sampling from String Quartet No. 6.

Allegro

Adagio