1. The Tokyo String Quartet has finished their last concert at 92Y tonight, to an appreciative full house. In July, they will retire an extraordinary 44-year career.
The Tokyo String Quartet first performed at 92Y in 1977. It became the 92Y quartet-in-residence in 2003. In those years, they played 31 concerts and 101 works by 20 composers to thousands of fans. Tonight we bid farewell to this remarkable ensemble. Together, we thank the Tokyo for the enlightenment, insight and sheer pleasure they have brought into our lives. We look forward to welcoming them back to 92Y as individuals and friends in the years to come.
(Photo of the Tokyo String Quarter rehearsing at 92Y for the last time. May 11, 2013.)

    The Tokyo String Quartet has finished their last concert at 92Y tonight, to an appreciative full house. In July, they will retire an extraordinary 44-year career.

    The Tokyo String Quartet first performed at 92Y in 1977. It became the 92Y quartet-in-residence in 2003. In those years, they played 31 concerts and 101 works by 20 composers to thousands of fans. Tonight we bid farewell to this remarkable ensemble. Together, we thank the Tokyo for the enlightenment, insight and sheer pleasure they have brought into our lives. We look forward to welcoming them back to 92Y as individuals and friends in the years to come.

    (Photo of the Tokyo String Quarter rehearsing at 92Y for the last time. May 11, 2013.)

  2. harmoniamundiusa:

Tokyo String Quartet plays 92nd Street Y in NYC this Saturday with cellist Lynn Harrell. Don’t miss one of the last remaining US dates by the retiring quartet! Pre-order DVORAK. SMETANA. Quartets. 

Tomorrow is their FINAL NY Concert. Get tickets here, listen to audio clips, and read a letter from 92Y to the Tokyo String Quartet.

    harmoniamundiusa:

    Tokyo String Quartet plays 92nd Street Y in NYC this Saturday with cellist Lynn Harrell.

    Don’t miss one of the last remaining US dates by the retiring quartet! Pre-order DVORAK. SMETANA. Quartets.

    Tomorrow is their FINAL NY Concert. Get tickets here, listen to audio clips, and read a letter from 92Y to the Tokyo String Quartet.

  3. Remember the hand signals François Truffaut used to communicate with the alien in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? They were created by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály to help children learn music. He made a way to see music—now the Tokyo String Quartet lets you *hear his music* with a rare performance of his Quartet No. 2 at 92Y on Saturday.  Tickets, program notes, and audio clip, here.

    Remember the hand signals François Truffaut used to communicate with the alien in Close Encounters of the Third Kind? They were created by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály to help children learn music. He made a way to see music—now the Tokyo String Quartet lets you *hear his music* with a rare performance of his Quartet No. 2 at 92Y on Saturday.

    Tickets, program notes, and audio clip, here.

  4. Tomorrow, January 26, the Tokyo String Quartet gives the U.S. premiere of Lera Auerbach’s String Quartet No. 6, “Farewell,” co-commissioned by 92nd Street Y.
Ms. Auerbach, who excels as a composer, author, poet and painter, painted the canvas above, about her work and the Tokyo String Quartet. She also provided the following commentary:

When I was young I enjoyed writing program notes for my music—I felt it was a way for me to protect it from possible misunderstanding—one last service that a composer could do for his child before it’s fully on its own. I no longer like writing about my music. What I realize is that you can’t protect your “child” and should just let it be without any attempts to explain or defend it. Sometimes letting go is the hardest thing to do. The music is out there on its own. Whether you like it or not, it’s no longer under your control, and frankly, it never was. Revealing the umbilical chord that still ties you, as a composer, to your work only does your music disservice.
Any work of art—a poem, a painting, a symphony, at its best—is much larger than its creator; or at least its co-creator—the one with a pen in hand; the one, who, for better or worse, claims authenticity to its title. Akhmatova wrote, “Who knows, from what dust the poem is born?” (To be more accurate, she used a stronger word—instead of “dust” she wrote, “trash,” or “waste.”) No one knows this, except the Poet. No one should know. Let shadows remain shadows; the dirty dishes should stay in the kitchen and not to spoil the feast.
Let music connect directly to the listener regardless of the composer’s own attempts to interpret its essence. Jorge Luis Borges wrote, “A man sets himself in the task of portraying the world. Over the years he fills a given surface with images of provinces and kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fish, rooms, instruments, heavenly bodies, horses, and people. Shortly before he dies he discovers that this patient labyrinth of lines is a drawing of his own face.

Learn more about the work and the concert.

    Tomorrow, January 26, the Tokyo String Quartet gives the U.S. premiere of Lera Auerbach’s String Quartet No. 6, “Farewell,” co-commissioned by 92nd Street Y.

    Ms. Auerbach, who excels as a composer, author, poet and painter, painted the canvas above, about her work and the Tokyo String Quartet. She also provided the following commentary:

    When I was young I enjoyed writing program notes for my music—I felt it was a way for me to protect it from possible misunderstanding—one last service that a composer could do for his child before it’s fully on its own. I no longer like writing about my music. What I realize is that you can’t protect your “child” and should just let it be without any attempts to explain or defend it. Sometimes letting go is the hardest thing to do. The music is out there on its own. Whether you like it or not, it’s no longer under your control, and frankly, it never was. Revealing the umbilical chord that still ties you, as a composer, to your work only does your music disservice.

    Any work of art—a poem, a painting, a symphony, at its best—is much larger than its creator; or at least its co-creator—the one with a pen in hand; the one, who, for better or worse, claims authenticity to its title. Akhmatova wrote, “Who knows, from what dust the poem is born?” (To be more accurate, she used a stronger word—instead of “dust” she wrote, “trash,” or “waste.”) No one knows this, except the Poet. No one should know. Let shadows remain shadows; the dirty dishes should stay in the kitchen and not to spoil the feast.

    Let music connect directly to the listener regardless of the composer’s own attempts to interpret its essence. Jorge Luis Borges wrote, “A man sets himself in the task of portraying the world. Over the years he fills a given surface with images of provinces and kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fish, rooms, instruments, heavenly bodies, horses, and people. Shortly before he dies he discovers that this patient labyrinth of lines is a drawing of his own face.

    Learn more about the work and the concert.

  5. Any classical music fans in the house? We’ve got “A Conversation With The Tokyo String Quartet" on the 92Y Blog. Here’s a snippet: What in particular was Bartók’s impact on the string quartet as a musical form?

Greensmith: With this ambitious and outstanding body of six quartets, Bartók breathed new life into the art form and paved the way for future generations of composers. He massively expanded the expressive range of the string quartet with a multitude of different types of highly contrasting materials: his control of architectural form, his mastery of language and his daringly imaginative exploration of different sounds and textures.

You did not perform the Beethoven quartets in a purely chronological order, but you are with your Bartók cycle. Why?

Martin Beaver, violin: In programming the Beethoven cycle over three years, we were careful in pairing the quartets with piano sonatas and in some cases with each other. In the first year, for example, we played all six Op. 18 quartets, but in order to present balanced programs with musical continuity, we felt it was inevitable that we change the order of the quartets. In the second year, we did manage to keep the chronological order of the Op. 59 quartets over three programs, albeit with the “Harp” (Op. 74) and “Serioso” (Op. 95) included! In the third year, we were unanimous in our desire to end the cycle with Op. 131, arguably the most profound and complex of Beethoven’s late quartets.

Since there are six Bartók quartets, it seemed natural to feature one of them on each of our three-concert 92Y series over the next two seasons. It seemed equally natural to program them in chronological order to appreciate each work’s unique style and character in the order in which they were written. One can definitely hear Bartók’s increasing ease and skill in the string quartet idiom over the course of the six quartets.Read more on the 92Y Blog»

    Any classical music fans in the house? We’ve got “A Conversation With The Tokyo String Quartet" on the 92Y Blog. Here’s a snippet:

    What in particular was Bartók’s impact on the string quartet as a musical form?

    Greensmith: With this ambitious and outstanding body of six quartets, Bartók breathed new life into the art form and paved the way for future generations of composers. He massively expanded the expressive range of the string quartet with a multitude of different types of highly contrasting materials: his control of architectural form, his mastery of language and his daringly imaginative exploration of different sounds and textures.

    You did not perform the Beethoven quartets in a purely chronological order, but you are with your Bartók cycle. Why?

    Martin Beaver, violin: In programming the Beethoven cycle over three years, we were careful in pairing the quartets with piano sonatas and in some cases with each other. In the first year, for example, we played all six Op. 18 quartets, but in order to present balanced programs with musical continuity, we felt it was inevitable that we change the order of the quartets. In the second year, we did manage to keep the chronological order of the Op. 59 quartets over three programs, albeit with the “Harp” (Op. 74) and “Serioso” (Op. 95) included! In the third year, we were unanimous in our desire to end the cycle with Op. 131, arguably the most profound and complex of Beethoven’s late quartets.

    Since there are six Bartók quartets, it seemed natural to feature one of them on each of our three-concert 92Y series over the next two seasons. It seemed equally natural to program them in chronological order to appreciate each work’s unique style and character in the order in which they were written. One can definitely hear Bartók’s increasing ease and skill in the string quartet idiom over the course of the six quartets.

    Read more on the 92Y Blog»