Cypress String Quartet 11th Annual Call & Response Concert

Featuring the world premiere of a new string quartet based on Ann Patchett’s novel Bel Canto by composer Elena Ruehr

San Francisco, CA – The Cypress String Quartet (Cecily Ward, violin; Tom Stone, violin; Ethan Filner, viola; and Jennifer Kloetzel, cello) presents its 11th Annual Call & Response concert on Friday, February 26 at Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco). The concert includes the world premiere of a string quartet based on Ann Patchett’s novel Bel Canto, commissioned by the Cypress Quartet from Boston-based composer Elena Ruehr, as well as Mozart’s String Quartet in D Major, K.575 and Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, “Death and the Maiden.” A pre-concert talk with Ms. Ruehr will begin at 7:15pm. Additional performances and discussions with the Cypress and Ms. Ruehr, free and open to the public, take place beginning on January 26.

The Call & Response program was born out of the Cypress’s commitment to present music as a dynamic and ongoing process of inspiration. Each year, the ensemble selects two works from the standard string quartet repertoire (the call) and commissions a third work (the response) based on inspiration derived from the two older works, exploring how contemporary music is a natural evolution of older works. For Call & Response 2010, instead of drawing inspiration solely from music, the Cypress examines how literature has influenced and inspired music through Elena Ruehr’s new work based on the novel Bel Canto.

“When the Cypress asked me to write a new quartet for them, they told me they were programming it with Schubert's ‘Death and the Maiden’ and wanted me to write a quartet that, like Schubert's, was based on a song, poem or piece of literature. I had read Bel Canto by Ann Patchett when it was published about 10 years ago and was immediately drawn in. Since it depicts the drama of opera – the main character is an opera singer and the plot involves a copious amount of music and music-making – I had it in mind ever since as a possible inspirational source. The Cypress knows that I always travel with a big novel, and in fact, I read for at least an hour every day – it's one of my great pleasures. This string quartet, the Bel Canto, combines my greatest loves: the modern novel, gorgeous songs from the 19th and 20th centuries, and my favorite string quartet, the Cypress.” - Elena Ruehr

For the 2010 Call & Response concert, Ms. Ruehr’s Bel Canto will be paired with older masterpieces also inspired by literature: Mozart's String Quartet in D Major K. 575 which drew inspiration from Goethe's poem “The Violet,” and Schubert's “Death and the Maiden” string quartet, which was inspired by a poem by German poet, Matthias Claudius.

Over just a decade, the Cypress String Quartet has commissioned and premiered more than 30 new works, four of which are now included on Chamber Music America’s list of 101 Great American Ensemble Works.

Known for their elegant performances, the Cypress’s sound has been called “beautifully proportioned and powerful” by The Washington Post, and the ensemble has been singled out by Chamber Music Magazine as “a Generation X ensemble to watch.”

Concert Details:
Friday, February 26, 2010 at 8pm
San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Tickets: $20-$40 Adults / $10-$20 Students & Seniors at or 415.392.4400


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