Sunday, April 2, 2017
Moravian College, Foy Concert Hall
- Bartók String Quartet No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 7
- Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor, D. 810
The Euclid Quartet is named for Cleveland’s famed Euclid Avenue, not for the 4th-century BCE Greek mathematician, although the translation of the Greek name—“renowned, glorious”—certainly applies. Founded in 1998 by four graduate students at Kent State University in Ohio and in residence at Indiana University South Bend since 2007, the ensemble has regularly garnered critical accolades, won international competitions, and earned “American Masterpieces” grant support from the National Endowment for the Arts for educational work with young audiences.
Reviewers tend to use terms like “fierce,” “ferocity,” “fearless,” and “fervent” to describe the group’s playing, but they also notice a lovely, “feathery” quality (Washington Post) and a “romantic élan” (Palm Beach Daily News). Despite its solid home base in America’s heartland, the quartet’s current membership hails from four corners of the world: violinists Cooper and Murphy, founding members of the Euclid, from the United Kingdom and Unites States, respectively; violist Vargas from Venezuela; and cellist Li from China. Local audience members familiar with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra’s “El Sistema Lehigh Valley” program for underserved and special needs youth will be interested to know that Vargas is a proud product of the original “El Sistema” in Venezuela. He joined the Euclid Quartet in 2001, and Li came aboard in 2009.
The four musicians have become exquisitely attuned to each other during their years performing and recording together. Bartók’s complete cycle of six string quartets has been recorded by the group, as have four of Hugo Kauder’s nineteen string quartets, lesser known than the Bartók but as enthusiastically received by listeners of the Euclid’s recordings. The Bethlehem audience will be treated to a live performance by the ensemble of Bartók’s first.