Few would have predicted that when Blanco Performing Arts in the small Hill Country town of Blanco, Texas began nine years ago that such world-class artists as The American String Quartet would be gracing the stage. Formed when its original members were students at The Juilliard School, the award winning quartet has performed worldwide to critical acclaim for more than forty years. The Blanco audience will experience this truly outstanding concert in the intimate setting of the historic Uptown Blanco Ballroom. The concert will include music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Shostakovich.
Under management of MKI Artists. Photos by Peter Schaaf.
Internationally recognized as one of the world's finest quartets, the American String Quartet has spent decades honing the luxurious sound for which it is famous. The Quartet will celebrate its 45th anniversary in 2019, and, in its years of touring, has performed in all fifty states and has appeared in the most important concert halls worldwide. The group's presentations of the complete quartets of Beethoven, Schubert, Schoenberg, Bartk, and Mozart have won widespread critical acclaim, and their MusicMasters Complete Mozart String Quartets, performed on a matched quartet set of instruments by Stradivarius, are widely considered to have set the standard for this repertoire.
The Quartet's 2017-18 season features a major project together with the National Book Award-winning author Phil Klay and the poet Tom Sleigh in a groundbreaking program combining music and readings that examines the effects of war on people, their hearts, and their minds. In 2016-17, the Quartet collaborated with the renowned author Salman Rushdie to premiere a new work for narrator and quartet by the film composer Paul Cantelon built around Rushdie's novel The Enchantress of Florence. These wildly imaginative projects cement the American String Quartet's reputation as one of the most adventurous and fearless string quartets performing today.
The Quartet's diverse activities have also included numerous international radio and television broadcasts, including a recent recording for the BBC; tours of Asia; and performances with the New York City Ballet, the Montreal Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Recent highlights include performances of an all-sextet program with Roberto and Andrs Daz, many tours of South America, and performances of the complete Beethoven cycle of string quartets at the Cervantes Festival in Mexico and the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel.
The American's additional extensive discography can be heard on the Albany, CRI, MusicMasters, Musical Heritage Society, Nonesuch, and RCA labels. Most recently the group released "Schubert's Echo," which pairs Schubert's monumental last quartet with works bearing its influence by Second Viennese masters Alban Berg and Anton Webern. This repertoire posits that the creative line from the First to the Second Viennese Schools is continuous –and evident when these works are heard in the context of each other.
As champions of new music, the American has given numerous premieres, including George Tsontakis's 2015 Quartet No. 7.5, "Maverick," Richard Danielpour's Quartet No. 4, and Curt Cacioppo's a distant voice calling. The premiere of Robert Sirota's American Pilgrimage took place in September 2016, and will be performed around the U.S. in the cities the work celebrates. In January 2009 the Quartet premired Tobias Picker's String Quartet No. 2 in New York City in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Manhattan School of Music.
Formed when its original members were students at The Juilliard School, the American String Quartet's career began with the group winning both the Coleman Competition and the Naumburg Award in the same year. Resident quartet at the Aspen Music Festival since 1974 and at the Manhattan School of Music in New York since 1984, the American has also served as resident quartet at the Taos School of Music, the Peabody Conservatory, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
Peter Winograd (violin) joined the American String Quartet in 1990. He gave his first solo public performance at the age of 11, and at age 17 he was accepted as a scholarship student of Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School. Recognized early as an exceptionally promising young artist, Winograd was a top prize winner in the 1988 Naumburg International Violin Competition. He then made his New York debut to critical acclaim and has since appeared as a guest soloist with numerous orchestras and in recital across the country and abroad, including annual collaborative performances with cellist Andrés Díaz at the Florida Arts Chamber Music Festival. In 2002 Winograd performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Hartford Symphony; his father, Arthur Winograd, was the featured guest conductor. Winograd has been a member of the violin and chamber music faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and the Aspen Music School (where the American is Quartet-in-Residence) since 1990. Born into a gifted musical family, Winograd began his studies with his parents. His mother was a professional pianist, and his father was the founding cellist of the Juilliard Quartet and a conductor of the Hartford Symphony in Hartford, Connecticut, where Winograd grew up. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Juilliard. His wife, violinist Caterina Szepes, is a regular participant in the Marlboro Festival and a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. His violin is by Giovanni Maria del Bussetto (Cremona, 1675).
A founding member of the American String Quartet, Laurie Carney (violin) holds the distinction of performing quartets longer than any other woman in this elite field. The American String Quartet began concertizing while she was still an undergraduate at Juilliard. Apart from the Quartet, she has performed trios with her husband, cellist William Grubb, and pianist Anton Nel; duos with violist Michael Tree; and as an ensemble partner to such artists as Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Salvatore Accardo, Cho-Liang Lin, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, Misha Dichter, Ralph Kirshbaum, Alain Meunier, and Frederica von Stade. Carney's concerto appearances include performing Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with the Bournemouth Symphony, Basque National Orchestra, and the Welsh National Orchestra. She gave the premiere of Gianpaolo Bracali's Fantasia for violin and piano. Most recently, Robert Sirota composed his Violin Sonata No. 2 for her, and in addition to performing the premiere last spring, she will record the work later this season. A faculty artist at the Aspen Music Festival and School since 1974 and the Manhattan School of Music since 1984, Carney has held teaching positions at the Mannes College of Music, Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, University of Nebraska, University of Michigan, Shepherd School at Rice University, and the Taos School of Music. Her dedication to the development of young players brings frequent invitations to offer master classes, most recently in California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and New Mexico. Carney is a member of a prodigious musical family: her father was a trumpeter and educator, her mother a concert pianist, and all three siblings are professional violinists. Her violin is by Carlo Tononi (Venice, 1720).
The Strad Magazine hailed Daniel Avshalomov (viola) as "one of the finest occupants of that chair, both instrumentally and musically, of any quartet now active." Avshalomov appears in recital and as a featured performer and concerto soloist at festivals across the country. Before joining the Quartet, Avshalomov served as principal violist for the Aspen, Tanglewood, and Spoleto festival orchestras, as well as for the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Opera Orchestra of New York, and American Composers Orchestra. He also was a founding member of the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble. A frequent guest artist with the Guarneri Quartet, he has performed with such groups as the Da Camera Society, Marin Music Fest, and La Musica di Asolo. He has shared the stage with Norbert Brainin (first violinist of the Amadeus Quartet), Misha Dichter, Bruno Giuranna (a founding member of I Musici), Maureen Forrester, the Juilliard and Tokyo Quartets, and the Bolshoi Ballet (as solo violist). Avshalomov's articles appear in Notes and Strings; he has edited several viola works for publication and contributed to ASTA's Playing and Teaching the Viola. He has been the subject of two articles in The Stradmagazine and one in Classical Pulse. Avshalomov developed a lecture-demonstration, "Inside Passages," first presented to the New York Viola Society in 2000. He performed the world premiere of Giampaolo Bracali's Concerto per Viola, which RAI has broadcast in Europe, and the American premiere of Alessandro Rolla's Esercizio 3. On his CD, Three Generations Avshalomov, with pianists Robert McDonald and Pamela Pyle, Avshalomov performs works for viola and piano composed by his grandfather, father and brother. The CD was featured on NPR's All Things Considered. Avshalomov has been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music since 1984 and at the Aspen School since 1976. His viola is by Andrea Amati (Cremona, 1568).
Since his Carnegie Hall debut in 1994, Wolfram Koessel (cello) has performed as a chamber musician, recitalist and soloist throughout the world. The Strad praised his "exceptionally attractive cello playing." As a soloist he has performed concertos throughout the United States as well as with Japan's Osaka Symphony Orchestra and orchestras in Germany and South America. He also has appeared often with the New York Metamorphoses Orchestra, which he cofounded in 1994. His collaborations include performances with legendary tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, distinguished dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, and cellist Yo Yo Ma, among many others. Koessel also appears with a wide range of ensembles, including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Trio+ (a group he formed with violinist Yosuke Kawasaki and pianist Vadim Serebryani), which performs creative and collaborative concerts throughout Japan, the United States, and Canada. Koessel served as music director of the Mark Morris Dance Group from 2004 to 2008 and has toured extensively with the company both nationally and internationally, performing in several world premieres. In the fall of 2009, he was the featured performer in a new dance work, performing Beethoven's Cello Sonata in C. He resides with his wife, pianist and writer J. Mae Barizo, and his daughter in Manhattan. His cello is by Giovanni Cavani (Modena, 1917).
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The Uptown Blanco Ballroom is home to the Blanco Performing Arts concert series, located on the west side of the courthouse square in Blanco, Texas. Find directions and parking...
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Blanco Performing Arts is incorporated as a non-profit entity, and is recognized as such under Section 501(3)(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.