On Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 8pm the Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; and Gregory Beaver, cello) will perform at Trinity Wall Street Church (Broadway at Wall Street, NYC). The program includes Robert Sirota's Triptych, a piece commemorating the victims of the World Trade Center tragedy. The Quartet held an emotional first performance of Triptych a year after the attacks at Trinity on September 26, 2002. Trinity, a church on the periphery of Ground Zero, will host this second reflection for the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001. Richard Danielpour's String Quartet No. 6, Addio will also be included on the program.
The Chiara Quartet's 2004 recording of Triptych received high critical acclaim. Fanfare wrote: "Sirota has avoided gimmickry and sensationalism, however, and there's a sincerity to this string quartet that will give it...staying power. The music is heartfelt and honest...I hear nothing to suggest that this performance is anything less than definitive." Triptych, a Greek word meaning "a painting or carving on three panels," consists of three movements: I. Desecration, II. Lamentation, and III. Prayer. Review copies available upon request.
The musical composition was created in tandem with a painting of the same name by Deborah Patterson; the three panels of the painting bear the same subtitles. "These images are analogous to my music, which is also a mixture of the "abstract' and "real," a blend of atonality and tonality," Sirota said. The first panel shows the smoke and dust of the towers collapsing. The middle section depicts the body of Father Mychal Judge, an FDNY chaplain and one of the first victims of the tragedy, being carried by a group of firefighters. The last panel shows light ascending to heaven. Sirota's musical realization of these images has been described as "hauntingly emotional," "breathtaking," and "beautiful and intense."
About the Chiara String Quartet: Renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire as well as for creating thoroughly insightful interpretations of new music, the Chiara String Quartet captivates and enthralls its audiences throughout the country. Over its first decade, the Chiara has established itself as among America's most respected ensembles, lauded for its "highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing" (The Boston Globe).
The Chiara String Quartet serves as Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University. Other honors include a top prize at the Paolo Borciani International Competition, winning the Astral Artistic Services National Audition, and winning First Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Awarded the Guarneri Quartet Residency Award for artistic excellence by Chamber Music America, the Chiara Quartet has also been the recipient of grants from Meet The Composer and the Amphion Foundation.
Described by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as "vastly talented, vastly resourceful, and vastly committed to the music of their time," the Chiara has commissioned and premiered new works since its inception. The Chiara has commissioned works from Jefferson Friedman, Gabriela Lena Frank, Robert Sirota, Michael Wittgraf, Carl Voss, Nico Muhly, Huang Ruo, Daniel Ott, and Gabriela Lena Frank. Each composer will curate the concert on which their piece is premiered, choosing music that complements and gives context. Creator/Curator concerts will take place in four cities during the 2011-2012 concert season.
In April 2011, New Amsterdam Records released the Chiara's recording of composer Jefferson Friedman's String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3. Both celebrated pieces, which "already deserve to be heard as classics of this decade" (The New York Times) were commissioned by the Chiara, and are the result of a more than ten-year friendship with the composer.
The Chiara Quartet has been artists-in-residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since 2005. In the summer, they are in residence at Greenwood Music Camp as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Chamber Music Institute. The Chiara trained and taught at The Juilliard School, mentoring for two years with the Juilliard Quartet, as recipients of the Lisa Arnhold Quartet Residency from 2003-2005. Chiara (key-ARE-uh) is an Italian word, meaning "clear, pure, or light."
For more information visit www.chiaraquartet.net.
About Robert Sirota: Robert Sirota's work has been performed throughout the United States and Europe, at venues including Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall in New York, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Tanglewood Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and at The Juilliard School, the Shepherd School of Music, Peabody, Oberlin Conservatory, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore, Royal Conservatory in Toronto, and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. His commissions include works for the Empire Brass, American Guild of Organists, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, the Fischer Duo, the Peabody Trio, the Webster Trio, the Chiara String Quartet, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Sirota's latest two orchestral works, A Rush of Wings (2008) and 212: Symphony No. 1 (2007), were both praised in The New York Times. Of A Rush of Wings, Steve Smith wrote that the piece is, "fashioned with the clean, angular melodies, tart harmonies, lively syncopations and punchy accents of American Neo-Classicism." Of 212: Symphony No. 1, Anthony Tommasini wrote, "If directness can be considered a New York character trait, that quality comes through in Sirota's symphony. Complexity for its own sake and expressive obfuscation are not for this energetic and highly professional composer. Although the overall musical language of this score recalls the American Neo-Classicists, Sirota's compositional voice has a distinctive tartness and rhythmic bite. Thick, astringent chromatic harmonies come in tightly bound chords to create nervous sonorities. Yet the textures are always lucid; details come through."