Ying Quartet Debuts in Concerts, Residency at Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival

Ying Quartet, l-r: Janet Ying (violin), Phillip Ying (viola) new first violinist Robin Scott, and David Ying (cello), in Wolk Atrium outside Hatch Hall at Eastman Theatre, Eastman School of Music March 23, 2015 // photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Celebrity chamber music ensemble Ying Quartet stays in residency on Cape Cod in August, making its debut appearance during Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival’s (CCCMF) 38th season with three diverse concert programs.  The final two performances feature the Festival’s two artistic directors as instrumental guests.  The Ying Quartet performs on Monday, August 21 at 7:30 pm at the Church of the Holy Spirit, 204 Monument Road, Orleans.  The Art of Song is held on Wednesday, August 23, 7:30 pm is held at Chatham Congregational Church, 650 Main Street.  The season comes to a brilliant close with The Brahms Quintets on Friday, August 25, 7:30 pm at Wellfleet Congregational Church, 200 Main Street.

On Monday, The renowned Ying Quartet makes its CCCMF debut in the first of its three residency concerts.   Beethoven’s monumental C Major String Quartet caps off a stunning evening of both subtlety and fireworks.  In Wednesday’s performance, an evening of enchanting lyricism awaits as Jon Manasse and Jon Nakamatsu join soprano Ilana Davidson and members of the Ying Quartet to explore the genius and melodic invention of Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn.  The season culminates in a breathtaking finale on Friday with two of chamber music’s most celebrated masterworks: The Clarinet Quintet and the Piano Quintet of Johannes Brahms. Together with the Ying Quartet, Artistic Directors Jon Manasse and Jon Nakamatsu.

The Ying Quartet occupies a position of unique prominence in the classical music world, combining brilliantly communicative performances with a fearlessly imaginative view of chamber music in today’s world. Now in its second decade, the Quartet has established itself as an ensemble of the highest musical qualifications in its tours across the United States and abroad. Their performances regularly take place in many of the world’s most important concert halls, from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House. At the same time, the Quartet’s belief that concert music can also be a meaningful part of everyday life has also drawn the foursome to perform in settings as diverse as the workplace, schools, juvenile prisons, and the White House. In fact, the Ying Quartet’s constant quest to explore the creative possibilities of the string quartet has led it to an unusually diverse array of musical projects and interests.

The Ying Quartet’s recordings reflect many of the group’s wide-ranging musical interests and have generated consistent, enthusiastic acclaim. Their 2007 Telarc release of the three Tchaikovsky Quartets and the Souvenir de Florence (with James Dunham and Paul Katz) was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Chamber Music Performance category. In addition, their much-heralded collaboration with the Turtle Island Quartet, “Four + 4,” explored the common ground between the classic string quartet tradition and jazz and other American vernacular styles, and won a Grammy Award in 2005. Their most recent release with the Billy Childs Chamber Jazz Ensemble, Autumn in Moving Pictures (ArtistShare) was nominated for a Grammy in 2010. In addition, the Ying Quartet’s Dim Sum (Telarc) features music by Chinese-American composers that merges the Western string quartet with the aural world of traditional Chinese music. The Quartet has also documented its noteworthy LifeMusic commissioning project in its recorded work. Released by Quartz, “The Ying Quartet play LifeMusic” was named Editor’s Choice by Gramophone magazine and is the first in a continuing series. The Ying Quartet is now pleased to be in a relationship with Sono Luminus with this release of Arensky’s Quartets and Quintet and a release last year of the third record in their LifeMusic commissions.

In addition to appearing in conventional concert situations, the Ying Quartet is also known for its diverse and unusual performance projects. For several years the Quartet presented a series called “No Boundaries” at Symphony Space in New York City that sought to re-imagine the concert experience. Collaborations with actors, dancers, electronics, a host of non-classical musicians, a magician and even a Chinese noodle chef gave new and thoughtful context to a wide variety of both traditional and contemporary string quartet music. They have also worked with composer Tod Machover and the MIT Media lab in the use of Hyperscore, an innovative musical composition software. Other musical partners range from pianists Menahem Pressler and Gilbert Kalish and cellist Paul Katz to folk musician Mike Seeger, jazz pianist Billy Childs, and the Turtle Island Quartet.

During the summers, the Ying Quartet’s activity is primarily centered at music festivals. They regularly perform and teach at the Bowdoin International Music Festival and also served as ensemble-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival. Other festival appearances have been at Tanglewood, Ravinia, Caramoor, San Miguel de Allende, Kneisel Hall, Norfolk, Skaneateles, Amelia Island, Interlochen, and many others.

As quartet-in-residence at the Eastman School of Music, the Ying Quartet maintains full time faculty positions in the String and Chamber Music Departments. One cornerstone of chamber music activity at Eastman is the noted Music for All program, in which all students have the opportunity to perform in community settings beyond the concert hall. From 2001-2008, the Ying Quartet has also been the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University. The Ying Quartet first came to professional prominence in the early 1990s during their years as resident quartet of Jesup, Iowa, a farm town of 2000 people. Playing before audiences of six to six hundred in homes, schools, churches, and banks, the Quartet had its first opportunities to enable music and creative endeavor to become an integral part of community life. The Quartet considers its time in Jesup the foundation of its present musical life and goals. The residency, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, was widely chronicled in the national media. Toward the end of the residency, the quartet and several of the townspeople were invited to Capitol Hill to testify before Congress on behalf of the NEA.

Program:  The Ying Quartet, August 21

Ying Quartet

Robin Scott, violin
Janet Ying, violin
Phillip Ying, viola
David Ying, cello

String Quartet No. 2 in D Major (1881)
Allegro moderato
Scherzo: Allegro
Notturno: Andante
Finale: Andante; Vivace

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882 – 1971)
Concertino for String Quartet (1920)

String Quartet in C Major, Opus 59 No. 3 (“Razumovsky”)
Introduzione: Andante con moto; Allegro vivace
Andante con moto quasi allegretto
Menuetto: Grazioso; Trio
Allegro molto

The Art of Song, August 23

Ying Quartet
Robin Scott, violin
Janet Ying, violin
Phillip Ying, viola
David Ying, cello

Ilana Davidson, soprano
Jon Manasse, clarinet
Jon Nakamatsu, piano

Trio in E-flat Major for Piano, Clarinet and Viola, K. 498 (“Kegelstatt”)
Menuetto; Trio
Rondeaux: Allegretto

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828)
Four songs for voice and piano
An die Musik, D. 547
Die junge Nonne, D. 828
Auf dem Wasser zu singen, D. 774
Du bist die Ruh’, D. 776

Der Hirt auf dem Felsen for Piano, Soprano and Clarinet, D. 965

Trio No. 2 in C Minor for Piano, Violin and Cello, Opus 66
Allegro energico e con fuoco
Andante espressivo
Scherzo: Molto allegro quasi presto; Trio
Finale: Allegro appassionato

The Brahms Quintets, Friday, August 25

Ying Quartet
Robin Scott, violin
Janet Ying, violin
Phillip Ying, viola
David Ying, cello

Jon Manasse, clarinet
Jon Nakamatsu, piano

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833 – 1897)
Quintet in B Minor for Clarinet and Strings, Opus 115
Andantino; Presto non assai, ma con sentimento
Con moto

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833 – 1897)
Quintet in F Minor for Piano and Strings, Opus 34
Allegro non troppo
Andante, un poco adagio
Scherzo:  Allegro; Trio
Finale:  Poco sostenuto; Allegro non troppo; Presto non troppo

CCCMF’s 38th summer season features 12 compelling concerts from August 1 through 25 at 7:30 pm in locations throughout the region.

Tickets ordered on or after July 1: $38 general admission; $15 for college students (with ID); admission is free for attendees 18 and under. General admission to three or more concerts: $36 per ticket. Emerson String Quartet concert: $55 (whether individually purchased or as part of the three-concert package)

Special first-time ticket buyer’s price and a discounted ticket for the August 1 concert, if you are between the ages of 19 and 40, are available by calling Festival office.

Festival seating is limited to venue capacity, advance purchase is recommended.  Tickets ordered online are available at will call at the performances.  Tickets may also be purchased by calling or visiting the box office at 508-247-9400 or at 3 Main Street Unit 6, North Eastham.  Box office hours are 10 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday.  Phone orders are available until 12 noon on the day of each concert.

For more information about Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival’s 2017 season, performers, mission and venues, visit capecodchambermusic.org, or follow Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival

Hailed by The New York Times as “A Triumph of Quality,” the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (CCCMF) has been a year-round presenter of chamber music and a major contributor to the cultural life of Cape Cod since its inception in 1979. Founded as the Cape & Islands Chamber Music Festival by the late collaborative pianist Samuel Sanders, the Festival continues his legacy. Now entering its 38th season, CCCMF presents four weeks of intensive chamber music programming in a variety of Cape locations in July and August. Throughout the rest of the year, CCCMF presents autumn and spring concerts, a community outreach program, and benefit concerts in New York and on Cape Cod. Hoping to ignite the interest of a younger audience, CCCMF welcomes all youth up to age 18 to attend any regular concert free of charge. The Festival is also host to a Composer-in-Residence program, and features composers with Cape Cod connections. CCCMF is a private, non-profit organization supported by a volunteer Board of Directors with financial support from individuals, corporations, and foundations both local and nationwide. For more information about CCCMF’s programs, schedule or tickets, visit capecodchambermusic.org, call 508-247-9400 or follow Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival on Facebook and Twitter.