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The Afiara String Quartet Performs Quartets by Haydn, Beethoven, and Brett Abigana on Juilliard's Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital on Tuesday, May 3 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall

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The Afiara String Quartet
The Afiara String Quartet

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The Afiara String Quartet, concluding their final season as Juilliard’s graduate resident quartet, performs Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, Op. 20, No. 2; the U.S. premiere of American composer and Juilliard alumnus Brett Abigaña’s String Quartet No. 2 (2010, composed for the Afiara); and Beethoven’s String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131 on Juilliard’s annual Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital on Tuesday, May 3 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall.  The Afiara String Quartet won second prize at the 2010 Banff International String Quartet Competition, where they also received the Szekely Prize for best Beethoven performance.

FREE tickets will be available beginning April 19 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu.

Brett Abigaña’s String Quartet No. 2 was written in 2010 for the Afiara String Quartet and is dedicated to the memory Betty Samuel (Quartet member, violist David Samuel’s mother, who passed away in 2006). The Quartet is in four movements, each trying to capture a facet of Ms. Samuel’s personality. The movement markings are Psalm, Berceuse, Vocalise, and March. Mr. Abigaña is on the faculty at Boston University and Boston University Academy and is an affiliated artist at MIT. His music has been performed throughout the United States and Europe and has been commissioned and performed by numerous performers, including Mr. Samuel and the Afiara String Quartet, violinist Carla Leurs, flutist Hilary Abigaña, the Destino Winds, ALEA III, the Webster Trio, the U.S. Naval Academy Band, and the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus. Mr. Abigaña completed his bachelor and master of music degrees at Juilliard where he studied with Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser, and received his doctorate of musical arts from Boston University, where he studied with Samuel Headrick and Richard Cornell.

The May 3 concert is the 18th annual Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital and marks the annual presentation by Juilliard of its graduate quartet-in-residence, the members of which serve as teaching assistants to the celebrated Juilliard String Quartet (resident faculty since 1945). Since their residency at Juilliard began, the Afiara String Quartet has coached with the JSQ, as well as faculty members (and former JSQ violinist) Earl Carlyss, and New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, who as first holder of the School’s William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies, participates in a wide range of teaching and performance projects at Juilliard.

The Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital at Alice Tully Hall is presented through the generosity of the Arnhold family. The members of each resident quartet, named Lisa Arnhold Fellows, receive free tuition and a stipend, as well as regular ensemble coachings with the Juilliard String Quartet; they in turn coach other Juilliard student ensembles. The annual residency may be extended through a second season. Previous graduate resident quartets have included the Avalon, Calder, Chiara, Miró, and St. Lawrence string quartets. The current graduate-resident quartet also participates in the annual Juilliard String Seminar, coming later this season on May 16-20. Assembled from around the world by audition, the quartets complete their week-long seminar with public performances by all participating quartets, this season on Friday, May 20.

About the Afiara String Quartet

The all-Canadian Afiara String Quartet offers performances of “startling intensity” with a “powerful, keen-edged collective sound” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Winner of the 2008 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, the 2010 Young Canadian Musicians Award, top prizes at the Munich ARD International Music Competition and the Banff International String Quartet Competition, where they also took the Szekely Prize for best Beethoven performance, the Afiara balances a lively interest in new works with deep insight into core classical repertoire.

Upcoming appearances for the Quartet include: Vancouver’s Music in the Morning series on April 5 – 8; Washington Performing Arts Society on April 17; and the America’s Society on April 26. This season the Quartet also gave concerts in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and South America.

Passionate advocates of new music, the Afiara String Quartet has embarked on a project with the Common Sense Composers’ Collective and Cecilia String Quartet, performing and recording eight new quartet works at The Banff Centre. In July 2010, the Afiara joined singer/songwriter Kyrie Kristmanson and composer Patrick Carrabre for the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival’s Late Night series for a world premiere, subsequently broadcast by CBC Radio. To date, the Afiara has given the world premieres of Brett Abigaña’s Une Grande Messe and Jason Bush’s Visions in San Francisco (the latter of which was written for the Afiara), and the East Coast premiere of Peteris Vasks’ String Quartet in New York. With timpanist Louis Siu, the Afiara commissioned and premiered new chamber music repertoire for string quartet and the tenor timpani. The ensemble also gave the world premiere of Huck Hodge’s String Quartet No. 2 in New York City, with the support of the American Composers Forum and the Jerome Foundation. 

The Afiara’s debut CD, on the Foghorn Classics label, features quartets by Mendelssohn and Schubert, as well as the Mendelssohn Octet with the Alexander String Quartet.

From 2007-2009, the Afiara was the Morrison Fellowship Quartet-in-Residence at San Francisco State University’s International Center for the Arts (ICA,) where the members were teaching assistants to their mentor ensemble, the Alexander String Quartet.

Deeply committed to education and connecting with diverse audiences, the Afiara has served as faculty at Chamber Music of the Rockies, Indiana University Summer String Academy, and Canada’s Southern Ontario Chamber Music Institute. One of two fellowship quartets at the 2008 Aspen Festival’s Center for Advanced Quartet Studies, and regular participants at The Banff Centre’s Fall/Winter Residencies, the Afiara players have worked with numerous musicians including the American, Cavani, Emerson, Kronos, St. Lawrence, Takacs and Ying Quartets, Earl Carlyss, James Dunham, Henk Guittart, Bonnie Hampton, and at the San Francisco Conservatory, where they were formed, with Paul Hersh, Mark Sokol and Ian Swensen.

Formed in 2006, the Afiara String Quartet takes its name from the Spanish fiar, meaning “to trust”, a basic element vital to the depth and joy of its music-making.

FOR LISTINGS:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 8 PM, Alice Tully Hall, Lisa Arnhold Memorial Recital

Afiara String Quartet (Valerie Li and Yuri Cho, violins; David Samuel, viola; Adrian Fung, cello)

Haydn: String Quartet in C Major, Op. 20, No. 2

Brett Abigaña: String Quartet No. 2 (2010, U.S. premiere, composed for the Afiara)

Beethoven: String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131

FREE tickets will be available beginning April 19 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM. Fur further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu.