Chamber Music

Pacifica Quartet Announces First Personnel Change in 17 Years

Reposted from The Violin Channel. The Pacifica Quartet has announced 2nd violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson and violist Masumi Per Rostad are set to leave the ensemble. The Indiana-based Pacifica String Quartet has today announced that 2nd violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson and violist Masumi Per Rostad are set to leave the ensemble at the end of the current season—the group’s first member change in seventeen years. Sibbi, who joined the quartet in 2000, is set to take up a teaching position on faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory School of Music. Masumi, who joined the ensemble in 2001, was last month appointed to the teaching faculty of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. “Over the past 17 years, the Pacifica Quartet has played nearly 1500 concerts all over the world  … [...]

The Rep…More than Quartet — by Thomas Rosenberg

More or Less...String Trios, Quintets and Beyond  It is generally agreed that the string quartet is the ultimate chamber music idiom. While there are surely those that differ with that assessment, I confess that I agree from my perspectives as both a listener and a performing artist. Many of the greatest composers from Haydn to the present day have tried their hand at quartet writing. Many have succeeded in giving us their best creations, some of which are regarded to be some of the greatest creative work of human kind. When asked about repertoire for other combinations of strings, most musicians can come up with a relatively small list of trios, quintets, sextets and more. However, in reality, there is a lot of music for string ensembles that are not quartets. Although the most well known [...]

Great Chamber Music Reading and Watching — by Thomas Rosenberg

Besides enormously enhancing listening skills, chamber music study also develops a players’ ability to sight-read, note read and watch. These are skills that are vital in orchestral situations as well. However, this is not about that kind of reading and watching! This is about books, movies and videos that will also greatly enhance the skills of anyone playing chamber music. READING: There are some great books out there about chamber music. None of these are long (300 pages or less) and are relatively quick and easy reading. I hope this will spur the interest of those reading this article to check some of them out. Con Brio: Four Russians Called The Budapest String Quartet by Nat Brandt The Budapest Quartet was perhaps the greatest quartet ever…or certainly one of the most important. They existed for nearly [...]

A Chamber Music Concert is Worth a Thousand Words — by Thomas Rosenberg

One of the goals of good teaching is assisting students to develop into interesting, compelling and communicative artists. Of course, there are many influences that create artistic musicians and many of them can be discussed and demonstrated in lessons. However, one of the factors that I believe is extremely important is also one that cannot actually happen in a lesson. For it to get done, you must often rely on the parents of your students or, for collegiate students, the student themselves. That factor is getting students to attend concerts to hear and watch professional and artistic musicians performing “live." Imagine the difference it would make to students who love sports if they could not see great athletes performing. It is relatively easy to see a basketball game, baseball game, tennis match, football game, gymnastic or swim meet, [...]

What?….I have to listen too?? — by Thomas Rosenberg

  For seven long minutes he stood. Then he stirred And he said to the bear, “do you know what I heard? Do you see that far mountain…? It’s ninety miles off. There’s a fly on that mountain. I just heard him cough! Now the cough of a fly, sir, is quite hard to hear When he’s ninety miles off. But I heard it quite clear.”  -Dr. Suess   In Dr. Suess’s story, “The Big Brag”, the rabbit goes on and on about how well he can hear. Of course, that is not the point of the story, which is about how dumb it is to brag about how great you are. (That is a possible topic for another article…not that musicians ever do that!). But it does have an important message that [...]

The Viola and 2nd Violin (The Unsung Heroes of Chamber Music Groups!) – by Tom Rosenberg

  When violinists are asked what part they prefer to play in chamber music, there are often just two answers. I wish more often that there were three common answers, but more on that later. Some like to feel like they are the star, and so they want to play 1st violin. Others are either unwilling or unable to take on the 1st violin part which often features the most virtuosic part writing in the strings and so they choose 2nd violin. The irony in that decision is that playing 2nd violin well in a chamber ensemble requires a skill set that is in many ways more difficult than what the 1st violin is required to do. And, it is very different than in orchestra, where the individual player can and often should blend into the section. [...]

Developing Musicianship Through Chamber Music — by Thomas Rosenberg

In a typical private instrumental lesson, until a student has reached a fairly high technical level, much of the time in a lesson is spent on issues such as good hand positions, intonation, tone production, fingerings and bowings, and the development of technique in both hands through scales, etudes, etc. The choice of a solo piece or pieces is usually connected to these same issues. Musicianship is hopefully discussed, and hopefully in some detail. But, the fact remains that it is unlikely issues of musicianship will dominate the lesson time. One of the great benefits of having students play chamber music is that it helps them become better musicians faster. A good, well matched chamber music group with a good coach will push forward the abilities a student has already developed and enable them to be able [...]

Being the Music — by Thomas Rosenberg

What is it that makes one performance more compelling to an audience than another? Of course, there are many things that come into play, not the least of which is the aesthetic taste of individual audience members. However, at most concerts the audience consensus is clear. When it seems dull or not played at a high technical level, they are polite; when it seems good, they are appreciative; and when it seems great, they are compelled to give energy back to the performers by clapping energetically and often standing and cheering. I believe there are usually two primary factors that create those compelling performances that audiences and performers enjoy so much. Both involve artistry, but different kinds. And, in the setting of a chamber music concert, the chances of NOT succeeding are greater than in a solo performance. [...]

CelloStream Artist Master Classes – Fall 2015

Streamed live from Pierce Hall at New England Conservatory in Boston COMING THIS FALL 2015 MARCY ROSEN Tuesday, September 22nd 2015 10 am EDT LLUÍS CLARET Sunday, October 11th 2015 1 pm EDT GARY HOFFMAN Sunday, October 18th 2015 1 pm EDT PETER STUMPF Tuesday, October 27th 2015 7 pm EDT To tune in for a live-viewing of a CelloStream Artist Master Class, please navigate to the CelloStream page at the appropriate time. To read bios of previous CelloStream master class artists, please see below. […]

Viva, Joel Krosnick! Viva, Astrid Schween!

A true cello icon from my generation of string quartets is stepping down—after a remarkable 42 seasons in the Juilliard Quartet,  Joel Krosnick leaves at the end of next year (and continues as Chair of Juilliard’s Cello Dept.) Mega-Congratulations Joel, and welcome to a wonderful cello colleague and friend of mine, Astrid Schween, who will join the Juilliard Quartet in September of 2016! —Paul Katz   CELLIST JOEL KROSNICK TO CELEBRATE HIS 42nd AND FINAL SEASONWITH THE JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET.  Krosnick Will Continue to Teach and Remain Chair of Juilliard’s Cello Department. Cellist Astrid Schween to Join the JSQ September 2016 NEW YORK—Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi announced today that the 2015-16 season will mark cellist Joel Krosnick’s final season with the Juilliard String Quartet, the quartet’s 70th season. Mr. Krosnick has been [...]