ASQ Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary Season

June 1, 2016

The Arianna String Quartet (ASQ) celebrates its 25th anniversary season in style, with a lineup of musical masterpieces selected to thrill and inspire. Anchored by the virtuosity of the acclaimed ASQ and featuring internationally renowned guest artists, the 2016-17 Arianna series offers a combination of unforgettable world-class performances.

The renowned quartet will perform four concerts – Perfect Storm with violist Richard Young, Russian Melodiya with pianist Alla Voskoboynikova, An Evening with Brahms, and Masterworks with pianist Sofya Gulyak – in the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. Subscriptions are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale Monday, August 1.

The series opens with Perfect Storm on September 9, 2016, featuring an audience and ASQ favorite, Felix Mendelssohn’s cherished String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13.  Philip Glass’ stirring String Quartet No.3, which served as the tonal backdrop for the 1985 film Mishima, follows, capturing Glass’ iconic purity of expression and signature sound driving the compelling story of a life in turmoil.  The Arianna Quartet then welcomes world-renowned violist Richard Young for a performance of Beethoven’s sizzling String Quintet Op.29, the “Storm,” an early work that offers a fresh glimpse into the dynamic power of the great composer.   

The second concert, Russian Melodiya, opens on November 4, 2016, with Prokofiev’s revolutionary style, in his Quartet No. 2. The mid-20th century masterpiece, fueled by Russian folk music and instrumental traditions, is a gem of the quartet repertoire. Tchaikovsky’s sublime Quartet No. 2 follows, capturing the splendor of the Russian romantic sound.  The ASQ is then joined by their esteemed colleague, celebrated pianist Alla Voskoboynikova, for a performance of the seldom heard Piano Quintet of Nikolai Medtner, giving audiences an opportunity to know one of Russia’s most revered composers, and a work that is sure to inspire and delight. 

For performers and audiences alike, the works of Johannes Brahms stand as some of the most cherished music of all time.  In an evening that can only be described as a one-of-a-kind concert experience (and a St. Louis first), the Arianna String Quartet offers all three of Brahms’ celebrated string quartets, back to back. On March 3, 2017, the ASQ performs An Evening with Brahms: The Complete Quartets, featuring Quartet in C minor, Op. 51 No. 1, Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2, and Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 67. It is an opportunity to hear three of the most riveting and monumental works in classical music history, all together, all in one night.

The season finale, Masterworks, features a gathering of masterpieces by three of the faints of the chamber music repertoire. On May 5, 2017, the evening begins with Franz Joseph Haydn, the father of the string quartet, in his groundbreaking Quartet in A Major, Op. 20, No. 6. a work in which style and idea combine with clarity of expression to create one of the cornerstone works of string quartet writing.   The ASQ follows with Bela Bartok’s scintillating Quartet No.4, a work inspired by Hungarian folk music and propelled by Bartok’s profound genius, and one of the true marvels in compositional and expressive achievement of the 20th century.  In their finale to the season, the Arianna Quartet welcomes acclaimed Russian pianist Sofya Gulyak for a performance of Antonin Dvorak’s ever-popular Piano Quintet, Op.81, a work of expansive beauty and poetic lyricism; the perfect way to close out another memorable season of concerts with the ASQ at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The quartet is comprised of violinists John McGrosso and Julia Sakharova, violist Joanna Mendoza and cellist Kurt Baldwin. Highlights for 2016-17 include return trips to Brazil for the FEMUSC Festival in Jaragua do Sul, a concert tour to Berlin, Germany, appearances at the St. Barts Music Festival, live performances on Chicago’s WFMT radio, a return to the Madeline Island Music Camp (WI), the completion of their recordings of the complete quartets of Beethoven for Centaur Records, and concerts throughout the United States.  The ASQ also looks forward to the continuation of the Arianna Chamber Music Festival, in St. Louis, where they have been full-time faculty at the University of Missouri-St. Louis since 2000.  The Arianna Quartet is Ensemble-in-Residence at the Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis.

The four-concert ASQ subscription package is $84. Subscriptions are on sale now and are available at the Touhill Performing Arts Center Ticket Office; online via this LINK; or by phone at 314-516-4949. Single tickets will go on sale Monday, August 1.