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"Each of the four has a notably beautiful tone, a sound that sings out but also blends. They show a shared understanding of the music they play; every bow stroke adds to its meaning and its integrity."
~ Chicago Tribune
"Whether playing Beethoven, Schubert, Bartok or Carter, the Juilliard Quartet remains unsurpassed in bringing attention to details and expressive devices."
~ Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The Juilliard String Quartet, in its more than 50 years, has made it a point of honor to approach contemporary pieces with the same care and respect as it would established classics, and to approach antique masterworks with the sense of excitement and adventure it would the newly minted."
~ New York Times
Thanking SAMUEL RHODES
On July 10, 2013 in the Martin Theater at Ravinia Samuel Rhodes plays for the last time as Violist of the JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET. The program begins with the great and final Quartet Opus 135 of Beethoven followed by Sam's own Viola Quintet composed while a composition student at Princeton in 1968 and enthusiastically received this season by audience and press at their February Tully Hall concert in New York and at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater in Philadelphia. The guest violist in the Quintet, as well as in the Mozart D Major Viola Quintet which closes the program, is Roger Tapping who begins with the Juilliard Quartet as Violist in September 2013.
Sam credits his first teacher, Sidney Beck, with instilling in him a love of chamber music. "I read scores with him and learned to transpose," he recalls. "Then I realized I was the only one in my group who could read alto clef, and that gave me a sense of importance. I love the sound of the viola and its place in ensembles." For 44 years, Sam Rhodes has occupied the viola chair of the Juilliard String Quartet, and for 44 years has been the very thoughtful and brilliant performer, caretaker, teacher, composer, creator, historian, mentor, pioneer and standard bearer of all that is best in the chamber music tradition; contributing to much of what has been accomplished and sustained in the field and, too, very much towards what is yet to come.
For those of us who have the privilege of knowing and working with Sam Rhodes, 44 years is not nearly enough. We will miss him in that viola chair, but look forward to sharing different musical adventures with him as he continues to teach and perform - perhaps to write and, certainly, to inspire. We would want to be with him -- anytime, anywhere.
2014/15 Programs from the Juilliard String Quartet
Webern Five Movements, Op. 5
Berg Quartet, Op. 3
Schubert Quartet in D minor, D. 810 “Death and the Maiden”
Haydn Quartet in G major, Op. 33, No. 5
Shulamit Ran Quartet No. 2 “Vistas” (1989)
Beethoven Quartet in E minor, Op. 59 No. 2 “Razumovsky”
The Quartet explains the programs:
One program includes Haydn Opus 33 No. 5 in G Major, Shulamit Ran Quartet No. 2, "Vistas," and Beethoven Opus 59 No. 2 in e minor. We always think of Haydn as "The Father of the String Quartet", and it seems from this particular pairing of Haydn and Beethoven quartets that Beethoven thought so also. The Haydn quartet (from 1781) is wonderfully obsessed with cadences throughout its first movement; so is the Beethoven (from 1806). The Haydn quartet has a Scherzo which is extremely inventive at obscuring its 3/4 time signature; so does the Beethoven. The only place, it seems, where one can find motivic and contrapuntal workings equal to that of Beethoven is in the music of his predecessor, Haydn. These two quartets make a remarkable pairing.
In between the Haydn and the Beethoven is the virtuoso string quartet (from 1989) of Shulamit Ran, an Israeli-American composer. Here, the individual voices featured in the contrapuntal quartet writing of Haydn and Beethoven join in a veritable concerto for four, filled with defiant passion and mystery. This is a program very much about the ingenious and profound conversations possible between four voices.
The other program features a short history of Vienna from two of its greatest musical eras, the early 20th and the early 19th centuries. With the jewel-like Webern Five Pieces, Opus 5 and the harmonically rich and searching Berg String Quartet, Opus 3, we share with our audience two extremely personal and creative examples of music that arose during the tumult of the early 20th century. We then turn to the monumental Schubert quartet, "Death and the Maiden," in which one hears the dramatic lyricism of a young man in the last years of his life, early in the 19th century. The passionate expressions of these three great Viennese works speak beautifully alongside each other.
Roger Tapping joins the Juilliard Quartet, Sept 2013
Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi announced yesterday that violist Roger Tapping will join the JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET beginning in September 2013. He also becomes a member of Juilliard’s viola faculty beginning with the fall 2013 semester. Mr. Tapping currently is a faculty member at New England Conservatory, and for a decade was a member of the Takács Quartet. Violist Samuel Rhodes, who has been a member of the Juilliard String Quartet since 1969, and a teacher at Juilliard, remains on the faculty at Juilliard as Chair of the Viola Department. He celebrates his 44th and farewell season with the Quartet – whose other members are violinists Joseph Lin and Ronald Copes, and cellist Joel Krosnick – performing with them throughout this season and into July, for their annual Ravinia Festival appearance.
In announcing Mr. Tapping's appointment, President Polisi stated, "It is with great enthusiasm that the Juilliard community welcomes Roger Tapping as violist of the Juilliard String Quartet and to the faculty of the School, beginning next season. The JSQ has been one of the most important ensembles before the public since its creation in 1946, and has existed as the foundation for string chamber music studies at Juilliard for decades. Roger Tapping’s appointment continues this long tradition of excellence as our distinguished colleague Sam Rhodes steps down from his position with the ensemble. I wish to express my personal gratitude to Sam for his artistry and his leadership as a member of the Quartet and the Juilliard faculty, and look forward to his continuing presence as a viola teacher and chamber music coach at the School.”
The Juilliard String Quartet was founded 66 years ago as the School's resident quartet by Juilliard President William Schuman. During that time, thirteen string players have had the honor of calling themselves members. (See the chronological roster on the right.) The Quartet's international career has encompassed performances throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and North and South America. In this, Mr. Rhodes’ final season, the Quartet performs throughout the US, and internationally tours to Taiwan, China, Japan, Switzerland and Germany, where they will play the five late quartets of Beethoven (repertoire that is a particular focus throughout the season.)
The continuing members of the Quartet expressed their enthusiasm for their new colleague by saying, "We are pleased and excited to welcome Roger Tapping to the proudly shared tradition of the Juilliard Quartet. Roger is a passionate chamber musician and an inspiring teacher. It is a privilege to join with him in rehearsing and performing the great string quartet repertoire, and we look forward to many years of musical adventures."
Born in England in 1960, Mr. Tapping moved to the U.S. in 1995 to join the Takács Quartet, known for their virtuosity and innovative programming. His decade as their violist included performances in major cities throughout the world as well as award-winning recordings. Before coming to the U.S., Mr. Tapping played in, and recorded with a number of London’s leading chamber ensembles before joining Britain’s longest established Allegri Quartet. He taught at the Royal Academy of Music in London, was principal viola of the London Mozart Players, a member of the English Chamber Orchestra, and a founding member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Mr. Tapping joined the faculty of New England Conservatory in 2005.
Mr. Tapping spoke about his new position with the Juilliard String Quartet, saying, “I can't believe how fortunate I am to have the chance to play string quartets again, and, incredibly, in this quartet with its great curiosity and soul and its rich and distinguished history. I'm still pinching myself. Sam Rhodes is the most inspiring role model in every way - a beautiful player and a great example of warmth, intelligence and humility. I wish him a wonderful farewell season, and I will always have him in mind as I look forward to many happy years ahead with my new colleagues.”
Samuel Rhodes is celebrating his 44th year as a member of both the Juilliard String Quartet and the faculty of The Juilliard School, where he is chair of the viola department. He has served on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center, and has been a participant in the Marlboro Festival since 1960. He has appeared as a guest artist with many ensembles including the Beaux Arts and Mannes trios, and Trio Cavatina; and with the Afiara, American, Arianna, Brentano, Chiara, Cleveland, Galimir, Guarneri, Mendelssohn, Pro Arte, Sequoia, and Shanghai string quartets. To commemorate his 40th year both in the Juilliard String Quartet and as a faculty member of The Juilliard School, he performed a recital featuring works composed especially for him – Babbitt’s Play It Again, Sam, Carter’s Figment IV, and Martino’s Three Sad Songs, as well as works by Stravinsky, Hindemith, and Hall Overton.
Mr. Rhodes received his instrumental training from Sydney Beck and Walter Trampler. He has a B.A. from Queens College, New York and an M.F.A. from Princeton University where he studied composition with Roger Sessions and Earl Kim. As a composer, his String Quintet has been performed by the Blair, Composer’s, Galimir, Pro Arte and Sequoia Quartets. The Pro Arte recently recorded the quintet with the composer as guest artist.
(A full biography of Mr. Rhodes can be found on the Juilliard website at: juilliard.edu/newsroom/releases.)
Reflecting on the change and the start of his farewell season with the Quartet, Sam Rhodes said, “It is with mixed feelings of great regret and joyous anticipation of the future that I enter my last season with the JSQ. I am grateful for the privilege I have had to rehearse, debate, recreate and perform the most profound, intimate and sometimes heaven-storming music. The violist who has accepted my colleagues’ invitation to join them, Roger Tapping, has the artistry, experience and expertise to take part in carrying the quartet forward with the same spirit and ideals as it has had in the past. In recognition of my farewell and Roger’s welcome, we will be performing a few special programs that include my own string quintet and one of Mozart’s.”
One of those ‘special’ performances takes place in New York at Alice Tully Hall on February 26, 2013, when the Juilliard String Quartet performs Beethoven, and Mr. Tapping joins them as guest violist for performances of Mozart’s Viola Quintet in D, K. 593 and Mr. Rhodes’s own Viola Quintet. The concert is the second of two free New York appearances that are a regular part of Juilliard’s Daniel Saidenberg Faculty Recital Series. (The first, on November 26, features two Beethoven String Quartets – Op. 131 in C-sharp minor and Op. 132 in A minor.) Further information is available at events.juilliard.edu. Other ‘quintet’ performances take place in Philadelphia, on February 24; and at Ravinia, marking Mr. Rhodes last official concert as a JSQ member on July 10.
Roger Tapping’s career with the Takács Quartet included many Beethoven and Bartók cycles in major cities throughout the world. Their recordings for Decca/London, including the complete quartets of Bartók and Beethoven, placed them in Gramophone Magazine’s Hall of Fame, garnered them three Gramophone Awards, a Grammy and three more Grammy nominations, three Japan Record Academy Chamber Music Awards, the BBC Music Disc of the Year Award, and the Classical Brits Award for Ensemble Album of the Year. As a member of the Takács Quartet, Mr. Tapping taught regularly at the Aspen Festival, the Taos Quartet School, and London’s Guildhall School of Music. In addition to studio teaching at the New England Conservatory, Mr. Tapping directed their Chamber Music program. He also taught at the Longy School in Cambridge and Boston Conservatory, and has continued to play as a recitalist and chamber musician, performing frequently as a guest with quartets from the U.S. and Europe, and as a member of the Boston Chamber Music Society. During summers, Mr. Tapping serves on the faculties of Itzhak Perlman’s Chamber Music Workshop, the Tanglewood String Quartet Seminar, and the Yellow Barn Festival. He also gives viola and chamber music master classes at festivals and conservatories in the U.S. and Canada.
Mr. Tapping is a member of the Order of the Knight Cross of the Hungarian Republic, has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Nottingham, and is a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music in London. He holds degrees from the University of Cambridge. His teachers were Margaret Major, of Britain’s famed Aeolian Quartet, and Bruno Giuranna in Berlin, and he has participated in master classes with William Primrose. (October 2012)
JSQ Commission Announcement
The members of the Juilliard String Quartet have commissioned American composer Jesse Jones, winner of the Elliott Carter Rome Prize for 2012/13, to write a work for premiere performances in the 2013/14 season. Jones has kindly offered the following remarks as he prepares for his year at the American Academy in Rome: (September 2012)
I am thrilled and honored to compose a piece for the Juilliard String Quartet. The depth of their knowledge and devotion to music, old and new, as well as the intent, urgency, and authority with which they play it, has inspired me since my youth. Much of what I love in music I first discovered in JSQ recordings, and so I take this commission very seriously. I am especially excited to work again with Joseph Lin, who, through repeat performances of my violin concerto (For a Faded Mind), has championed my music for several years now.
Joseph has inspired me again and again with his masterful playing (especially of Bach), and the care and thought he gives to each note has caused me to rethink my approach to composition. I am certain my friendship with Joseph will play an important role in the piece I write for the JSQ.
Formally, my piece will have five movements, each referencing a certain poetic text. The music will explore the spiritual and literal dimensions of religious mysticism and symbolism, as embodied in certain poetry: Yeats, Aquinas, Lamartine, etc. To achieve this, I intend to wed musical aspects of certain texts with luminous microtonal harmonies, in hopes to create a sonic embodiment of their unspoken, spiritual ³meaning.² In other words, I intend to create a sounding board from which the sentiments of the texts,without actually being spoken, can freely resonate in the listener. For this I plan to transcribe and orchestrate samples of the human voice‹inflected speech,sighs, and song‹so that the music flows directly from the sinew of genuine human expression.
For more information about Jesse Jones, and to listen to excerpts of his violin concerto, For a Faded Mind, performed by Joseph Lin, visit www.jessejonescomposer.com
JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET: the season wrap-up
From the first concerts in the fall and throughout the season, it has been clear that this is a wonderfully vivid and fruitful time for the JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET. (April 2012)
We take this opportunity to share with you a few highlights out of many:
-- Right after a WFMT "Impromptu" performance and interview, the JSQ headed to the Martin Theatre to perform their season-opening concert at the Ravinia Festival,
-- The Year of the Grosse Fuge: Throughout the season, the Quartet has performed Beethoven's Opus 130 with the Grosse Fuge. This magnificent work is truly something that must be lived with -- and this particular JSQ process was captured in a documentary video which will be released early next season. Click here to see a preview!
-- The JSQ had a special round of performances this season in its hometown, New York City. This included dates with thePeoples' Symphony, downtown at the groundbreaking nightclub (le) Poisson Rouge for a special mid-January performance, and at Lincoln Center, in two Alice Tully Hall dates for the Juilliard School. As Allan Kozinn wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES :
"A beautifully balanced, transparent account of the Haydn, with spirited interplay in the Menuet and a tightly controlled finale, quickly created the sense that the quartet was feeling energized and renewed. The vital, warm-hued performance of the Martino made the point that new music would continue to be close to the heart of this quartet’s mission and that its latest configuration was suited to its challenges."
-- In the fall, the JSQ toured the Far East, with dates at the Macau Festival in China, and throughout Japan, in Osaka, Niigata and in Tokyo.
-- In 2012, the Quartet headed to Europe, playing dates in Germany, France and London, where they joined pianist Stephen Hough for a program of American chamber music at Wigmore Hall and for a BBC Radio 3 "In Tune" program.
-- The Quartet made welcome returns to several venues this season, including Stanford Lively Arts and Cornell Concert Series.
-- This month, after the second of their two annual dates with Philadelphia Chamber Music Series, the JSQ heads back to Europe, playing in Istanbul, Munich, Copenhagen, and Birmingham.
Finally, the season ends at the Juilliard School, which will host the weeklong Juilliard String Quartet Seminar 2012, through which the JSQ will offer coaching, mentoring and inspiration to the apsiring quartets of the future.
Joseph Lin's speaks with the Cornell Daily Sun
Joseph Lin, first violinist of the of the JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET took some time to speak with THE CORNELL DAILY SUN about his new colleagues, and the exploration of the repertoire they embark on together: "I’m not simply slipping into a sound and not noticed as a new voice, but a new voice that has something to contribute to the sound and identity of the quartet."
Read the full interview here. (February 2012)
JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET at Stanford Lively Arts, NYC's (le) Poisson Rouge
The JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET has had a string of great fall dates, including a concert tour to China and Japan, part one of their annual concerts with Philadelphia Chamber Music Society (the season's second concert is April 4, 2012,) a concert for Stanford Lively Arts and a concert at Alice Tully Hall you may have read about in the New York Times...
"The ensemble was at its most muscular and sumptuous in the Beethoven. The players gave an enveloping, fluid account of the mammoth fugue, and though the rest of the work often pales beside that outsize finale, the quartet’s careful accenting and dynamic freedom brought the emotional depths of the first five movements fully into focus." -- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, Nov. 29, 2011
They play again in New York in January, just in time for those of you at the CMA, ISPA and APAP conferences. Be sure to plan your trip to join us at the bar and hear them on Thursday, January 12 at (le) Poisson Rouge, where they'll play Elliott Carter's String Quartet No. 5 (a belated birthday tribute, if you will,) and Haydn Op. 54, No. 1. That concert is followed by a two-week European tour, with dates in Germany, France and at London's Wigmore Hall with pianist Stephen Hough. (December 2011)
A Warm-Hued Beginning For Quartet's New Violinist
"A beautifully balanced, transparent account of the Haydn, with spirited interplay in the Menuet and a tightly controlled finale, quickly created the sense that the quartet was feeling energized and renewed.
The vital, warm-hued performance of the Martino made the point that new music would continue to be close to the heart of this quartet's mission and that its latest configuration was suited to its challenges. The Fifth Quartet, completed a year before Martino's death in 2005, sounds almost mellow in comparison with his earlier work, but the hallmarks of his style are all in place, most notably his shapely, often lyrical use of 12-tone themes and an alternation of melancholy introspection and lyrical vigor.
The ensemble was at its most muscular and sumptuous in the Beethoven. The players gave an enveloping, fluid account of the mammoth fugue, and though the rest of the work often pales beside that outsize finale, the quartet’s careful accenting and dynamic freedom brought the emotional depths of the first five movements fully into focus." Read the full review here. (November 2011)
JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET kicks off the season at Ravinia & Juilliard
The Juilliard String Quartet has returned from the summer break with a bang -- leading off last week with an opening concert for The Juilliard School's freshman class. The completely silent and rapt crowd of student actors, singers, dancers and musicians stood, stomped and cheered at the close of the Quartet's performance of Beethoven's Op. 130 with the Grosse Fuge. As Dean Ara Guzelimian so aptly briefed the audience, "You are starting at the Mountaintop, the absolute pinnacle of Beethoven's achievement," which the Juilliard Quartet inhabited and sustained through the depths and heights of everything Beethoven put on offer.
You may have heard them Tuesday afternoon, live at the WFMT studios (Chicago) where they joined George Preston for a preview of their concert last night at Ravinia, where they played the Beethoven alongside quartets by Haydn and Donald Martino.
They recently taped a performance for Sirius Radio, which will be featured in the September 11 memorial day of broadcasting -- check their Facebook page for more details about that broadcast soon -- and they will participate in Musicians For Harmony's September 11 Memorial Concert, playing the Janacek Quartet No. 1 "Kreuzer Sonata".
Fall highlights include returns to Chamber Music Cincinnati, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and a Far East tour with dates in China and throughout Japan. (September 2011)
JUILLIARD QUARTET presented Lifetime Achievement Award
On February 12, 2011 Juilliard String Quartet members past and present, including new first violinist Joseph Lin, Ronald Copes, Samuel Rhodes, Joel Krosnick, founding first violinist Robert Mann, Earl Carlyss, and Joel Smirnoff, as well as family members of Raphael Hillyer, Robert Koff, and Isidore Cohen came together during a special ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The JSQ, which has won four Grammys throughout its recording career, is the first classical ensemble to receive this honor.
NARAS President/CEO Neil Portnow said "These influential performers and brilliant innovators have been of great inspiration to our culture and industry. Their legendary work has left a lasting impression and will continue to influence generations to come."
Pianist Emanuel Ax offered tribute: "This award is a fitting climax to the decades of dedication and love that the Juilliard Quartet has always brought to their work -- on stage, in the recording studio and in the classroom. I hope and believe that tere are mhany more years of the same to come, and I hope to be one of the many fans who will look forward to every new effort of the Juilliard Quartet." Click here to read more.
The JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET, with its new first violinist, Joseph Lin, performs today, February 17, 2011 at the Kennedy Center, along with the current Juilliard School graduate-quartet-in-residence, the AFIARA STRING QUARTET. (February 2011)
Joseph Lin joins the Juilliard String Quartet
Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi announced on October 22, 2010 that 32-year-old violinist Joseph Lin, an alumnus of Harvard and The Juilliard School Pre-College, will join the Juilliard String Quartet as first violinist beginning in 2011. He also becomes a member of the Juilliard violin faculty beginning with the fall 2011 semester. Mr. Lin currently is on leave from his position as a professor at Cornell, spending time in Asia to study Chinese music. He returns to the US to complete the spring semester at Cornell before joining the other members of the Juilliard Quartet — violinist Ronald Copes (Quartet member since 1997), violist Samuel Rhodes (1969), and cellist Joel Krosnick (1974) — as a full-time member. Mr. Lin follows violinist Nick Eanet who has resigned from the Quartet because of health issues.
In announcing Mr. Lin’s appointment, President Polisi stated, “The Juilliard community is delighted to continue the great tradition of the Juilliard String Quartet through the appointment of Joseph Lin. Joe brings extraordinary artistry, intellect, and a vision to his new post. We all welcome him as a member of the ensemble and of our faculty.”
To read the full press release announcing Joseph Lin’s appointment, click here. (December 2010)
Juilliard String Quartet tours Japan, plays Alice Tully Hall
The Juilliard String Quartet heads east this month, playing concerts and offering masterclasses throughout Japan, following a round of critically acclaimed concerts in Houston, San Francisco and Philadelphia: (November 2009)
“Most performers are heard probing the piece from the outside; the Juilliard reading exuded inside understanding, particularly in the pulsating slow movement." -- David Patrick Stearns for THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, October 30, 2009
The JSQ returns to New York for a December 1 concert at Alice Tully Hall, heads to Baltimore for masterclasses at the Peabody Institute of Music and a concert at Shriver Hall Concert Series, and will join a celebration of founding member Robert Mann at the Manhattan School of Music on December 15.