jasper quartet 18-19

The Jasper String Quartet in Concert

Since their formation at Oberlin Conservatory twelve years ago, the Jasper String Quartet has been wowing audiences and their fellow musicians across the country, playing music from a host of time periods and genres, from the classics to contemporary debuts. They are recipients of the Cleveland Quartet Award, bestowed only once every two years, and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association’s 2016 Educator Award, recognizing their admirable work with young musicians. Last year, they were a Featured Guest Artist at Swarthmore College, playing with the Lab Orchestra, giving master classes and leading sectionals.

Orchestra director Andrew Hauze gushed about the musical capacity of the quartet, noting, “not only are they world class musicians and communicators, but they are also amazing teachers, individually and as a group. Each time they work with our student musicians I am impressed by their ability to take students at whatever technical level they find them and help them reach new heights of musical expression and collaboration.”

Cellist Kyle Yee ‘19, whose chamber group participated in a master class with the Jasper Quartet, recounted how “working with string players of that caliber was really something else. They really helped us open up our sound.”

Many were disappointed when the quartet’s solo concert was postponed last year due to inclement weather – particularly those in the orchestra who had closely worked with the group – but this week, the Jasper String Quartet is returning to Swarthmore.

When asked about her experience conducting the Lab Orchestra, Shira Samuels-Shragg ‘20 said “getting to work with the Jaspers last fall was such a privilege. They generously and joyously shared their vast knowledge of string technique and musical interpretations with us. As a student conductor, I was deeply grateful for their combination of constructive feedback and enthusiastic support. Their love of and dedication to music are contagious and inspiring.”

While professional musicians in any context can inspire emotion and excitement in their playing, there’s something special about not only listening to but watching a world class chamber ensemble in their element. The soloistic virtuosity and nuance, along with the rich sonorous strings and engaging stage presence of the Jasper String Quartet make their performance truly a sight and sound to behold.

The Jasper String Quartet will be performing on October 27, at 8:00 PM in Lang Concert Hall. Their repertoire will feature the Haydn Quartet op. 64 No. 6 and Smetana Quartet No. 1 “From my Life,” along with Joan Tower’s “Wild Summer” and Caroline Shaw’s “Valencia”.

Andy Zhang ’21

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