Next month the three concerts in the spring portion of the 57th season of the Morrison Artists Series begin with a truly prestigious offering. This series was created as part of the May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Center at San Francisco State University at San Francisco State University (SFSU); and it has become our city’s premiere resource for free chamber music. Next month’s performers will be the Julliard String Quartet, founded in 1946 at the Juilliard School and now consisting of violinists Joseph Lin and Ronald Copes, violist Samuel Rhodes, and cellist Joel Krosnick.
This ensemble has distinguished itself for a repertoire that gives as much attention to modernism as it does to the classics. Both of these priorities will be recognized in the program they will bring to SFSU. On the modernist side they will perform the fifth (and last) string quartet of Elliott Carter, a composer whose work the Julliard championed throughout his lifetime. (This was not just a matter of performing his music. Julliard Quartet founder Robert Mann gave one of his best master classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music when he coached a student performance of Carter’s second quartet.)
On the classical side the program will begin with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 575 in D major, composed in Vienna in 1789 and the first of the three “Prussian” quartets dedicated to the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm II. Because the King was an amateur cellist, this quartet is distinguished by a particularly rewarding and challenging cello part. At the other end the concert will conclude with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 131 in C-sharp minor. This quartet, completed in 1826, is particularly representative of Beethoven’s departure from classical tradition during his “late” period. It features radical innovations in two of the formal structures through which Beethoven tended to be most inventive, fugue (in the first movement) and variations (in the fourth movement).
This concert will take place in the McKenna Theatre of the SFSU Creative Arts Building at 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 10. There will be a pre-concert talk beginning at 2 p.m. Admission is free, and further information may be obtained from 415-338-2467 or through the event page on the Creative State Web site. Note that, because of the popularity of the performing ensemble, a large crowd is expected. It is recommended that those wishing to attend arrive by 2:30 p.m. Free tickets must be picked up from the Box Office located outside the entrance to McKenna Theatre. Those wishing to attend the pre-concert talk will be able to collect their tickets prior to that talk. In addition the members of the Juilliard Quartet will conduct a master class (open to the general public at no charge) with SFSU students on Friday, February 8, in Knuth Hall of the Creative Arts Building, beginning at 2 p.m.