Artist Recital Series Welcomes St. Lawrence String Quartet Nov. 11

October 31, 2016

Erich Burnett

members of the St. Lawrence String Quartet
Photo credit: Eric Cheng

The St. Lawrence String Quartet, hailed for energetic and innovative performances since its founding in 1989, will perform a program at Oberlin thematically centered around the legendary artistic statements of Beethoven. The concert takes place at 8 p.m. Friday, November 11, in historic Finney Chapel.

Part of Oberlin's 139th annual Artist Recital Series, the performance will include the fifth of Haydn's genre-defining opus 20 quartets—works that Beethoven studied before ever writing his own. The St. Lawrence has also programmed Beethoven's epic opus 132 A minor quartet. These pieces bookend John Adams' Second Quartet, the American composer's 2014 homage to Beethoven created for the ensemble.

“What I appreciate about my friends in the St. Lawrence is their willingness to let me literally ‘improvise’ on them as if they were a piano or a drum and I a crazy man beating away with only the roughest outlines of what I want,” Adams has said. “They will go the distance with me, allow me to try and fail, and they will indulge my seizures of doubt, frustration and indecision, all the while providing intuitions and frequently brilliant suggestions of their own.”

(Hear the breathtaking results of that process here.)

Collaborations such as these inspired the Los Angeles Times to praise the quartet for its “dramatic fire and … hint of rock ’n’ roll energy.” The quartet consists of founding members Geoff Nuttall, first violin, and Lesley Robertson, viola, as well as second violinist Owen Dalby and cellist Christopher Costanza.

Tickets for the St. Lawrence String Quartet are $35 ($30 for seniors, military, and Oberlin alumni and staff), with $10 tickets available for all students. Get yours by calling 800-371-0178, by visiting, or by stopping by Oberlin’s Central Tickets Services (in Hall Auditorium, 67 N. Main St.) from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays.

The 2016-17 Artist Recital Series continues in February with master classes featuring opera legend Marilyn Horne (Feb. 17 and 19) followed by a multimedia ode to Bach with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (Feb. 28). Pianist Richard Goode visits April 9, and The Cleveland Orchestra closes the season with its annual visit to Oberlin on April 21.

Learn more about the arts at Oberlin using our online Arts Guide.

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