A performance sure to sparkle

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By Special to the Monitor

The Los Alamos Concert Association’s “Jewel of a Season” opens Sept. 14, with a sparkling performance by the Jupiter String Quartet. The performance begins at 4 p.m. in Duane Smith Auditorium, and will be followed by dinner with the artists at the Central Avenue Grill.

The Jupiter String Quartet was founded in 2001 while the artists were at the Cleveland Institute of Music and at nearby Oberlin College. The Quartet owes much of its musical philosophy to the influences of the original Cleveland Quartet and the current Takacs Quartet, and spent many of their formative years under the instruction of these eminent chamber musicians. They chose the name “Jupiter” because the planet was most prominent in the night sky at the time of Quartet’s formation, and the astrological symbol for Jupiter resembles the number four.

The Jupiters were recently awarded a $25,000 2008 Avery Fisher Career Grant, given to provide significant recognition to outstanding musicians that have great potential. In January 2007, the Quartet won the Cleveland Quartet Award from Chamber Music America, a prize which “honors and promotes a rising young string quartet whose artistry demonstrates that it is in the process of establishing a major career.”

These awards followed the Quartet’s earlier distinctions in 2004, when it captured the Grand Prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and First Prize in the Eighth Banff International String Quartet Competition, where it was also awarded the Szekely Prize for the best performance of a Beethoven quartet. The Austin Critics Table honored them with the Award for Outstanding Chamber Music Performance in 2006.

Winners of the 2005 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, the Quartet also won the Jerome L. Greene Foundation Prize, which sponsored their debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, the Paul A. Fish Memorial Prize, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society Prize, the La Jolla Music Society Prize, the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival Prize, and the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center Prize.

During the 2007-2008 season, the Quartet began its three-year residency with Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two. Their extensive appearances at major venues throughout the United States began in the summer of 2007 with a return engagement to the Caramoor International Music Festival, as well as performances at the Austin Chamber Music Festival, the Ruidoso Chamber Music Festival, the Bard Music Festival and the Skaneateles Festival.

The Jupiters place a strong emphasis on developing relationships with future audiences through outreach work in school systems and educational performances. They believe that chamber music, because of the intensity of its interplay and communication, is one of the most effective ways of spreading an enthusiasm for classical music to new audiences. They also enjoy working with aspiring chamber musicians, and have served on the faculties of the chamber music programs at the Snowmass Suzuki Institute and the Austin Chamber Music Festival.

The program will begin with the “Quartet in F Major, Op. 77, No. 2,” by Haydn. Following this piece they will perform the “Shostakovich Quartet No. 7 in F-sharp minor, Op. 108,” and the “Quartet No. 2,” (1987) by Gubaidulina. After intermission the concert will conclude with the “Quartet in F Major, Op. 135,” by Beethoven.

There will be a dinner with the artists immediately after the concert at the Central Avenue Grill. Spaces are still available at $50 per adult and $30 per youth; $18 of which is a tax deductible contribution to the Concert Association. This post-concert dinner is a wonderful way to meet and talk with the artists. Dinners usually sell out, so reserve now for a chance to visit with the members of the Quartet.

Season subscriptions to five concerts may be purchased at the performance at $135 for adults and $120 for seniors. Individual tickets are $35 for adults and $30 for seniors.

Youth 5-18 may attend at no charge but need a ticket. Children must be at least 5 years old to attend the concert, and adults must accompany children younger than 12.

Tickets may be obtained at CB Fox, Otowi Station Bookstore, and Nicholas Potter Bookseller in Santa Fe. For additional information, telephone the Los Alamos Concert Association at 662-9000 or visit the LACA website at www.losalamosconcert.org.