Friday, May 28, 2010

Hanging out with the Brentano Quartet.. no big deal...

Last weekend, we had the excellent fortune to be in Reading, PA (Rachel's hometown) at the same time as the Brentano Quartet! Not only did we get to hear them play some amazing concerts on the Friends of Chamber Music of Reading series - their Schubert G Major was jaw-dropping - we got to spend some quality time talking over the finer points of the quartet lifestyle. We especially had Nina Maria Lee captive, along with her husband Windsor, and their adorable daughter Anouk, as the three of them were staying at Rachel's house... along with the entire Æolus Quartet... and of course a few of our pals from the Philadelphia area dropped by too. Needless to say, floor space was prime real estate. 3 air mattresses, 2 couches, and all the beds in the house!

Mark, Nina, Drs. Tom Souders and Neil Hoffman (FOCM,) Serena, and Misha

Sightreading Schubert Cello Quintet with Nina!!! Even after performing two full programs with her quartet, she was still game to read with us :)

Anouk appears ambivalent about the prospects of a career in music... although we have been told she plays a mean cardboard violin.

Another round of amusing Alan and Rachel through the mail slot. All in a hard day's work.

With our dear friends Carlos and Ayane! CIM '09

Mother and daughter :)

Carlos doing all the grunt work for our Sunday brunch.

Ellen and John Shapiro! The merry hosts :)

Windsor and Anouk utilizing one of the eight bubble blowers provided for them at the Shapiro house.

Monday, May 24, 2010

In the Big Apple!

First off - thank you for dropping by our blog! You may have noticed our introductory video below. What was originally intended to be an assignment for Career Development seems to have taken on a life of its own :)

So we just wrapped up a week in New York at the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar! We had the incredible fortune to work with Joel Krosnick and Ron Copes of the Juilliard String Quartet for 3 hours a day, in addition to the delight of sharing one tiny hotel room among the 4 of us!! The musical experience certainly outshone the tight accommodations, however, and we will not soon forget the insightful coachings and hilarious stories shared with us by the JSQ.

It's almost as if our sound improved simply by having Mr. Krosnick stand up and wander into the middle of our quartet, gesticulating at the score and looking at each of us with twinkling eyes. Of course his advice on bow distribution and sound production also helped. And Mr. Copes' philosophical musicality, along with lessons on avoiding "splices" and unnatural dynamic progressions, left us with a lot to think about... including the fact that the Finale of any piece shall henceforth be referred to as "Fine Ale" - thank you for that and more, JSQ!