The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: The Wisconsin Union Theater finalizes Jerusalem Quartet program; the quartet gets a new violist and wins a record second BBC award for its second Haydn CD. Will protesters greet the quartet in Madison this fall? | July 28, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

There is news to pass along about the critically acclaimed Jerusalem String Quartet, the relatively young chamber music group that will open the annual classical music concert series at the Wisconsin Union Theater.

The quartet (pictured below from left: Sergei Bresler (2nd violin), Kyril Zlotnikov (cello), Alexander Pavlovsky (1st violin), Ori Kam (viola),  will perform in Madison on Friday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m. -– a new curtain time instead of the traditional 8 p.m.

If you recall, the cultural arts director Ralph Russo asked The Ear to ask readers which of the proposed programs they wanted.

And it turns out that is the program Russo and his staff have selected.

It’s a winner: The lovely and moving Haydn String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5 – the Jerusalem is renowned for its Haydn — the Debussy Quartet and the Brahms String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1.

Here is a link to the Wisconsin Union Theater’s announcement and web site, which has a video clip of the Jerusalem Quartet, ticket information, parking and other information including a link to the group’s web site with reviews and press coverage:

Two other things are worth noting:

After 17 years together, the Jerusalem recently lost its violist Amihai Grosz, who has become the principal violist in the Berlin Philharmonic – a major post.

The Israeli-American Ori Kam will replace Grosz and join the quartet for the October, 2010 tour, including its concert in Madison. (Kam is featured in the photo on this post except for the CD covers.)

But the personnel change looks promising.

Kam was born to Israeli Parents in La Jolla, CA in 1975, and grew up in Israel. He started his musical Education at the age of 6, and began playing the viola at 15. In Israel, he studied with Renowned Teacher Chaim Taub, and between 1994 and 1997, studied with Pinchas Zukerman and Patinka Kopec at the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

(In the photo below, from left, are: Alexander Pavolovsky (1st violin), Sergei Bresler (2nd violin), Ori Kam (viola), Kyril Zlotnikov (cello)

Later, he concluded his studies with Wilfried Strehle at the University for the Arts in Berlin. Kam has been the winner of several awards and prizes including The Swiss Prize at the Geneva Int’l Music Competition, The “Paganini” Prize in the International Lionel Tertis Competition, and in ’95 was the winner of the concerto competition at the Manhattan School of Music. From 1990 to 2000, he has been a recipient of scholarships from the America-Israel Culture Foundation.

In additional news, the group became the first classical artist to win a second BBC Music Magazine Award. It won the honor for its second album of Haydn quartets. (The quartet — which records for Harmonia Mundi — has made seven recordings. In 2008, it won its first BBC award for the CD of Shostakovich’s Quartet Nos. 6, 8 and 11. In 1200-9, it won an ECHO Award for its recording of Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” Quartet.)

Finally, there is some question about whether the quartet’s appearance in Madison will be the target of political protests. That has happened in Europe and England. And Madison is a political town.

But protesters apparently are unaware that, despite its name, the Jerusalem Quartet has nothing to do with the Israeli government, let alone the government’s policies about Palestinians, Gaza and West Bank settlements.

The quartet receives no government subsidies.

Here are links to previous posts about the Jerusalem– with interesting comments – on this blog:

What do you think of the Jerusalem Quartet?

Of its Madison program?

Do you think the Jerusalem Quartet’s concert in Madison will be protested or picketed?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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