The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Madison Symphony Orchestra’s Rhapsodie Quartet makes its first international appearance as cultural ambassadors to Madison’s sister city, Freiburg, Germany, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sister City bond.

June 3, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

This week finds the Madison Symphony Orchetsra’s Rhapsodie String Quartet on the road, making its first international appearance as cultural ambassadors to one of Madison’s many sister cities, Freiburg, Germany.

The members (below, in a photo by Greg Anderson) of the Rhapsodie Quartet are MSO Co-Concertmaster Suzanne Beia, Principal Viola Christopher Dozoryst, Principal Cello Karl Lavine and violinist Laura Burns. The ensemble is the resident quartet of the MSO’s internationally acclaimed HeartStrings Community Engagement Program.

Rhapsodie Quartet MSO Greg Anderson

The Rhapsodie Quartet’s concerts will happen during Freiburg’s Annual Sister City Festival. The quartet will act as the official Cultural Ambassadors during Freiburg’s Annual Sister City Festival, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Madison-Freiburg sister city partnership. (A photo of Freiburg by Alberto Pretto is below.)

Freiburg CR Alberto Pretto

The centerpiece of their schedule will be a performance at the festival’s opening ceremonies, where Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and Freiburg Mayor Dieter Salomon will speak. Also in attendance will be MSO Music Director John DeMain and MSO Director of Education and Community Engagement Michelle Kaebisch.

Mike von Schneidermesser, President of the Madison-Freiburg Sister City Committee, said: “I am very happy to see the exchange of performing arts organizations through the sister city partnership.”

In the summer of 2012, the Freiburg Cathedral Girl’s Choir, below, traveled to Madison to perform at Overture Center for the Arts in a concert that was sponsored by the Madison Roman Catholic Diocese and the MSO.

Freiburg Cathedral Girls Choir in Mozart Hall and organ

The Rhapsodie Quartet’s first recital will take place this Wednesday, June 5, at 1 p.m. in the St. Augustine of Canterbury Church of Wiesbaden. (Below is a photo of the Augustineplatz on Freiburg.) The second performance will be at the Freiburg festival’s opening ceremonies on Thursday, June 6, at 6 p.m. in the Kaisersaal of Freiburg’s historic Kaufhaus. Another performance is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Mozartzaal of the Bischofspalais, and the quartet will wrap up the tour with a final performance at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 8 at the Sister City Rathausplatz Market, an open-air market where all of Freiburg’s sister cities will have displays.

The quartet’s all-masterpiece repertoire for the tour includes Franz Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 76. No. 5; Charles Ives‘ String Quartet No. 1; and Franz Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, “Death and the Maiden.” (The first movement of the famous Schubert work is performed by the Alban Berg Quartet of Germany in a YouTube video at bottom.)

The Ear thinks it is an especially fitting choice for the Rhapsodie Quartet to take an American work such as the Charles Ives quartet to German-speaking Europe, the home of the string quartet that also saw major advances in that form of chamber music.

Freiburg Augstineplatz

HeartStrings is a music therapy-informed program that reaches beyond traditional learning environments to bring live, interactive performances into healthcare and residential facilities, where they annually benefit over 3,200 individuals with disabilities, assisted living needs and long-term illnesses, as well as aging adults with dementia.

As part of the tour, Kaebisch and the quartet will conduct a HeartStrings session at the Freiburg University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

More information about the quartet and the HeartStrings program is available at tour is made possible through the generous support of JoAnn Six and an anonymous friend of the MSO.

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