Acclaimed string quartet arrives at PSU

Tokyo String Quartet

Lincoln Performance Hall
Monday, Jan. 14 and Tuesday, Jan. 15.
$27 general
$13.50 students
$5 PSU students Monday only

@body:The Tokyo String quartet has performed its diverse repertoire all over the world. Critics call them the best in the world. They teach at Yale and have been on Sesame Street. Japan is home to a rich traditional culture, and the Japanese have also proven adept at appropriating other cultures’ traditional art forms.

Like most artists, this quartet strives to deliver classical quartet music to global audiences with passionate, flawless delivery. They have a rather deep history, and ironically weren’t founded in Japan. They were officially formed in 1969 at the Juilliard School of Music. The founding members started their journey at the Tokyo School of Music.

There were some lineup changes over the years and two new members – first violinist Mikhail Kopelman and cellist Clive Greensmith both joined in the late ’90s. The non-Tokyo natives worked hard and in the past 10 years have become solid additions to the fine-tuned quartet. They joined founding member and violist Kazuhide Isomura and second violinist Kikuer Ikeda, who joined the ensemble in 1974.

In addition to touring each season, the members of the quartet are dedicated to teaching Ivy League string quartets. All four members have served on the faculty at the Yale School of Music since 1976 as the quartet-in-residence.

For a string quartet, they’re not doing too shabby. They’ve managed to release over 30 recordings. They earned the honor of the Grand Prix du Disque Montreux, “best Chamber Music Recording of the Year” awards from both Stereo Review and Gramophone magazines. They also received seven Grammy nominations, but have thus far been robbed of the statue.

To appear even more complete, they’ve done film scores and television appearances including the wonderfully educational and enlightening “Sesame Street.” Accompanying powerful and beautiful visual images is in my opinion the best place to hear the intricate sounds of a solid string quartet.

There will be no images to accompany the group’s performance next week at Lincoln hall, but the lineup should be good. The group’s repertoire ranges from classic string quartet works to newly commissioned music. In the 2001-02 season, the quartet performed works including the complete string quartets and other chamber works of Brahms. They also premiered four newly commissioned pieces. The premieres took place in the native country of its composer, the United States, Spain, Italy and Japan.

Playing new works from around the world, in addition to the timeless old compositions of the great Europeans, should keep the show fresh and interesting for String quartet fans and people thirsty for a little high culture music.

On Monday they will perform a new work by Japanese composer Hikaru Hayashi, followed by a quartet in C minor by Brahms and one in F major by Beethoven.

Tuesday will bring “Quartettsatz in C Minor” by Schubert, a piece called “Langsamer Satz” by Weber, quartet in F Major by Mozart and one in B-flat Major by Brahms.

Performances will take place at our own lovely little Lincoln Performance Hall at 1620 S.W. Park. Free parking is available in PSU structures during the concerts.

The shows cost $27 regular adult admission, $13.50 for students. There will also be a $5 special student rush deal on Monday only. I think means you rush down there early and get a ticket, but I’m not really sure. You can call 503-725-3307 or Ticketmaster for tickets.