Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Round 3, Week 3: The Revenge Therapists vs. 240 North
Next story: The Drive for Ninth

Slee Cycle Finale

The Bergonzi String Quartet, named for renowned violin maker Carlo Bergonzi.

The Bergonzi String Quartet wraps up UB’s Beethoven Slee Cycle

The venerable Slee Beethoven String Quartet Cycle wraps up its 2012-13 with two concerts performed by the Bergonzi String Quartet on Thursday, April 4 in Baird Recital Hall, and Friday, April 5 in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall on the UB Amherst Campus. Both concerts start at 7:30pm.

Potential concertgoers to the Friday night concert should be aware that just a hundred yards away, rock legend Bob Dylan will be performing at exactly the same time, at the sold-out 6,000-seat Alumni Arena, making parking at UB that evening an adventure, especially since the doors to the Dylan concert will open at 6:30pm.

The Bergonzi String Quartet has been the quartet-in-residence since 1992 at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, where all four musicians are faculty members. The group takes its name from the famed Italian luthier Carlo Bergonzi (1683-1747), who represented the final flowering of the golden-age of the Cremona school of Italian violin-making. Having apprenticed with Hieronymus Amati and collaborated with Joseph Guarneri, Bergonzi is generally considered the most talented pupil of Antonio Stradivari.

Prior to forming the Bergonzi Quartet, its members—violinists Glenn Basham and Scott Flavin, violist Pamela McConnell, and cellist Ross Harburgh—were variously members of the New World, Rowe, Chester, and Ellis String Quartets. They have extensive collective experience, performing in virtually every major musical center in the world, throughout Europe, England, Asia, and North and South America. In the summer, the group is in residence at the Pine Mountain Music Festival in Michigan and the Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

In recent years, the Bergonzi Quartet has developed a repertoire that includes many Latin American works and also a large number of original arrangements for string quartet by its members of non-quartet music for string quartet. Since its inception, the members of the Bergonzi Quartet have cultivated a deep understanding of the Beethoven string quartets, having performed the entire cycle in a series of six concerts for three seasons at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach.

Thursday’s concert should have a more intimate feel, as it takes place in Baird Recital Hall. It includes Beethoven’s early Quartet in A Major, Op. 18, No. 5 and his late masterpiece, the Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130, which had originally ended with the mighty Grosse Fuge movement at its premiere in March 1826. Following mixed reactions to that performance, and at the suggestion of his publisher, Beethoven composed a shorter and lighter final Allegro movement, but he did not live to hear the first public performance of the revised work, which took place in April 1827, a month after his death.

Friday’s concert at Slee Hall includes the Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4, the only minor key work in Beethoven’s first published set of sex quartets, followed by Beethoven’s final composition for string quartet, the Quartet in F Major, Op. 135 that musically asks the question “Muss es sein?” (“Must it be?”) and immediately provides the answer: “Es muss sein” (“It must be”).

The program and the entire yearly Slee Cycle ends with the second of the three Razumovsky quartets, the Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2, the Beethoven quartet that the series generous founding benefactors, Frederick and Alice Slee, loved best.

In addition to the pair of concerts, a master class, open for public observation, will be held on Saturday, April 6, 11am-1pm, in Baird Recital Hall.

For tickets and information, call 645-2921 or visit

blog comments powered by Disqus