Alexander Quartet - Apr. 12, 2013

Perennial favorites on the BCMS, the Alexander Quartet has performed in the major music capitals of five continents, securing its standing among the world's premiere ensembles over three decades. Widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, and Shostakovich, the Quartet has also established itself as an important ad¬vocate of new music through over 25 commissions and numerous premiere performances. The Alexander String Quartet is a major artistic pres¬ence in its home base of San Francisco, serving there as directors of the Morrison Chamber Music Center at the School of Music and Dance at San Francisco State University and Ensemble in Residence of San Francisco Performances. The Alexander String Quartet has appeared at Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City; Jordan Hall in Boston; the Library of Congress and Dumbarton Oaks in Washington; and chamber music societies and universities across the North American continent. Recent overseas tours have brought them to the U.K., the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Greece, the Republic of Georgia, Argentina, and the Philippines. Formed in New York City in 1981, the following year the ASQ became the first string quartet to win the Concert Artists Guild Competition. In 1985, the quartet captured international attention as the first American quartet to win the London International String Quartet Competition, receiving both the jury's highest award and the Audience Prize.

Over the past decade the Alexander String Quartet has added considerably to its distinguished and wide-ranging discography. Currently recording exclusively for the FoghornClassics label, the Alexander's most recent release (June 2009) is a complete Beethoven cycle. Music Web International has described the performances on this new Beethoven set as "uncompromising in their power, intensity and spiritual depth," while Strings Magazine described the set as "a landmark journey through the greatest of all quartet cycles." The FoghornClassics label released a three-CD set (Homage) of the Mozart quartets dedicated to Haydn in 2004. Foghorn released a six-CD album (Fragments) of the complete Shostakovich quartets in 2006 and 2007, and a recording of the complete quartets of Pulitzer prize-winning San Francisco composer Wayne Peterson was released in the spring of 2008. BMG Classics released the quartet's first recording of Beethoven cycle on its Arte Nova label to critical acclaim in 1999.

In celebration of the Alexander String Quartet's 30th anniversary, San Francisco Performances commissioned a new work for string quartet and mezzo-soprano from Jake Heggie, premiered in a performance in collaboration with Joyce DiDonato in February 2012. Other recent Alexander premieres include Rise Chanting by Augusta Read Thomas, commissioned for the Alexander by the Krannert Center and premiered there and simulcast by WFMT radio in Chicago. The quartet has also premiered String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 by Wayne Peterson and works by Ross Bauer (commissioned by Stanford University), Richard Festinger, David Sheinfeld, Hi Kyung Kim, and a Koussevitzky commission by Robert Greenberg.

The Alexander Quartet will reprise their roles as adjudicators for the Boise Chamber Music Society's Eighth Annual Young Artist String Quartet Competitions on Saturday, April 13.

For more information, visit their website: http://asq4.com/

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