MACON – The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings Fabian Concert Series presents the exciting Ehnes Quartet in concert on Friday, March 16, at 7:30 p.m. in Fickling Hall at the McCorkle Music Building on the Macon campus of Mercer University. The Quartet includes four of the top string musicians in the world, including James Ehnes, violin; McDuffie Center director and Caroline Paul King Violin Chair Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin; Richard O’Neill, viola; and Robert deMaine, cello. The ensemble, composed of four of the top string performers in the world, made its debut last year with a performance at Mercer. They return as part of a four-city tour that includes Seattle, Miami, Montreal and this performance in Macon. The concert program includes some of the best pieces of chamber music ever written, with works by Bartok, Ravel, and Schubert. Tickets are $10 for the general public and free with Mercer I.D. Call (478) 301-5470 or buy online at tickets.mercer.edu.
“This quartet has been years in the making,” said Schwartz Moretti, who first met Ehnes and deMaine when all three attended Meadowmount, the well-known intensive summer camp for string students. After college the three began their professional careers, which eventually took them to Seattle, where they reconnected and met O’Neill.
They have performed in various combinations in quartets over the years, but this new ensemble presents the opportunity for the four, who have each gone on to build impressive individual careers, to come together to perform. “A quartet is like a marriage,” Schwartz Moretti explained. “You must be able to perform well together without losing your individuality.” Their repertoire includes some of the greatest chamber music works in existence. “There’s something very special about chamber music,” she said. “It’s held sacred for string musicians.”
Though the Quartet is relatively new, the caliber of performers has already earned them an opportunity to perform at London’s Wigmore Hall in 2014. The venerable venue has hosted the world’s greatest soloists and chamber musicians since it was built in 1901 and is considered a high honor within the world of music.
“The reaction to our performances so far has been great,” Schwartz Moretti said. “I think the audience can feel the passion and great care that each person in the quartet feels for the music. I think this is the start of something spectacular.”
In addition to the concert, the Ehnes Quartet will conduct a master class for Townsend students at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, in Fickling Hall. The public is invited to listen as the Quartet members work with students from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, giving feedback about their performances. For more information visit mercer.edu/music or call (478) 301-5751.
Mercer University’s Townsend School of Music, the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and the Townsend-McAfee Institute for Graduate Studies offer undergraduate and graduate professional music studies in a comprehensive university environment. Townsend is nationally recognized for its outstanding faculty, award-winning students, performance ensembles and state-of-the-art facilities. The McDuffie Center, a special institute within Townsend School of Music, is a highly selective program that prepares string students for success in the real world. Students study with some of America’s most renowned string musicians, receiving music instruction of conservatory quality, while earning an academically well-rounded education from a comprehensive, nationally recognized university. For more information and a complete listing of this season’s concerts please visit music.mercer.edu or call (478) 301-5470.