Chiara’s ‘Premiered and Loved’ concert to include world premiere

Chiara String Quartet
Chiara String Quartet

On Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 7:30pm, the Chiara String Quartet will be performing the third concert of the 2016-2017 Hixson-Lied Concert Series at Kimball Recital Hall (11th and R Streets). The program, titled “Premiered and Loved” will feature the world premiere of Rome Prize-winner Pierre Jalbert’s Canticle (String Quartet No. 6), commissioned for the Chiara Quartet by the UNL’s Glenn Korff School of Music, as well as a reprise of another audience-favorite Chiara commission, String Quartet No. 2 by L.A.-based composer Jefferson Friedman.

Pierre Jalbert’s Canticle (String Quartet No. 6) consists of seven movements, highly contrasting in character, with movements I and VII serving as similar bookends to the overall arch of the work. Jalbert explains, “I have known the members of the Chiara Quartet for many years. Some of them were still students at Rice University when I arrived there in 1996 for my first full-time composition teaching post. Over the years, we have collaborated on many of my works, including my first string quartet and my Icefield Sonnets, based on the poetry of Anthony Hawley (husband of first violinist Rebecca Fischer). I have always been inspired by their performances and it was a thrill to be able to compose this new work for them.” The piece opens with the quartet members striking various crotales, producing bell sounds that eventually blend with the string quartet – evoking the title, Canticle. The faster, pulse-oriented music has the members of the quartet using glass rods on their instruments and at one point quickly moves back and forth between alternating rhythmic sub-divisions, producing extremely rapid metric modulations. The last movement blends the string quartet with the bowing of the crotales to produce an ethereal, other-worldly finale to the canticle. The Chiara Quartet will record the work for an upcoming CD which will also include the composer’s third and fourth string quartets.

Of the commission the Chiara Quartet says, "We are so excited to be premiering Canticle (String Quartet No 6), a brand-new piece by our dear friend Pierre Jalbert. We have performed and admired his music for years, and so the chance to commission him that was afforded to us by the UNL Glenn Korff School of Music was truly a dream come true. The finished result is revelatory and we truly cannot wait to share this new creation with our audiences in Lincoln and throughout the country!"

The Chiara Quartet has been championing composer Jefferson Friedman’s music since its earliest days, developing a deep and symbiotic creative collaboration. Jefferson Friedman’s String Quartet No. 2 is one of three string quartets he wrote for the Chiara. The quartet received a Grammy nomination for their 2011 album of Friedman’s String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3, which was praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for its “lush ensemble sound that brings out the hidden depths of Friedman's harmonic language.” Both celebrated pieces, which "already deserve to be heard as classics of this decade" (The New York Times) were commissioned by the Chiara, and are the result of a more than ten-year friendship with the composer. In December 2014, the Chiara Quartet premiered Friedman’s new string quintet, The Heart Wakes Into, with pianist Simone Dinnerstein at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

The season closes on Wednesday, March 29, 2016 at 7:30pm, the Chiara Quartet will perform “Beyond Their Years,” a celebration of mature younger voices featuring Mendelssohn’s gratifying String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13, written when the composer was only 18 years old, as well as the winner of the 2016 Play with the Chiaras Competition, a current Glenn Korff School of Music student who will prove, through two rounds of judging, their readiness to perform on the Hixson-Lied Concert Series

The Chiara Quartet has been playing string quartets and asking probing questions since 2000. Always interested in engaging with the music at its core as well as reaching audiences, the quartet has dedicated itself to finding ways to make the musical experience meaningful for all involved. In this pursuit, the quartet has performed in venues from major concert halls to clubs, created interactive programs for all ages, and most recently taken to performing and recording from memory, or “by heart.” Described by an audience member as “a 3-D experience for the listener,” playing by heart is deeply rewarding for the Chiara as well; memorizing the score helps them to closely relate to the composer’s compositional process. The Chiara’s latest recording is Bartók by Heart, a 2-CD set featuring Bartók’s six string quartets, played entirely from memory, released in August 2016 on Azica. Chiara’s interpretation of Bartók has been reviewed as “a harrowing, landmark achievement” (New York Music Daily) and “with high energy and the freedom to experiment with expression” (All Music). The Arts Fuse describes the quartet’s latest album as “gritty [and] compelling takes on this seminal group of quartets.” The Chiara recently performed complete cycles of the Bartók String Quartets by memory at the Ravinia Festival, National Sawdust in Brooklyn, and at NET Nebraska.

Renowned for bringing fresh excitement to traditional string quartet repertoire as well as for creating insightful interpretations of new music, the Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello) captivates its audiences throughout the country. The Chiara has established itself as among America’s most respected ensembles, lauded for its "highly virtuosic, edge-of-the-seat playing" (The Boston Globe). They are currently Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence at the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and were the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University from 2008-2014. For the 2015-2016 season, the Chiara was the quartet-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

In addition to the Chiara Quartet’s regular performances in major concert halls across the country, including Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the National Gallery in Washington DC, the ensemble was one of the first string quartets to perform in alternative venues for chamber music performance. Recent highlights of the Chiara Quartet's international performances include extensive tours of China, Korea, and Sweden.

The quartet’s previous album, Brahms by Heart, was released on Azica in March 2014. The 2-CD set includes Brahms’ String Quartets and his String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111 with violist Roger Tapping. The album, played “with infectious charm, exultant phrasing and nostalgic affection” (The Strad), was recorded by Grammy Award-winning producer Judith Sherman at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York. Strings raved, “The recording contributes to the feeling of being inside the music, indivisible from the beauty of the playing.” The complete Chiara discography includes a Grammy-nominated recording of Jefferson Friedman’s String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 on New Amsterdam Records, the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets for SMS Classical, and the world premiere recordings of Robert Sirota's Triptych and Gabriela Lena Frank's Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout on the Quartet's own New Voice Singles label.

The Chiara has been committed to the creation of new music for string quartet since its inception, and has commissioned composers including Gabriela Lena Frank, Jefferson Friedman, Nico Muhly, Daniel Ott, Robert Sirota, among others. Recent collaborators in performance include The Juilliard and St. Lawrence String Quartets, Joel Krosnick, Roger Tapping, Todd Palmer, Robert Levin, Simone Dinnerstein, Norman Fischer, Nadia Sirota, and Paul Katz, as well as members of the Orion, Ying, Cavani, and Pacifica Quartets.

In the summer, the Chiara Quartet is in residence at Greenwood Music Camp as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Chamber Music Institute. The Chiara trained and taught at The Juilliard School, mentoring for two years with the Juilliard Quartet, as recipients of the Lisa Arnhold Quartet Residency. Chiara (key-ARE-uh) is an Italian word, meaning "clear, pure, or light." For more information, visit

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 7:30pm

Kimball Recital Hall | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

11th and R Streets | Lincoln, NE

Chiara Quartet:

Single Tickets: $20 (Seniors $10, Students $5). Available at the Lied Center for Performing Arts ticket office, at the door, or at 402.472.4747.