Sunday, May 15, 2022 | 5:30 PM

Pacifica String Quartet
Karen Slack, soprano

The Helen Coplan Harrison Concert

Location: Shriver Hall

The Pacifica Quartet is “nothing short of phenomenal” (The Telegraph), known for its “vibrant, highly charged playing” (NPR). The winners of two Grammy Awards return to SHCS with “the feisty, rich-voiced” (The New York Times) soprano Karen Slack with a new work by Baltimore composer James Lee III, co-commissioned with Carnegie Hall, and a program of string quartets.

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Pacifica Quartet

Simin Ganatra, violin
Austin Hartman, violin
Mark Holloway, viola
Brandon Vamos, cello

Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often-daring repertory choices, the Pacifica Quartet has achieved international recognition over the past twenty-six years as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. Formed in 1994, the Quartet quickly won chamber music’s top competitions, including the 1998 Naumburg Chamber Music Award. They have been honored with Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, an appointment to Lincoln Center’s The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two), a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, and multiple Grammy Awards for Best Chamber Music Performance with their most recent being in 2021 for their album Contemporary Voices.

The Pacifica Quartet has proven itself the preeminent interpreter of string quartet cycles, performing them often over the course of just a few days. They have given highly acclaimed performances of the Carter cycle, the Mendelssohn cycle, the Beethoven cycle, and the Shostakovich cycle. The Quartet has been widely praised for these cycles, with critics calling the concerts “brilliant,” “astonishing,” “gripping,” and “breathtaking.”  An ardent advocate of contemporary music, the Pacifica Quartet commissions and performs many new works including those by Keeril Makan, Julia Wolfe, and Shulamit Ran, the latter in partnership with the Music Accord consortium, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. The work – entitled Glitter, Doom, Shards, Memory – had its New York debut as part of the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center series. The Quartet also regularly collaborates with some of the world’s most prestigious artists including clarinetist Anthony McGill, Menahem Pressler, and March-André Hamelin.

The members of the Pacifica Quartet live in Bloomington, IN, where they have served as quartet-in-residence and full-time faculty members at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music since March of 2012. In 2017, the Pacifica Quartet was appointed to lead the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies at the Aspen Music Festival and School. For more information, visit www.pacificaquartet.com.


"…the Pacifica Quartet has, by just about any measure, reached the pinnacle of its field."   —Denver Post

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Karen Slack

Hailed for possessing a voice of extraordinary beauty, a seamless legato and great dramatic depth, American soprano Karen Slack has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera and San Francisco Opera. In recent seasons she has appeared as Alice Ford in Falstaff, Leonora in Il trovatore and Tosca with Arizona Opera, as Aïda at Austin Opera, Emelda Griffith in Champion with New Orleans Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Nashville Opera, Violetta in La Traviata with Sacramento Opera and Sister Rose in Dead Man Walking with both Minnesota Opera and Vancouver Opera and her Scottish Opera debut as Anna in Puccini’s Le villi.  Additionally, Ms. Slack portrayed a featured role as the Opera Diva in Tyler Perry’s movie and soundtrack “For Colored Girls.” Ms. Slack is an Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera, Co-Director for the 2020-21 Opera Program at the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, and Co-Chair of the Women's Opera Network with Opera America.


Ms. Slack’s 2019-2020 season included a return to The Metropolitan Opera as Serena in Porgy and Bess, a recital with Opera Philadelphia, guest soloist for Madison Opera’s virtual Opera in the Park, and a series of recitals throughout the US including the Vilar Center for the Performing Arts in Vail, Colorado with pianist Joe Illick. This season sees her in digital performances with Opera Philadelphia, Houston Grand Opera, Madison Opera, and Minnesota Opera. Additionally, she stars in Driving While Black with UrbanArias. In response to the rash of cancellations due to COVID-19, Ms. Slack launched a digital talk show, KikiKonversations, which has garnered critical acclaim and a large online following. Learn more at www.sopranokarenslack.com.

"The kind of voice that can sing anything beautifully, engaging the heart brilliantly." —San Francisco Classical Voice

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

String Quartet in F major, Op. 92

James Lee III (b. 1975)

'A Double Standard' for String Quartet and Soprano

Baltimore Premiere, SHCS co-commission

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

String Quartet in C major, Op. 59, No. 3, “Razumovsky”

Program Subject to Change Without Notice