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The riveting Pacifica Quartet debuts with SHCS favorite, pianist-composer Marc-André Hamelin, who “ranks among the small handful of performers in every generation whose abilities defy the imagination” (The Toronto Star). Hamelin and the Quartet, hailed by The Telegraph as “nothing short of phenomenal,” perform works by Beethoven and Hamelin, closing with Schumann’s captivating piano quintet.

Please note that this concert will take place at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. Learn more here.

“Hamelin and the Pacifica Quartet surmount the fiendish difficulties of the piano quintet…with sympathy and conviction. Their portrayal…between near-manic energy and painfully nostalgic lyricism is vivid and compelling.” –The Washington Post

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    Pacifica Quartet

    Simin Ganatra, violin
    Austin Hartman, violin
    Guy Ben-Ziony, viola
    Brandon Vamos, cello

    Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often-daring repertory choices, over the past two decades the Pacifica Quartet has achieved international recognition as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. Named the quartet-in-residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in March 2012, the Pacifica was previously the quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and received a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance. In 2017, the Pacifica Quartet was appointed to lead the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies at the Aspen Music Festival and School.

    Formed in 1994, the Pacifica Quartet quickly won chamber music’s top competitions, including the 1998 Naumburg Chamber Music Award. In 2002 the ensemble was honored with Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award and the appointment to Lincoln Center’s CMS Two, and in 2006 was awarded a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Also in 2006 the Quartet was featured on the cover of Gramophoneand heralded as one of “five new quartets you should know about,” the only American quartet to make the list. And in 2009, the Quartet was named “Ensemble of the Year” by Musical America.

    The Quartet’s 2017-18 season features performances with the guitar legend Sharon Isbin, the complete Beethoven cycle for the University at Buffalo’s renowned Slee Cycle, and multiple performances of the Mendelssohn octet with the Dover Quartet. Highlights of the 2016-17 season included a return performance at New York’s famed 92nd Street Y; the culmination of a two-season residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; tours with Johannes Moser, Jörg Widmann, and Marc-André Hamelin; and the debut of a new cello quintet by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe.

    The Pacifica Quartet has carved a niche for itself as the preeminent interpreter of string quartet cycles, harnessing the group’s singular focus and incredible stamina to portray each composer’s evolution, often over the course of just a few days. Having given highly acclaimed performances of the complete Carter cycle in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Houston; the Mendelssohn cycle in Napa, Australia, New York, and Pittsburgh; and the Beethoven cycle in New York, Denver, St. Paul, Chicago, Napa, and Tokyo (in an unprecedented presentation of five concerts in three days at Suntory Hall), the Quartet presented the monumental Shostakovich cycle in Chicago, New York, Montreal and at London’s Wigmore Hall. 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 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.

    In 2008 the Quartet released its Grammy Award-winning recording of Carter’s quartets Nos. 1 and 5 on the Naxos label; the 2009 release of quartets Nos. 2, 3, and 4 completed the two-CD set. Cedille Records recently released the third of four volumes comprising the entire Shostakovich cycle, along with other contemporary Soviet works, to rave reviews: “The playing is nothing short of phenomenal.” (Daily Telegraph, London) Recent projects include recording Leo Ornstein’s rarely-heard piano quintet with Marc-André Hamelin with an accompanying tour, the Brahms piano quintet with the legendary pianist Menahem Pressler, and the Brahms and Mozart clarinet quintets with the New York Philharmonic’s principal clarinetist, Anthony McGill.

    The members of the Pacifica Quartet live in Bloomington, IN, where they serve as quartet-in-residence and full-time faculty members at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Prior to their appointment, the Quartet was on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana from 2003 to 2012, and also served as resident performing artist at the University of Chicago for seventeen years.

    The Pacifica Quartet is endorsed by D’Addario and proudly uses their strings.

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

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    Marc-André Hamelin

    Pianist Marc-André Hamelin is known worldwide for his unrivalled blend of consummate musicianship and brilliant technique in the great works of the established repertoire, as well as for his intrepid exploration of the rarities of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries – in concert and on disc.

    Among his summer 2017 concerts were the Brahms D major Concerto with Ludovic Morlot at the Aspen Music Festival, a recital at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Haydn with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vanska, a solo recital and the Trout Quintet at Austria's Schubertiade, the Chopin Concerto No. 2 with Jukka Pekka Saraste conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival, Ravel and Gershwin concerti in Montreux with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Dutoit conducting, and concerts at the Orford and Lanaudiere Festivals in Canada.

    He was a distinguished member of the jury of the 15th Van Cliburn Competition in 2017 where each of the 30 competitors in the Preliminary Round were required to perform Hamelin's "L'Homme armé" which marked the first time the composer of the commissioned work was also a member of the jury. Although primarily a performer, Mr. Hamelin has composed music throughout his career; his works are published by Edition Peters.

    A feature of his 2017-18 season is a return to the Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall on the Keyboard Virtuosos series as well as recitals including the Seattle Symphony, Yale University, Wolf Trap, Denver, Cincinnati, Savannah, and internationally at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Munich, Moscow, and Vancouver.  Orchestra appearances include the Orchestra de Paris, Alan Gilbert conducting the Ravel Left Hand Concerto, the Schoenberg concerto with the Rundfunk-sinfonieorchester Berlin in the opening weeks of Vladimir Jurowski's inaugural season as Principal Conductor and Artistic Director, the Ravel Left Hand Concerto with Juanjo Mena and the Toronto Symphony, the Ravel G major Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony and John Storgards, Stravinsky with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot conducting, Mozart with Nicholas McGegan conducting the Cleveland Orchestra, the two Brahms concerti with the Moscow Philharmonic, Brahms and Beethoven concerti with Symphony Nova Scotia and Bernhard Gueller conducting, and the Brahms D major concerto with Andrew Manze conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

    Mr. Hamelin records exclusively for Hyperion Records. His most recent releases are Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring Concerto for Two Pianos with Leif Ove Andsnes, Morton Feldman's For Bunita Marcus, and Medtner Piano Concerto No. 2 and Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski.   His Hyperion discography of 57 recordings includes concertos and works for solo piano by such composers as Alkan, Godowsky, and Medtner, as well as brilliantly received performances of Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Schumann and Shostakovich.

    He was honored with the 2014 ECHO Klassik Instrumentalist of Year (Piano) and Disc of the Year by Diapason Magazine and Classica Magazine for his three disc set of Busoni: Late Piano Music; and an album of his own compositions, Hamelin: Études, which received a 2010 Grammy nomination (his ninth) and a first prize from the German Record Critics’ Association. The Hamelin études are published by Edition Peters.

    He was honored with the 2014 ECHO Klassik Instrumentalist of Year (Piano) and Disc of the Year by Diapason Magazine and Classica Magazine for his three disc set of Busoni: Late Piano Music; and an album of his own compositions, Hamelin: Études, which received a 2010 Grammy nomination (his ninth) and a first prize from the German Record Critics’ Association. The Hamelin études are published by Edition Peters.

    Mr. Hamelin makes his home in the Boston area with his wife, Cathy Fuller. Born in Montreal, Marc-André Hamelin is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the German Record Critic’s Association. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada.

    "Hamelin's legend will grow - right now there is no one like him." —Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 74, "Harp"

Marc-André Hamelin (b. 1961)

Toccata on "L'Homme armé" for Piano (Baltimore premiere)

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Quintet for Piano and Strings in E-flat major, Op. 44

Program Subject to Change Without Notice