BACH: Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007
SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129 (transcribed for solo cello and string quartet)
BRAHMS: String Sextet, No. 2 in G major, Op. 36
The Grammy Award-winning Ying Quartet occupies a position of unique prominence in the classical music world, combining brilliantly communicative performances with a fearlessly imaginative view of chamber music in today’s world. In its second decade as a quartet, their performances regularly take place in many of the world’s most important concert halls, from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House. At the same time, the Quartet’s belief that concert music can also be a meaningful part of everyday life has also drawn the foursome to perform in settings as diverse as the workplace, schools, juvenile prisons, and the White House. In fact, the Ying Quartet’s constant quest to explore the creative possibilities of the string quartet has led it to an unusually diverse array of musical projects and interests.
The Ying Quartet’s recordings reflect many of the group’s wide-ranging musical interests and have generated consistent, enthusiastic acclaim. Their 2007 Telarc release of the three Tchaikovsky Quartets and the Souvenir de Florence (with James Dunham and Paul Katz) was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Chamber Music Performance category. In addition, their much-heralded collaboration with the Turtle Island Quartet, Four + 4, explored the common ground between the classic string quartet tradition and jazz and other American vernacular styles, and won a Grammy Award in 2005. Their most recent release with the Billy Childs Chamber Jazz Ensemble, Autumn in Moving Pictures (ArtistShare) was nominated for a Grammy in 2010. In addition, the Ying Quartet’s Dim Sum (Telarc) features music by Chinese-American composers that merges the Western string quartet with the aural world of traditional Chinese music.
In addition to appearing in conventional concert situations, the Ying Quartet is also known for its diverse and unusual performance projects. They have worked with composer Tod Machover and the MIT Media lab, and other musical partners range from pianists Menahem Pressler and Gilbert Kalish to folk musician Mike Seeger, jazz pianist Billy Childs, and the Turtle Island Quartet. Additionally, the quartet regularly performs and teaches at the Bowdoin International Music Festival and also served as ensemble-in-residence at the Aspen Music Festival. Previously the Blodgett Artists-in-Residence at Harvard University, the Quartet is now quartet-in-residence at the Eastman School of Music, maintaining full time faculty positions. The Ying Quartet first came to professional prominence in the early 1990s during their years as resident quartet of Jesup, Iowa, a farm town of 2000 people. Playing before audiences of six to six hundred in homes, schools, churches, and banks, the Quartet had its first opportunities to enable music and creative endeavor to become an integral part of community life. The Quartet considers its time in Jesup the foundation of its present musical life and goals. The residency, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, was widely chronicled in the national media.