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Nov. 22, 2004

 

St. Petersburg String Quartet in residence at U-M

 

St. Petersburg Quartet

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Once known as the Leningrad String Quartet and now performing as the St. Petersburg String Quartet, the highly regarded foursome will be in residence at the University of Michigan's School of Music four times during the 2004-05 academic year.

The quartet will work with the school's composition department playing read-throughs of student compositions during its stay on campus in December and January, making comments and then recording those works.

While on campus in December and March, the quartet will present a full-fledged concert performing a program that contains works by School of Music faculty Bright Sheng, Evan Chambers and Susan Botti. Students will share the experience of rehearsals for these performances.

The quartet has a history of working with contemporary composers, particularly Russian, but are familiar with works by Botti and Michael Daugherty.

So who will be offering their composition talents to the quartet? "Whoever (student) wants to submit something can," Sheng said. "We will send them to the quartet and we will try to fit every piece in and read through every score. It won't be a perfect polished performance. But there will be a reading."

Based in Oberlin, Ohio, the St. Petersburg Quartet travels about 270 days a year, but when at its home base, rehearse in a local church. Together for nearly 20 years, the quartet was invited to a residency at Oberlin Conservatory in 1997 by Karen Wolff, then dean of the conservatory and now dean of U-M's School of Music. So it was natural that Wolff was involved in bringing them to U-M. It was Sheng who initiated the idea to invite the quartet to the School of Music. The idea came to him after attending a performance by the quartet at a University Musical Society presentation.

"I was real impressed by the work, so I went to Karen asking if there was any way to bring the quartet for a residency. And she said, 'You know, I may be able to do something'," Sheng said.

The first guest recital by the St. Petersburg String Quartet will be at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 in the School of Music's Britton Recital Hall. The concert is free and open to the public. The performance will feature Sheng at the piano in a program that includes Sheng's "String Quartet #4" and his "Four Movements for Piano Trio." Shastakovich's "String Quartet #3" will also be performed.

Contact: Joanne Nesbit
Phone: (734) 647-4418
E-mail: mjnesbit@umich.edu