Manhattan String Quartet Celebrates 47th Season


Returning for yet another semester, the Manhattan String Quartet held a free performance to showcase their impressive violin and viola playing.

In an impressive display of talent, the Manhattan String Quartet held a concert at the Colgate Memorial Chapel on Friday, November 16. Funded by CORE 152, Challenges of Modernity, the concert was free and open to the public.

The prestigious Manhattan String Quartet is comprised of violinists Curtis Macomber and Calvin Wiersma, violist John Dexter and cellist Chris Finkel. They opened their concert with a rendition of Ludwig van

Beethoven’s “String Quartet in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3 (1799),” consisting of four movements—Allegro, Andante con moto, Allegro and Presto. They followed with Felix Mendelssohn’s composition “String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80 (1847),” which similarly consisted of four movements—Allegro vivace assai, Allegro assai, Adagio and Allegro molto. After a brief intermission, the quartet concluded their performance with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “String Quartet in F Major, K. 590 (1790),” which consisted of four movements—Allegro moderato, Andante (Allegretto), Menuetto: Allegretto and Allegro. The concert was followed by a reception in the Chapel Garden Level.

“I kind of snuck into one of their practices. They were playing so fast and it kind of freaked me out how good they were,” first-year Fairuz Ishraque said.

Celebrating its 47th season, the Manhattan String Quartet has a world-renowned reputation, having made concert appearances in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. The quartet became the first American classical ensemble to perform a full tour of the Soviet Union in the fall of 1985, performing a series of concerts in Moscow and Leningrad. The quartet has also sold out venues in Asia, performing concerts in Nagoya and Tokyo, Japan in 2005.

Macomber’s playing has been hailed for its “thrilling virtuosity” by The New York Times. Macomber is also a founding member of the Apollo Piano Trio as well as a member of the Da Capo Chamber Players, the Walden Chamber Players and the New York Chamber Soloists. From 1892 to 1990, he was first violinist of the awardwinning New World String Quartet, who were appointed as Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University from 1982 to 1990. Macomber recorded a total of 14 records with the group.

Wiersma is a founding member of the Meliora Quartet and the Figaro Trio. With the Meliora Quartet, Wiersma won the Naumberg, Fiscoff, Coleman and Cleveland Quartet competitions.

Dexter joined the Manhattan String Quartet in 1980 and has since made 20 critically acclaimed recordings. Dexter has performed as principal violist with the New York City Opera Orchestra, Philharmonia Virtuosi, the Joffrey Ballet in New York City, the American Symphony Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Finkel has been involved in the premieres of the works of more than 100 composers through the New York New Music Ensemble, Parnassus, The Contemporary Chamber Ensemble and Speculum Musicae.

The Manhattan String Quartet has been Quartet-in-Residence at Colgate University since 1988 after having held similar positions at institutions such as the Manhattan School of Music, Cornell University and Grinnell College, among others.

Their return each semester is greatly anticipated by students and faculty alike, who cannot resist their enjoyable and soothing quartet sounds.

Contact Ignacio Villar at [email protected].