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Jacobs School of Music quartet-in-residence to perform Beethoven concert


The Pacifica Quartet practices Jan. 29 at the Jacobs School of Music. The quartet consists of two violins, one viola and a cello.CORRECTION: A previous version of this caption mislabeled an instrument in the orchestra. The IDS regrets this error. Anna Tiplick

The Pacifica Quartet, the Jacobs School of Music's professional quartet-in-residence will perform a Beethoven concert at 8 p.m. Saturday in Auer Hall in the Simon Music Center. It will be their second performance of a Beethoven series. 

The concert will be comprised of three different Beethoven string quartet pieces as part of the group’s Beethoven Quartet Project, cellist Brandon Vamos said.

Violist Mark Holloway said the project involves the group playing all 16 Beethoven string quartets at IU in a series of six concerts from2019-2021. The first concert was in October 2019.

“We believe that as an entire body of work, you can learn a lot by hearing the progress and the transformation and the changes in Beethoven’s music as his life went on,” Holloway said.

The quartet is pursuing the project in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, Holloway said. Violinist Simin Ganatra said the group is recording all of the IU performances live for a CD.

The quartet has been the faculty string quartet-in-residence in Jacobs since 2012. The music school has brought in other resident quartets before for concerts and to academically benefit its students. The Pacifica Quartet's genre is chamber music, which Ganatra described as a “musical conversation between equal voices” where each player has his or her own part.

The Pacifica Quartet is made up of IU professors Holloway, Vamos, Ganatra and violinist Austin Hartman. Ganatra and Vamos, who are husband and wife, founded the original quartet in 1994 in Los Angeles.

The name “Pacifica” is used because the group was founded in L.A., Holloway said.

The group has won multiple awards. The original quartet won a Grammy in 2008 for Best Chamber Music Performance, Vamos said.The members in 2008 included Ganatra, violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson, Vamos and violist Masumi Per Rostad.

Vamos said, Beethoven’s styles are separated into three periods: early, middle and late. Saturday’s concert will be comprised of pieces from all of Beethoven’s periods.

“It’s some of the most amazing music ever written for string quartet,” Vamos said. “Each piece has incredible depth and range of emotion.”

The group will continue to perform these pieces in places other than just IU, Hartman said.

The group will be performing Beethoven string quartets in San Francisco, New York and Chicago for the Ravinia Festival, an outdoor music festival. It will also travel to Bantry, Ireland. Ganatra said, the group will perform Beethoven in Carnegie Hall in the spring.

“We’re also excited about being able to present these concerts internationally, nationally and even in local communities in Indiana,” Hartman said. 

The concert is free. The next concert will be on April 3.

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