Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “One of the greatest quartets of our time,” the Pro Arte Quartet will perform Sept. 17 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ephraim in a concert presented by Midsummer’s Music Festival. The Pro Arte Quartet is believed to be the world’s oldest continuously performing string quartet and the first quartet anywhere to enjoy a university ensemble-in-residence status.
The evening’s repertoire features Franz Joseph Haydn’s “String Quartet, Op. 64, No. 3,” Philippe Hersant’s “Fantaisies Sur le Nom de Sacher Pour Quator à Cordes,” and Ludwig van Beethoven’s “String Quartet, Op. 74.”
Haydn’s quartet possesses an extroverted brilliance that plays well to both small and large halls while retaining the curiosity, experiment and innovation that were characteristic of the pieces he wrote during his time as Kapellmeister with the Esterhàzy family in Hungary. Hersant is a contemporary composer whose credits include film scores, vocal music, symphonies and ballets. Beethoven’s string quartet’s nickname of “Harp” refers to the pizzicato sections in the Allegro of the first movement, where pairs of members of the quartet alternate notes in an arpeggio, reminiscent of the plucking of a harp.
Current musicians in the Pro Arte Quartet are violinists Suzanne Beia and David Perry, violist Sally Chisholm and cellist Parry Karp.
Midsummer’s Music Festival President and co-founder Jim Berkenstock said, “The Pro Arte musicians are masterful, energetic performers who exemplify both warmth and precision through their impressive skills. Listeners can become thoroughly engrossed in the ensemble’s beautiful, intense and passionate music.”
The concert begins at 7 pm. Tickets are $29 adults, $10 students, and free for children 12 are under. A reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres follows the performance. For more information visit midsummersmusic.com.