51st Chamber Music
Adam Barnett-Hart, violin
Brendan Speltz, violin
Pierre Lapointe, viola
Brook Speltz, cello
Tuesday, October 3, 2023
7:30 PM Harris Concert Hall
Concert Preview Listen Now
WKNO 91.1 FM's "Checking on the Arts"
Darel Snodgrass interviews the Escher Quartet's Brook Speltz
Esteemed Chamber Music Ensemble
The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its profound musical insight and rare tonal beauty.
Honors and Awards
Winner Prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant
A Former BBC New Generation Artist
A Regular Guest at Wigmore Hall
Season Artists of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Profound Musical Insight
Rare Tonal Beauty
“Eloquent, full-blooded playing ... The four players offer a beautiful blend of individuality and accord”
– BBC Music Magazine
“For precision and unanimity it is second to none…so perfectly in tune that it [is] almost uncanny”
–London’s Financial Times
Mendelssohn, String Quartet No. 1 in E-flat major
Janáček, String Quartet No. 2, Intimate Letters
Schubert, String Quartet No. 14 in d minor, "Death and the Maiden"
“…a level of individual technical precision and a collective musical purpose that is endlessly compelling… Sheer brilliance” –The Strad
The Escher String Quartet has received acclaim for its profound musical insight and rare tonal beauty. A former BBC New Generation Artist and recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the quartet has performed at the BBC Proms at Cadogan Hall and is a regular guest at Wigmore Hall. In its hometown of New York, the ensemble serves as season artists of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The 2021-2022 season finds the Escher Quartet touring the U.S. extensively, performing in numerous cities and venues including New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Rockefeller University, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, La Jolla Music Society, Savannah Music Festival, and Chamber Music Society of Detroit. Internationally, the quartet returns to Wigmore Hall in London and the Sociedad Filarmonica de Bilbao. The Escher Quartet has made a distinctive impression throughout Europe, with recent debuts including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Konzerthaus, London’s Kings Place, Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, Les Grands Interprètes Geneva, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Auditorium du Louvre. The group has appeared at festivals such as the Heidelberg Spring Festival, Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy, Dublin’s Great Music in Irish Houses, the Risør Chamber Music Festival in Norway, the Hong Kong International Chamber Music Festival, and the Perth International Arts Festival in Australia. Alongside its growing European profile, the Escher Quartet continues to flourish in its home country, performing at the Aspen Music Festival, Bravo! Vail, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music, Chamber Music San Francisco, Music@Menlo, and the Ravinia and Caramoor festivals. The quartet has held faculty positions at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and the Univerity of Akron, OH. Recordings of the complete Mendelssohn quartets and beloved romantic quartets of Dvorak, Borodin, and Tchaikovsky were released on the BIS label in 2015-18 and received the highest critical acclaim, with comments such as “…eloquent, full-blooded playing... The four players offer a beautiful blend of individuality and accord” (BBC Music Magazine). In 2019, DANCE, an album of quintets with Grammy award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux, was enthusiastically received. The Escher’s most recent recording, the complete quartet of Charles Ives and Samuel Barber, was met with equal excitement, including “A fascinating snapshot of American quartets, with a recording that is brilliantly detailed, this is a first-rate release all around” (Strad Magazine). The quartet has also recorded the complete Zemlinsky String Quartets in two volumes, released on the Naxos label in 2013 and 2014. Within months of its inception in 2005, the ensemble came to the attention of key musical figures worldwide. Championed by the Emerson Quartet, the Escher Quartet was invited by both Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to be Quartet in Residence at each artist's summer festival: the Young Artists Program at Canada’s National Arts Centre; and the Perlman Chamber Music Program on Shelter Island, NY. The Escher Quartet takes its name from the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by Escher’s method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole.
About the Quartet
“gutsy, with plenty of edge and a brilliant precision of attack” — The Guardian