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2021 Birdfoot Festival: Backstage! Healing: Beethoven
May 16 at 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Backstage with the Borromeo String Quartet
Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 2:30 PM
• Registration opens on Sunday, April 25th to participate in this live event on Zoom — Admission by donation; Tickets limited to facilitate discussion. Questions and comments will be addressed through the “Chat” function.
• Watch a livestream of the event on YouTube (Link coming soon)—Free (donations appreciated).
About the Borromeo String Quartet:
“Nothing less than masterful” (Cleveland.com), the Borromeo Quartet has received numerous awards throughout its illustrious 25-year career, including Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant and Martin E. Segal Award, and Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award. It was also a recipient of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions and a prize-winner at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France.
Passionate educators, the Borromeos encourage audiences of all ages to explore and listen to both traditional and contemporary repertoire in new ways. The ensemble uses multi-media tools such as video projection to share the often surprising creative process behind some works, or to show graphically the elaborate architecture behind others. This produces delightfully refreshing viewpoints and has been a springboard for its acclaimed young people’s programs. One such program is MATHEMUSICA which delves into the numerical relationships that under-pin the sounds of music and show how musical syntax mirrors natural forms. CLASSIC VIDEO uses one movement of a quartet as the platform from which to teach computer drawing, video editing, animation, musical form and production processes to create a meaningful joining of music and visual art.
The BSQ has been ensemble-in-residence at the New England Conservatory and Taos School of Music, both for 25 years, and has, for over two decades, enjoyed a long-term relationship with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum where it continues to regularly appear. It is quartet-in-residence at the Heifetz International Music Institute, where first violinist Nicholas Kitchen is Artistic Director. The quartet was also in residence at, and has worked extensively as performers and educators with the Library of Congress (highlighting both its manuscripts and instrument collections) and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The ensemble joined the Emerson Quartet as the Hittman Ensembles in Residence at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, and was recently was in residence at Kansas University, the San Francisco Conservatory, and Colorado State University, where it regularly appears.
The Quartet has collaborated with some of this generation’s most important composers, including Gunther Schuller, John Cage, György Ligeti, Steve Reich, Aaron Jay Kernis, Osvaldo Golijov, Jennifer Higdon, Steve Mackey, John Harbison, Sebastian Currier, and Leon Kirchner, among many others; and has performed on major concert stages across the globe, including appearances at Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall, Suntory Hall (Tokyo), the Concertgebouw, Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, the Incontri in Terra di Siena Chamber Music Festival in Tuscany, Kammermusik Basel (Switzerland), the Prague Spring Festival, and the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt.
The group recently premiered new works written for it by Sebastian Currier and Aaron Jay Kernis at recitals at Carnegie Hall, Shriver Concerts, and the Tippet Rise Art Center. The ensemble continues to perform violinist Nicholas Kitchen’s transcriptions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and the Well-Tempered Clavier Bk. I, the latter of which the BSQ recently released an acclaimed premiere recording which hit the billboard charts. Learn more about the Borromeo String Quartet here.
About Birdfoot Festival 2021:
In honor of a year that has defied the most valiant attempts to plan, Birdfoot Festival offers a musical ode to creativity, resilience, and to the place where this series was born, that place where so much art was first imagined: the kitchen table, backstage of backstages.
The kitchen table is a good place to start at a time when we are hungry for things that inspire hope and creativity: Like tasting a soup as the flavors come together, rehearsing a piece of music is a process of building up layers of sound until textures come together and notes become music.
In 2021, Birdfoot Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with a virtual season dedicated to its signature Birdfoot Backstage. This series features an exceptional cast of ensembles, each including one or more Birdfoot artists. Each interactive event includes a short performance followed by a deep dive into the music. Whether you are a chamber music connoisseur or a complete newbie, you are invited to join these musicians behind the scenes for a lively exploration of music and the creative process.
This year’s virtual festival is dedicated to the backstages of the world and the creative processes that they incubate. While this isn’t how we imagined celebrating ten years of Birdfoot—a festival built around the joy of sharing live music—our need to keep connecting and sharing musical inspiration can’t wait. So until we can come together in person again, join us “backstage” and let’s keep the conversation alive.