Alexander String Quartet Returns to St. Lawrence
By Chloe Mitchel ’21
St. Lawrence University is proud to welcome back to campus the Alexander String Quartet for its long-running residency and performances. The quartet will put on two events while on campus: The main concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26, in Gulick Theatre, while a noon matinee will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the Peterson-Kermani Performance Hall. Both performances are free and open to the public.
The Alexander String Quartet has been a major artistic presence in San Francisco since 1989. The musicians—Zakaria’s Grafilo, Frederick Lifsitz, Paul Yarbrough, Sandy Wilson—have established themselves as strong advocates for bringing symphonies back from the past and to educate both students and the general public on the importance of classical music. The Quartet is admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart and Shostakovich, including sharing the story and origin of the pieces.
Within the Mozart piece “Dissonant”, they are able to show the way in which he intended for the quartet to act as a “four voices, but equal partners.” Along with that, they have been able to express “String Quartet No. 8 in C minor,” by Shostakovich, to explain the dedication to the composer and to Shostakovich’s general meaning, “to the memory of the victims of fascism and war.” The Quartet has recorded for the Foghorn Classics in 2019, along with Mozart’s Piano Quartets with Joyce Yang in 2018 and the combined string quartet cycles of Bartók and Kodály. Audiophile Audition said of the quartet: “If ever an album had ‘Grammy nominee’ written on its front cover, this is it.” While Fanfare quotes, “Exceptionally beautiful performances of some extraordinarily beautiful music.”
With Grafilo and Lifsitz on violin, Yarbrough on viola, and Sandy Wilson on cello, the four individuals continue to have a calendar full of concerts at major halls all over the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Recent oversea tours have brought them to France, Switzerland and Spain. They were the first quartet to capture the international attention, winning the Wig more Quartet Competition in 1985. The Music Web International described their performances as, “uncompromising in power, intensity and spiritual depth.”
For more information contact the Department of Music at 315-229-5166.