by Mike Telin
Since winning the grand prize and three special prizes at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, the Dover Quartet — Joel Link and Bryan Lee, violins, Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, viola, and Camden Shaw, cello — have quickly risen to the forefront of young, internationally touring string quartets. Following that 2013 breakthrough, the ensemble has added to their resume a Cleveland Quartet Award, a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, and most recently an Avery Fisher Career Grant.
On Tuesday, February 13 at 7:30 pm at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights, the Dover Quartet will return to the Cleveland Chamber Music Society stage with a program that will include Mozart’s Quartet in d, K. 421, Schoenberg’s Quartet in D, and Zemlinsky’s Quartet No. 2. Tickets are available online.
During a telephone conversation, violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt said that the three works on the program are tied together in a couple of ways. “Both Zemlinsky and Schoenberg loved Mozart. Schoenberg was mostly self-taught as a composer, but Zemlinsky did give him counterpoint lessons and was really the only teacher Schoenberg had. They became very good friends, and Schoenberg’s first wife was Zemlinsky’s sister Mathilde.”
The violist noted that in the summer of 1912, the two composers had a falling out but eventually reconciled. “Schoenberg was studying with Zemlinsky when he wrote his Quartet in D, and the piece is thought to contain an apology to Schoenberg in musical code.”
Among the many honors that have recently been bestowed on the Dover Quartet, this year they became the new Quartet-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center, where they will collaborate with the Emerson Quartet and play on the Center’s contemporary music series KC Jukebox. “We’re excited about that because the Kennedy Center is like our home away from home. We always seem to end up there — the first time was when we were students at Curtis and were part of the Center’s Conservatory Project.”
Last month the ensemble made their Stern Auditorium debut at Carnegie Hall in a concert with violinist Janine Jansen and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. “We’ve played in Weill Recital Hall, but to be onstage in the big hall playing chamber music with such incredible musicians was amazing.”
This season the Dover will perform more than 100 concerts in Europe and North America, as well as continue residencies at the Walton Center for the Arts, People’s Symphony, and the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. They also serve as Quartet-in-Residence at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. “Being there is a big reason we’ve been able to make two recordings for the Cedille label, which is based in Chicago. The second, Voices of Defiance 1943 1944 1945, was released back in October.”
The Quartet is dedicated to sharing their music with underserved communities and is actively involved with Music for Food, an initiative enabling musicians to raise resources and awareness in the fight against hunger.
On September 23, they presented a benefit concert in Charlottesville, Virginia at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center. The proceeds benefited the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation in the Heal Charlottesville Fund.
“We were already scheduled to play there when we heard about the tragedy, so we called the presenter, Tuesday Evening Concert Series, and asked if there was any way we could do something to help. Although the subject matter of Voices of Defiance is specific to the events of WWII, it’s sad that it’s still relevant today.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com February 6, 2018.
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