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Critical praise for SFSU quartet-in-residence

May 11, 2006

Photo of the Alexander String Quartet (from left): Frederick Lifsitz, Sandy Wilson, Paull Yarbrough and Zakarias GrafiloRecent publicity in The New York Times, including two stellar concert reviews, has been music to the ears of SF State's quartet-in-residence, the Alexander String Quartet.

The quartet performed the entire cycle of works by Dmitri Shostakovich in a five-concert series from April 25 to May 1 at the Baruch College Performing Arts Center in New York City. Classical music critic Anthony Tommasini wrote several articles on the series.

"I was engrossed by the eerie restraint, and, when called for, incisive attack of the Alexander's performances," Tommasini wrote in the April 29 edition of The New York Times.

In a May 3 story after the completion of the series, Tommasini wrote: "The intimacy of the music came through with enhanced power and poignancy in the Alexander quartet's vibrant, probing, assured and aptly volatile performances, given in an ideal hall for chamber music that seats just 174."

The Alexander String Quartet is comprised of faculty members in the School of Music and Dance. Zakarias Grafilo and Frederick Lifsitz play violin, Paul Yarbrough plays viola, and Sandy Wilson is on the cello.

Based in the May Treat Morrison Chamber Music Center in the College of Creative Arts, the quartet coaches all chamber music classes and helps prepare students for careers as teachers. The quartet gives students the opportunity to perform at schools and other venues. The quartet also coaches music students in Bay Area middle schools and high schools and conducts seminars at schools and colleges throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

The quartet, founded in 1981, has served as quartet-in-residence at SF State since 1989 in a partnership with San Francisco Performances. The quartet has performed in the major music capitals of four continents. Widely admired for its interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart and Shostakovich, the quartet has also established itself as an important advocate of new music through more than 25 commissions and numerous premiere performances.

The quartet will perform with the Turtle Island String Quartet at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 4, in McKenna Theatre in the Creative Arts building. Admission is free. The concert is part of the Morrison Artists Series, an SF State-based chamber music program that has presented six free concerts each year since 1955.

-- Matt Itelson
Photo: Gino de Grandis


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Last modified May 11, 2006 by University Communications